If you’ve ever been in Surfside and seen a man skateboarding the streets in a suit and tie, you’ve likely caught a flash of Mayor Daniel Dietch headed to or coming from a town meeting.
An avid surfer, Dietch said he tries to bring that feeling of catching waves with him wherever he goes by staying on a board. That means he uses his longboard to get around the half-square-mile town as much as he can.
He even got his two teenage sons into skateboarding (“They’re much better than I am,” he says), and he said he’s seen a lot more people who live in Surfside take up the alternative form of transportation.
Dietch’s passion for skateboarding around this small town extends beyond simply enjoying the ride. He’s striving to be more eco-friendly, putting one less car on the road whenever he can help it. He’s worked with police-led “skate-around-town” events and the University of Miami’s Skate Safe program to teach some of Surfside’s mini-skateboarders tips, like how to fall the right way.
“We’re teaching safety, but we’re also promoting alternate transportation. So it’s these little initiatives that build a sense of community, that help you get the message out, that there are little things that everybody can do to make a difference,” Dietch said. “So without talking about reducing the carbon impact of driving around, we can kind of help people make good decisions without getting bogged down in the politics.”
He doesn’t let Miami’s heat get to him. Instead he carries a handkerchief – which he calls his “mop” – everywhere.
“It is what it is,” Dietch said about longboarding in the heat of the day.
When he isn’t doing mayoral duties, Dietch works full time as an environmental consultant in South Florida – but he says he tries to work from home so he can avoid using his car. (Wait, can we use that excuse too?)