Wave protection

The aim of Surfrider’s « Heritage & Waves » programme is twofold: natural coastal heritage conservation on one hand and the recognition of waves as a unique heritage resource on the other. In doing so, Surfrider is implementing actions to both protect waves from direct threats and avoid potential ones.
As part of the « Heritage and Waves » programme, Surfrider’s action aims at protecting waves which experience direct threats and making them « unassailable ».

Combine reaction and pro-action

Surfrider has been implementing « curative » actions aiming at protecting waves facing direct threats. In concrete terms, the organisation is acting to preserve recreational sites from human aggressions: the “Keepers of the Coast” programme has been created to fight against the downward spiral of excessive and uncoordinated artificial coastal development. As it perfectly highlights activism and participation, the programme gives any citizen the opportunity to get involved in environmental campaigns in their own areas and with Surfrider’s support. Surfrider also creates tools to show the heritage value of threaten waves, whether they be of economic, cultural, historical, sociological or environmental value. However Surfrider’s fight is not only against threats that are already acknowledged, its action goes further, into a proactive and innovative approach to enhance waves in order to avoid any future threat. Targeted objectives are:

  • To have waves inscribed on UNESCO’s World Historical and Cultural Heritage List. For this purpose, Surfrider relies on the exceptional cultural testimony of such heritage related to events, living traditions, beliefs and literature.
  • The creation of “World surfing reserves”.


« Surfonomics »: Reconcile Economy and Environment

Environmental and economic interests are often presented as unsuitable. Yet protecting nature can be good for the economy! By giving waves, surfing spots and beaches a financial value “Surfonomics” intend to demonstrate how these interests can be positively balanced. By using techniques developed in the economic resources field, Surfrider Foundation helps to better understand the economic, demographic and social value of waves and surfing.

Initially for fun, the surfers’ approach has indeed already led to in-depth knowledge acquisition on such environments: coastal mapping, comprehension of flows, erosion or even meteorological mechanisms, etc. The increasing “anthropisation” of the coastline, tourism development and global warming effects are producing negative impacts on water quality, intensifying the phenomenon of shoreline erosion and tending to change the waves system itself. These are as many issues at stake for which Surfrider remains committed.

Surfrider’s « Heritage and Waves » programme goes beyond the simple anecdote of surfers wishing to merely protect their playground. The programme enables to reflect upon the value of waves and regarding this matter, everyone complies to give waves a cultural, environmental and economic value. This is why Surfrider’s ambition is to become a true catalyst of initiatives for the waves.

To learn more about Surfonomics, visit Surfrider’s blog. For further information, read professional surfer Joao De Macedo’s interview who gives a token of his commitment to wave protection and expresses his personal opinion regarding their addition to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.