Hey there fellow wave savers!
I am stoked to write to you with some updates from the Save The Waves App project, in the first installation of the Save The Waves App blog. First, I want to thank you for supporting Save The Waves through your engagement with the App. I truly believe that this tool is the key to unlocking a mobilized global surfing community to act as stewards, or guardians, of their breaks, and your support allows us to keep growing towards this goal.
Let’s dive into the updates. You might’ve noticed that we pushed App version 2.4.0 for iPhone on January 15th, fixing a critical image selection bug and kickstarting our development efforts to update the App. Since the update was launched, more than 4000 individuals have installed it on their phones, showcasing the App’s vast network of active users. Building on this effort, we have another update in its final stages–and this one also includes Android users! As the year progresses, we hope to have more updates that ensure the App serves your needs and those of our partners on the ground, with more versatile tools while still keeping simplicity and accessibility at its core. We would highly appreciate your help by taking our App survey–it’s short and sweet and it will help us prioritize the next steps in the development process.
On to some on-the-ground updates. We participated in Playa Hermosa WSR’s outreach event during the return of the Costa Rican Surfing Championship to its black sandy shore after a 3-year covid-induced hiatus. It was a great opportunity for the community to connect the dots between the threats faced by the WSR and the App through a threat-mapping exercise, and to learn more about the role that their App reports play in tackling these issues. An App identified and reported river cleanup was also conducted in the greater Tamarindo area of Costa Rica, intercepting over 170kg (375lbs) of trash that would’ve ended up in Tamarindo Bay–directly affecting classic surf spots like Playa Grande and the Tamarindo river mouth, as well as the Tamarindo Estuary mangroves, a National Park and RAMSAR site. We were also able to connect this cleanup’s data to Break Free From Plastic’s Brand Audit Toolkit, which collects data about the companies that create the plastic that ends up in the environment. Break Free was an initial App partner and their work to support global policy change through regulation provides App users with the opportunity to further the impact of their clean ups.
Looking forward, we have World Water Day coming up on March 22nd. Don’t forget to go out to your nearest body of water and enjoy the beauty of nature that day (and every day, if you can), and report any issues you find around water quality or any of the other 5 main threat categories in the App. As we prepare for this celebration of water, our partners at the Nicoya Peninsula Waterkeeper and I will be running an outreach campaign to get the surfing community of Santa Teresa and the surrounding area to report different coastal issues in the region, such as water quality and trash–which they will connect to government officials, and respond to with cleanups and water quality monitoring.
To wrap up this first blog and get you fired up to go take care of the places we all love (surf ecosystems, the coast and the ocean!) here’s our latest App video, launched earlier this month: How to Become a Coastal Steward. Insider note: this video has snippets from all of our (filmed) App stewardship projects – Fiji, California, Mexico and Peru. Let me know if you recognize the places in the video!
Thanks for being a part of the coalition, I really enjoy working with all of you to protect surf ecosystems across the globe.