Baja California’s Todos Santos Designated World Surfing Reserve

The waves that can reach 60 feet at Baja California’s Todos Santos Islands have officially achieved world-class status.

The islands — along with a stretch of coastline between Salsipuedes, about 65 miles south of San Diego, to El Sauzal, on the northern tip of Ensenada — will be dedicated as a World Surfing Reserve on Saturday.

The area, known as Bahía de Todos Santos, will join five other locations worldwide to receive the symbolic surfing designation.

“It’s kind of a mechanism to get the community to come up with ways of how to better conserve access, to conserve coastal ecosystems, to conserve all the things that might create those surf spots,” said Zach Plopper. He is director of coastal and marine programs at the San Diego-based conservation organization Wildcoast.

Wildcoast and its Mexican counterpart, CostaSalvaje, along with Mexican conservation groups SURF-ENS and Pronatura Noroeste, nominated the Bahía de Todos Santos for reserve designation.

Bahía de Todos Santos World Surfing Reserve

History and description of La Bahía de Todos Santos World Surfing Reserve.


Under the surfing-reserve program, conservation groups are expected to work with local officials and the community to manage the new reserve and promote conservation efforts.

One proposal is to declare a wetlands area within the reserve a state park.

Plopper said he also hopes the area’s World Surfing Reserve status will help save it from the kind of building boom that cut off beach access, polluted water and left half-finished high rises along the coast closer to Tijuana and Rosarito.

“This is an attempt to keep that from happening,” Plopper said.

The Save the Waves Coalition based in Davenport, Calif. started the World Surfing Reserves program in 2009 to bring public attention to treasured surf sites and promote their conservation.

The five existing reserve sites are Malibu and Santa Cruz in California, Ericeira in Portugal, Huanchaco in Peru and Manly Beach in Australia.

The dedication ceremony for the Bahía de Todos Santos reserve takes place in Ensenada at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

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