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WORLD SURFING RESERVES

Protecting outstanding surf breaks around the world.

World Surfing Reserves serves as a model standard for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting key environmental, cultural and economic attributes in coastal communities.

Save The Waves’ flagship program proactively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments around the world.  WSRs represent a global network of designated surfing reserves that are managed, implemented, and protected by local communities.

What is the World Surfing Reserves program?

The World Surfing Reserves (WSR) program proactively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments around the world.

Although the program is managed and administered by Save The Waves Coalition, WSRs represent a global network of designated surfing reserves that are managed, implemented, and protected by the local community.  

World Surfing Reserves provide a platform and stakeholder engagement mechanism to pursue projects that protect the surf, community and environment.

Recent News on WSRs

Who Selects World Surfing Reserves? Meet The Vision Council 

When Save The Waves created the World Surfing Reserves program 15 years ago, the organization knew it was important to have a group of professionals in the surf and conservation space to help guide the program, establish the conditions and criteria for applications, and most importantly, deliberate on what surf ecosystem should be selected each

On The Ground Update: North Devon World Surfing Reserve

The North Devon World Surfing Reserve has created a unique stewardship project that aims to tackle one of the key threats to the surf ecosystem, water quality. Climate models predict, with a high degree of certainty, that the South West of the UK will experience increased heavy rainfall in short periods. This will increase the

On The Ground Update: Guarda do Embau World Surfing Reserve

In Brazil, the Guarda do Embau World Surfing Reserve continues to be laser-focused on its objective of protecting the Rio do Madre River, the lifeblood of the surf ecosystem. In their “Water for Life” stewardship project, they are focused on 3 major objectives; expanding their water quality testing program to identify problem areas for water

On The Ground Update: Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve

Huanchaco WSR is building climate resilience by restoring totora ponds. Totora is a reed that grows in coastal ponds and has been used for thousands of years to make one of the earliest surf crafts called caballito de totora. The caballito de totora is known as one of the earliest surf crafts when coastal fishermen

Created in partnership with local communities.

We work collaboratively with local coalition partners at each site guiding them through a conservation planning process that results in the creation of a Local Stewardship Council (LSC) and a Reserve Stewardship Plan. The LSC is responsible for the ongoing management of the Reserve once established.

World Surfing Reserves Location Sites

We have designated 12 WSR sites to date operating under LSC management in: Ausralia, Brazil, California, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. One WSR has been nominated and pending designation in El Salvador.

Protect the places you love.

Donate today and make a global impact for our coastlines. 

Applying to Become a WSR

Each year, Save The Waves accepts one new World Surfing Reserve. The application process requires significant work from local communities and their inquiry is based on the following core criteria: 

1) Quality and consistency of the wave(s);

2) Important environmental characteristics;

3) Culture and surf history;

4) Governance capacity and local support;

5) Priority Conservation Area 

Applying to Become a WSR

Submission window: Jan 25th to May 25th, 2023

Each year, Save The Waves accepts one new World Surfing Reserve. The application process requires significant work from local communities and their inquiry is based on the following core criteria: 

1) Quality and consistency of the wave(s);

2) Important environmental characteristics;

3) Culture and surf history;

4) Governance capacity and local support;

5) Priority Conservation Area 

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