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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

On The Ground Update: North Devon WSR

Since the announcement of North Devon U.K. as the next World Surfing Reserve in April of 2022, the Local Stewardship Council has been hard at work developing its unique stewardship plan, responding to urgent threats to the surf ecosystem, hosting events, and preparing for their dedication in 2023.    Building a Strong Team A key element

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.

Current World Surfing Reserves

We have designated 11 WSR sites to date operating under LSC management in: California, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Costa Rica and Australia. One WSR has been nominated and pending designation in North Devon, UK.

Protect the places you love.

Donate today and make a global impact for our coastlines. 

Applying to Become a WSR

2023 Submission Window:
January 25th - may 25th

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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