Aloha Is Our Vibration: Dustin Barca is running for Mayor
Story by Elliot Struck If there’s anything more sure today than Solange being Jay’s 100th problem, it’s that Dustin Barca will fight for his right. You’re most familiar with Barca the crazy good tuberider and facework mutant. Perhaps you’re even aware of Barca the MMA fighter. But the slightly lesser known and increasingly loud alter […]
Story by Elliot Struck
If there’s anything more sure today than Solange being Jay’s 100th problem, it’s that Dustin Barca will fight for his right. You’re most familiar with Barca the crazy good tuberider and facework mutant. Perhaps you’re even aware of Barca the MMA fighter. But the slightly lesser known and increasingly loud alter ego? Barca the activist. And ultimately, ideally, Barca the Mayor.
Dustin’s focus has shifted in recent years. Watching his kids grow up on his home island of Kauai, and watching that island become ground zero for pesticide testing, and the engineering and development of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), has changed him. The last few years of Dustin’s life have become increasingly dedicated to fighting for better living in the world he loves. The next step in the fight is to run for Mayor of Kauai and Niihau. It’s a path that Dustin’s kinda just fallen into, and scuse the cheese, but there’s an unmistakeable air of unlikely hero going on…
Stab: So, what inspired you to run for Mayor?
Dustin Barca: The day the mayor announced his run, I was in town doing some errands and I happened to stumble upon it. I saw that all the Mayor’s number one supporters were the chemical companies, the GMO companies. They’re the same ones suing our county, and the mayor’s the county, so basically his number one supporters are the same people that are suing him. So that day really just… the corruption over here is so in our face, I can’t just sit around and let it happen again, y’know? So that’s the main reason I said I’d do it.
What are the steps? You pretty much just need to be a registered voter, an American citizen, and you’ve gotta get a certain amount of signatures from registered voters, which is a pretty minimal amount. Then you put your papers in and… you’re in. You need enough money to do it. But we’ve got some good backing and a lot of people believe in our vision for where our island should go.
How will this affect your surfing and fighting careers? I’m sure it will affect it a lot, I won’t be able to surf as much, or train as much, but I’m gonna still be surfing, I’ll still be myself. First and foremost, I’m a surfer through and through. That will always be my lifestyle. I’m always going to come and surf the North Shore a little and do my thing, fit it all in like I always do. But it’ll definitely take a lot away from who I’ve been for most of my life.
Politics can be a real selfish game, but your cause is very selfless. I’m not a politician, y’know? I’m just a normal person. I’m not the kinda person that’ll ever convert to that mentality. I’ve entered this whole thing with pure intentions. I’m not in it to be rich. I’m not in it to become governor or president or go anywhere else. I’m in it to save our island. And how I can restore our island and keep it progressing.
What are the biggest issues facing Kaua’i and Ni’ihau? The biggest issues we have are environmental issues. Tarnished land from the last 100 years of agriculture, that’s also affected our drinking water. And now it’s affecting our ocean, we’re starting to see we have a reef disease here in Kauai that nowhere else in the world has, a bacterial infection that’s taking an inch a day from the reef or something crazy. They’ve kinda just swept it under the rug, they don’t want anyone to know. We’ve got PCP levels in our drinking water from agriculture. Well, I wouldn’t even call it agriculture. Those are just some of the biggest environmental issues.
Culturally, we really need to heal our island and start restoring cultural sites that have been desecrated for the last 100 years, bringing those back and reconnecting our kids, reconnecting the next generation back with the island. Mentally, physically and spiritually connected.
And the last big thing that we want to tackle is drugs. Ice, methamphetamine and pills, Oxycontin and heroin pills, all these opiates are really taking over and have really ripped a lot of families apart. We’ve lost a lot of close friends because of it. It’s something that we don’t have any other way out of on this island except for jail, which doesn’t really work for anybody around here. So we need to start building rehab facilities on our island, give other options to our families and friends who have messed up. We want to do rehabilitation farms, which helps our other plans of bringing food farming to our island. Right now, we import 90 percent of our food to Hawaii. And we live in one of the most self-sustainable places on Earth. It’s a joke, it’s ridiculous. We’re going to do whatever’s in our power to turn that 90 percent around.
Three years ago, would you ever have thought you’d be here? Fuck no. (Laughs).
Even last time we spoke, you said you were no public speaker. Your speech at the Surfer Poll Awards and recent rallies would suggest otherwise. I’ve pretty much had to learn and adapt. I never write anything down, I never know what I’m gonna say, I just speak from my heart and I guess people can relate to that, y’know? I know enough about what I’m talking about to talk about it in the first place, otherwise I wouldn’t be. I believe in what I’ve learned and what I know. As long as I’m talking about other things and not talking about myself, I’m pretty good at talking (laughs). I’m no good at blowing smoke up my own ass.
Go check out Dustin’s vibes at barca4mayor.com
Imagine Barca Mayoring this! Napali Coast, Kauai.
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