Last year, the Gold Coast hosted the Global Waves Conference. What feels like yesteryear, working in collaboration with Save The Waves Coalition’s World Surfing Reserves Programme, we co-hosted a workshop to discuss local communities thriving in their pursuit to share, protect and preserve iconic, special and sacred surfing sites.

Despite the workshop being held during the very-last session of a week-long conference and on a Friday afternoon (and with Snapper going off), 27 delegates from World Surfing Reserves and National Surfing Reserves programmes (Australian, Brazil and New Zealand), and academics from Griffith University, Sunshine Coast University, The University of Queensland and the University of Southern Florida got together to share their experience and insights.

For local surfing communities to thrive we need to understand:

  • How can we best facilitate the longevity of stewardship councils/committees?
  • How do we measure the impact of surfing reserves?
  • What are the pathways for protection if desired?

We found common areas of opportunity to protect the coastal environment.  Delegates shared their experience and insights – download notes from WSR_NSR workshop GWC 2020 – but there is much more to do.

There was broad consensus that a network approach would be very beneficial as each surfing reserve has a lot to learn from the other. There was also a willingness to continue to collaborate and share tools and experience to elevate each others’ work in coastal protection. Ideally, we would love to see cross-country working groups collaborate and share tools and experience for the wider surfing reserve community to thrive. Collaboration is the only way forward.

If you are interested in getting more involved or looking to contribute in other ways, we would love to hear from you.