Surf Conservation Partnership

A collaborative program between Save The Waves and Conservation International to protect world-class waves and vital marine ecosystems.

For surfers riding waves from Bali to Baja, the health of the ocean is deteriorating right beneath their boards. Surfing is enjoyed by more than 35 million people across the globe – people who are passionate about keeping the ocean (and their favorite surf spots) healthy.

Conservation International and Save The Waves joined forces to create the Surf Conservation Partnership to mobilize surfing communities on a global scale and protect areas where outstanding surfing waves and the most biologically diverse marine and coastal ecosystems overlap. 

Our approach is simple.

We create “Surf Protected Areas” by working with local communities and governments.

With surfing waves as the anchor, Surf Protected Areas conserve much larger surrounding ecosystems by removing threats of overfishing, deforestation, plastic pollution and unsustainable development – helping nature and people to thrive.

Our goal is to sustainably manage millions of hectares of coral reefs, coastal forests and other critical habitats in areas that would otherwise not be conserved.

By 2025, The Surf Conservation Partnership will:

Creating the world's first Surf Protected Area Network in Indonesia

Across Indonesia, surfing is critical to local economies and has vast potential to support conservation — in the Uluwatu surf area in Bali, for example, the surf break contributes US$ 35.3 million annually. But Bali and other popular surf locations are also plagued by plastic pollution, sewage and overfishing. We are creating a Surf Protected Area network across the country to address these issues.

Creating the world's first Surf Protected Area Network in Indonesia

Across Indonesia, surfing is critical to local economies and has vast potential to support conservation — in the Uluwatu surf area in Bali, for example, the surf break contributes US$ 35.3 million annually. But Bali and other popular surf locations are also plagued by plastic pollution, sewage and overfishing. We are creating a Surf Protected Area network across the country to address these issues.

SUPPORT THE SURF CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP

This innovative partnership is mobilizing surfing communities to protect nature in some of the world’s most precious marine and coastal areas – for the benefit of everyone on Earth.

More Information.

OUR PROGRAMS.

With roughly 7,000 visitors a year, Morotai Island — the Surf Conservation Partnership’s first site — is home to intact forest, reefs and more than 30 high-quality uncrowded waves. But a new plan for rapid tourism development could change all by that increasing pressure on the environment and local communities.

To address these threats, the Surf Conservation Partnership is working with local partners to create a Surf Protected Area to conserve 50 kilometers (31 miles) of coastline, 100,000 hectares (nearly 250,000 acres) of coral reef and coastal forest and the area’s more than 30 waves. The Surf Protected Area will also promote sustainable tourism development that balances the need for income from tourism with conservation of the environment.

Building on the first Surf Protected Area in Morotai, SCP is working to establish Surf Protected Areas in Biak island, Papua Province; in Sumba island, East Nusa Tenggara Province; and in Bali to create an Indonesia-wide Surf Protected Area Network. In time we will create similar networks in Fiji, Costa Rica, Brazil, Liberia and other countries.

These networks combine the legal protection of marine ecosystems and sustainable community development in areas where priority marine ecosystems and high-quality waves overlap. The networks protect the ecological, economic and social value of surfing waves and their surrounding environments by including prohibitions against activities that damage habitat, impact water quality or deplete marine resources.

Healthy coastlines and quality surfing waves have immense social and economic value to local communities. Surfonomics is a key part of the Surf Protected Area approach and helps experts determine the economic value of surfing to help decision-makers make better choices to protect their coastal resources and waves. Globally, each site with good surfing waves generates US$ 18 million annually for the local economy — highlighting the importance of protecting surf areas and managing surf tourism to local communities and governments.

OUR COLLABORATORS.

The Indonesian NGO empowers isolated coastal communities that are undergoing marine tourism development, with a particular focus on helping women and girls through experiential learning programs in communication, technology, creative and social media, water sports, and sustainable marine stewardship and tourism development.

Key to this partnership is our collaboration with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) and the Anderson School of Management. Based in one of the world’s epicenters of surfing in Southern California, this world-renowned university is lending its academic expertise and business acumen to strengthen our Surf Protected Area initiatives

The Indonesian NGO assists communities across eastern Indonesia to protect their vital ecosystems and natural resources by creating locally managed marine areas (LMMAs). Primarily working as fishers and farmers, local people depend directly on nature for their daily survival. LMMAs empower villages to create their own protected areas that remove threats and greatly increase the abundance of fish, and the health of reefs and forests to make sure people have abundant food and income and a high quality of life.

SURF CONSERVATION FOR BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION.

Across the globe, more than 75 percent of the world’s best surfing waves are located in areas that are critically important for marine and coastal conservation. Existing World Surfing Reserves are working to protect several of these spots, but the Surf Conservation Partnership will effectively scale our ability to protect even more. With many of these surf ecosystems overlapping with biodiversity hotspots, it’s easy to see how surf breaks are important in protecting marine biodiversity.

Click map for more details.

SURF CONSERVATION FOR BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION.

Across the globe, more than 75 percent of the world’s best surfing waves are located in areas that are critically important for marine and coastal conservation. Existing World Surfing Reserves are working to protect several of these spots, but the Surf Conservation Partnership will effectively scale our ability to protect even more. With many of these surf ecosystems overlapping with biodiversity hotspots, it’s easy to see how surf breaks are important in protecting marine biodiversity.

Click map for more details.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SURF CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP: ONE YEAR REPORT

The Surf Conservation Partnership’s (SCP) established seven village-level surf protected areas at our first site on Morotai Island, Indonesia, protecting over 30 miles of coastline and 30 surf breaks.

TRANSFORMING CONSERVATION THROUGH THE POWER OF SURFING

Recognizing the vast potential of surfing communities to be a greater force for protection of important places, Conservation International and Save The Waves joined forces to create the Surf Conservation Partnership.

Surf Conservation Partnership Founders

Conservation International and Save The Waves Coalition greatly appreciate the visionary people who are helping to launch the Surf Conservation Partnership. These are our Partnership Founders, who are generously offering their advice, engaging their friends and colleagues in the initiative and providing critical funding and support.

Sarah Argyropoulos
Nico Argyropoulos
Scott K. Atkinson and Ashley Kleckner
Kristina Brittenham and Jesse Sisgold
Joe Chrisman
Erin Culley and Richard Carlson
Langley Eide and Tom McDonald
Justin Havlick
Tom Larkin
David Joshua Levy
Randy Sinquefield
Shannon and Bryce Skaff
John Swift and the Mycorrhizal Fund
Brad Warga

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