Global Impact in 2019: Gratitude and Top Ten Accomplishments

Credit: Nikki Brooks

Save The Waves Coalition is working to protect, steward and defend surf ecosystems and coastlines around the world. From Australia to Brazil, Portugal to Mexico, Peru, Chile, Indonesia and beyond, the coalition is growing, engaging new partners and having a tangible impact on the places you love.

What did we do in 2019?

  • Protected surf ecosystems like Brazil’s Guarda Do Embaú, the latest World Surfing Reserve.
  • Planted the seeds for new Surf Protected Area Networks (SPANs) in Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia.
  • Identified coastal threats in 34 countries with the Endangered Waves App and awarded a $5,000 stewardship prize to clean up the waves in Fiji’s Viti Levu.
  • Defended crown jewel surf ecosystems like Oaxaca’s Punta Conejo, receiving over 265,000 campaign signatures and working with local community partners to secure permanent protection.

The impact is significant. When we protect surf ecosystems, we are protecting more than just a wave. We are preserving the unique biodiversity and environmental characteristics of a coastline, and safeguarding the local economy and rich cultural heritage. Around the world, vital and amazing surf ecosystems remain intact and continue to be protected through our global programs.

We have big plans for 2020! Next year, we’ll be rolling out our plan to protect hundreds of more surf spots and thousands of miles of coastlines in ten key regions with our Coalition partners around the world.

Please consider making a special year-end donation to help us continue our hard work and protect the places you love. This year, each donation via Patagonia Action Works is matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 by our friends at Patagonia! Go to and contribute today to double your impact.

We are beyond thankful for your support and value your role in our global Coalition. Happy Holidays!

Many thanks,

Nik Strong-Cvetich

Executive Director, Save The Waves Coalition

Our Top Ten Accomplishments of 2019

  1. Successfully launched the #SalvemosPuntaConejo campaign, receiving over 265,000+ signatures in opposition to a port construction at an iconic point break in Oaxaca.
  2. Officially dedicated Guarda Do Embaú as the 9th World Surfing Reserve, with Adriano de Souza, Teco Padaratz, Tainá Hinckel and STW Ambassador João De Macedo.
  3. Launched the #DirtyWaveChallenge, awarding the prize to Hannah Bennett, Fiji’s first female pro surfer, for her stewardship in Viti Levu.
  4. Took the first steps in approving Surfing Protected Area Networks (SPANs) for Latin America with Coalition partners in Mexico and Chile.
  5. Helped launch a Surf Protected Areas Network in Morotai, Indonesiawith our partners at Conservation International and A Liquid Future.
  6. Released a new film, ‘A Walk On The Beach’, featuring the ongoing campaign to protect Ireland’s Doughmore Beach from a seawall project proposal by Trump International Golf Links.
  7. Added two new Ambassadors: Big Wave legend and sport equality pioneer Bianca Valenti, and Puerto Rican charger Otto Flores.
  8. Completed a Surfonomics study of Guarda do Embaú, with Dr. Marcos Bosquetti.
  9. Launched the IUCN Alliance for Surf Protected Area Networks at the third Latin America Protected Areas Congress.
  10. Executive Director Nik Strong-Cvetich selected as a Henry Arnhold Conservation Fellow by the Mulago Foundation and nominated as a Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius by UCLA.