Surf Protected Areas: Legally protecting surf ecosystems that overlap with biodiversity hotspots.

The Surf Protected Area Network (SPAN) program is a new approach for marine and coastal conservation that combines the legal protection of ecosystems with sustainable community development. 

Save The Waves implements this program across the globe on a national level in Costa Rica, The Azores, Mexico and Chile in coalition with local partners.

Our Project Areas

With our pilot project launched in Morotai of Indonesia, we are focusing additional efforts in Costa Rica, Chile and Mexico.

A collaboration with
Conservation International

Program Highlight:


Save The Waves launched a new initiative for creating SPANs in the Azores through the Blue Azores program with Waitt Foundation.

Program Victory:


We are proud of the accomplishments with Fundación Rompientes at the Piedra del Viento Marine Sanctuary in Chile – a historic achievement that protects 10,000 acres of pristine coastline as well as the famous surf breaks, Topocalma and Puertecillo. 


Visiones de éxito en Chile: los esfuerzos colaborativos apuntan a un futuro para una mayor protección de las olas en todo el país

El pasado mes de Septiembre, miembros del staff de Save The Waves visitaron la Reserva Mundial de Surf Punta de Lobos en Pichilemu, y el Santuario Marino Costero Piedra del Viento en Topocalma y Puertecillo, dos proyectos que han sido el parteaguas para la conservación de ecosistemas de surf en Chile, y que han sentado un precedente importante para otras regiones del mundo.

Protecting Waves in the Azores: Where Are We Now?

From hosting youth engagement workshops at schools to attending high-level interregional governmental meetings and international conferences, our team has seriously been making waves in the Azores.

What are 'Surf Protected Areas'? How do they work?

We break down what it means to legally protect a surf break and the comprehensive strategies used by communities worldwide to preserve their surfing resources.

The outline and analysis below is a Coalition collaboration with Save The Waves, Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA) and Conservamos For Naturaleza.

Using Surf Conservation for Biodiversity Protection

Across the globe, there are thousands of areas where world class surfing waves and globally important marine biological diversity overlap where threats are prevalent. 

Save The Waves recently conducted a study showing that ~90% of the world’s top surf sites are located in global biodiversity hotspots for marine conservation and are ripe for new protected areas. The map below shows 50 globally important surfing areas overlaid with biodiversity hotspots.

Click on map to enlarge.




Coalition Partner Highlight:

Conservation International

Save The Waves has teamed up with Conservation International! Together, our organizations have the necessary and combined forces to have a global impact for coastal conservation. Our projects in SPANs includes regions in Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil.

The Surf Conservation Partnership

Save The Waves has teamed up with international NGO Conservation International. Together, our organizations have the necessary and combined forces to have a global impact for coastal conservation. Our SPANs includes regions in Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil.


Explore and browse our completed studies around surf breaks and surf protected areas.

Help us push the boundaries of conservation.

Donate today and make a global impact for our coastlines. 

Our SPANs Partners.

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