How Context Shapes Content: Rodney Mullen TED Talk

"There is an intrinsic value to creating something for the sake of creating it, and better than that, there is a beauty in dropping it into a community of your own making." -Rodney Mullen


I love a good TED Talk, and this is one of my favorites from one of my favorites. For those who do not know much about Rodney Mullen, he revolutionized skateboarding and is is widely considered to be one of the most innovative skaters ever. He's also incredibly thoughtful and able to articulate his thoughtfulness in a way that connects skateboarding to the bigger picture. The point behind this particular TED Talk speaks directly to the motivations behind the Better Beach Project. We wanted to create something positive and drop it into the community we impact. Call it what you want: problem solving, creative thinking, community service- we strive to add value to our community and hope to inspire others to do the same, making better beaches along the way. 


What do skateboarding and innovation have in common? More than you might think. A successful entrepreneur and innovator, Rodney Mullen is widely considered the most influential street skater in history, inventing most of the tricks used today. By the time he was 23, Mullen had already set new milestones for skateboarding winning 35 out of 36 freestyle competitions.


Following the events of the Shamrock Marathon weekend, we will be meeting up with our friends from the Virginia Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the VA Beach Skimmunity House on the north side of the 15th Street Pier to clean the beach from 2pm - 5pm. 

Come say hello, grab a container, and help us make the most of the opportunity! The Shamrock Marathon weekend is one of the oceanfront's most significant and popular events- what better way to demonstrate to the locals and visitors alike that we have every intention of making our beaches better. 

Hope to see you there! Be sure to check out our shared Facebook Event Page for updates!


Better Beach Project x The Inertia

Check out this article about the Better Beach Project over on The Inertia!

The Inertia

Many thanks to Zach and Juan for their support! It's always a good situation when we can team up with platforms that help our message reach those who care about it most! While you're on their site checking out our article, definitely check out everything else they have going on! 

Always glad to work with organizations that support the movement to make a better beach!

Looking Ahead

School is back in session, signaling the beginning of the end of summer.

The official end date for our project is the last day of August. As that day draws near, we wanted to give a quick recap of the project and share our thoughts for moving forward.

We can't begin to thank everyone enough. We extend an enormous amount of gratitude to the participating businesses and are extremely thankful for their collective dedication to supporting actions that improve our community. We are excited to announce that, even though the project will be "ending" for the summer, many of the businesses will continue to honor their deals! Next time you find yourself in one of the local businesses, ask them if they are continuing to participate!

We also would like to thank everyone who supported this project. Your ability to help spread the message directly contributed to cleaner beaches. We have received lots of questions asking about the scope of the project and where we plan to take it after the conclusion of this summer. We plan on maintaining partnerships and relationships with each of our participating businesses, and are working to expand down to the oceanfront of Virginia Beach, starting with the ViBe Creative District. The oceanfront may require a slightly different approach, but with the assistance of local businesses in the area, we are confident that we can inspire change.

The goal of this project was to influence long-term positive change in the mindset of the community by incentivizing the removal of litter from the beach. What began as an idea to clean up the beach evolved into a demonstration of the power of community. The links between local small businesses, their patrons, and cleaner beaches are more profound than just removing trash from the beach. We are proud to be a part of this community and hope you are too. - Brad, Marissa, and Ollie the Dog

Better Beach Project response to 2017 Virginia Beach College Weekend

This is what 16 oz. of broken glass, bottlecaps, and a fishhook looks like. This is what's hidden in the sand while you go long for the frisbee, dive for the volleyball, or run into the water.

By removing these potentially harmful items from the beach, we are looking out for ourselves, our friends, and our community.

Even though they may not know it, when visitors from all over come in droves to the beach, they are trusting us to keep it safe for them to enjoy.

Let them.

Article from The Virginian Pilot

The following text is copied from the Virginian-Pilot Online, from an article written by Mechelle Hankerson on 30 April 2017.  The original article can be read here.

 Kristen Zeis - The Virginian Pilot

Kristen Zeis - The Virginian Pilot


Brad Milliken was playing fetch with his dog on Chic's Beach when he noticed a chunk of glass in his pet's paw.

“I could see he was leaving little red spots on the sand,” Milliken said.

Frustrated, he started collecting glass litter from the beach and kept it in jar on his dresser. Taped to the container was this message: "Make your beach a better beach."

Now he wants other residents to help him on his mission.

Milliken and his wife, Marissa, launched Your Better Beach for the summer. Beach-goers can pick up plastic containers from participating businesses near Chic's Beach, fill them up with glass and plastic found in the sand, and return full containers for discounts at the merchants.

Participants can collect trash from any beach, but only businesses near Chic’s Beach are participating right now. After this summer, Milliken may expand to include merchants near other beaches.

“It’s all in the spirit in cleaning the beach and keeping the beaches desirable,” said Milliken, who moved to Virginia Beach in 2014 as part of his Coast Guard orders. It’s the first time he’s gotten to live near a beach.

Milliken doesn't want to place blame on anyone - most of the glass and plastic seems to wash up from the water, he said - but the beach is a "big point of pride" in the neighborhood and should look well-kept, he said.

At Lynnhaven Coffee Company, co-owner Chris Bailey said families seem excited about the project. Full containers can get customers a free 10 oz. latte at the coffee shop. Most people fill a container over a weekend, he said.

It’s been a good chance for beachgoers to appreciate the natural resources of the area.

“The Chesapeake Bay is pretty much the lifeblood of this area,” Bailey said. “Hopefully people will start to educate each other.”

Right now, eight businesses participate in the Your Better Beach project and about 20 others along Shore Drive and in the Great Neck area are interested, Milliken said.

Pleasure House Brewing was one of the first businesses to sign on with Milliken’s idea.

“It’s kind of a community thing,” said Tim O’Brien, owner of Pleasure House Brewing. “Everyone uses the beach. It just makes sense to keep it clean.”

Mechelle Hankerson, 757-222-5124,

Better Beach Project spot on Wavy 10 News

Met with Marielena Balouris from Wavy 10 News yesterday, and we're very happy to have their help. Many thanks to meeting with us on a less-than-ideal beach day! 

In the short time that we were out on the beach for the interview, we picked up 2 bottle caps, glass from a broken bottle, and many handfuls of plastic. All of the items were small- the sort of items that could easily have been overlooked.

The goal of Your Better Beach is to remove this sort of garbage from the beach. The method to which we will achieve this goal is to change the perception that potentially harmful items can be overlooked. By expanding our reach and getting our message out there, achieving that goal becomes a little bit easier.

Thank you again to Wavy 10 News! Let's go make your beach a better beach.

The Countdown is on!

11 days and counting! 

Starting May 1st, businesses will begin to accept full containers in exchange for incentives. The list of participating businesses continues to grow, so keep checking back in! If you can't find your favorite locally owned VA Beach business in the participating business section, ask them if they're willing to participate! We will be delivering the containers to the businesses this week and next. Keep an eye out for our flyers and containers. 

To address some concerns: 

  1. Please use caution when picking up sharp items from the beach! Kids should be supervised when handling potentially sharp objects.
  2. Please use trash cans on the beach for larger items. For exceptionally large items, please use the trash cans found near the beach accesses. The focus of this project is the smaller, potentially harmful items that are sometimes overlooked. 
  3. Please do not go through your own trash to fill a container! We (and employees at local businesses) live here and know what sorts of trash come from the beach. If you cheat, you get nothing. While we support removing all trash from the beach, bringing trash to the beach just to pick it up defeats the purpose of what we're doing.

Thank you so much, and let's make your beach a better beach!