Surfrider Issue: Waves In Danger

IT’S HARD TO GET PEOPLE INVOLVED in the overall fight to save our oceans. But just as in the case of last year’s fight to save Trestles, when your homebreak gets targeted, you can bet your ass that you’re gonna get involved. James Pribram, the Eco Warrior, gathered a list of four waves in serious danger of being destroyed. For more info on how to get involved with these campaigns, as well as others, head to Surfrider.org.

Thought the war wouldn’t come to you?

Think again …


Pavones, Costa Rica

PHOTO: CHRIS WILSON

PAVONES COSTA RICA

Pavones is the crown jewel of Costa Rican surfing, and one of the longest lefts in the world. Unfortunately, it faces the risk of serious water pollution if a proposed tuna farm is built nearby.

A tuna farm consists of floating cages where juvenile wild tuna are fattened until they reach commercial size, then they are exported. Young tuna are captured in the open ocean in large nets, and then transported 90 to 800 kilometers (many dying along the way) to these near-shore feeding cages. Once inside, the tuna are fed imported sardines or a meat and fish oil concentrate. In Australia, contaminated sardines spread a virus to local fish stocks and bird populations; in southern Chile in 2007/2008, salmon fish farms have gravely damaged coastal ecosystems.

The project in Costa Rica would build a series of huge underwater tuna farm cages located 1.5 kilometers from the coast along Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast at the entrance to the Golfo Dulce. It involves serious risks to the local economy and environment, by threatening surfing resources, water quality, and local fish populations. The tuna farm project may begin construction in 2011, possibly polluting Pavones waters sometime in 2011.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? The “No Tuna Farms” campaign and background information, letter writing campaign, etc. is at pretoma.org. Locally, you can tell sushi restaurants you won’t buy or eat farmed tuna.

SURFERS BEACH SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA

PHOTO: CHECKWOOD

PHOTO: CHECKWOOD

Surfers Beach is an amazing wedgy beachbreak that offers hundreds of locals and traveling surfers an abundance of fun surf practically year-round. Located on the beach, inside of iconic Maverick’s in Half Moon Bay, the beachbreak is in a constant state of erosion brought on by the Pillar Point jetty blocking sand flow to the area. The jetty has been there since 1961, but as time goes on, the effects of the sand not being able to flow naturally down the beach are being felt worse than ever through erosion and the disappearing beach itself.

Save The Waves advocates the dredging of the sand-choked harbor, with the high-quality unpolluted sand being disposed over the breakwater wall onto Surfers Beach where it will re-nourish starved beaches, creating better surf conditions and protecting the coastline from erosion and storm surges. Save The Waves, Surfrider, and local activists are working with the Corps Of Engineers and stakeholders to facilitate the timely dredging of the harbor and protect the eroding shoreline.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Support the efforts of local activist surfers at dredgetheharbor.com, and the efforts of Save The Waves and Surfrider who are rallying and pressuring decision makers to protect this beach and dredge the Pillar Point Harbor.

THE PENTLAND FIRTH SCOTLAND

PHOTO: WILL BAILEY

PHOTO: WILL BAILEY

The Pentland Firth isn’t a wave—it’s possibly the most wave-rich region in Europe. There are perfect pointbreaks, superb slabs, and brilliant beaches littered along this coastline. A trip to this region is something of a pilgrimage for U.K. surfers. It sits there at the top of the country tempting us with amazing breaks and tall tales of tubes ridden by fellow surfers. It does have a bunch of hard-core locals that endure extreme conditions, but this region is important to all U.K. surfers as it is considered the “North Shore” of the U.K.—as well as the arena for the WQS six-star O’Neill Cold Water Classic.

This area is under constant threat of being used for harvesting wave energy to produce power, which is a good thing, unless precious and classic surf spots are destroyed and inundated with sewage. It’s a touchy subject, but if the developers work with organizations like Surfers Against Sewage as well as the local surfers, the Pentland Firth will be protected so future generations can enjoy some of the best waves in the world

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Pledge your support to Surfers Against Sewage at sas.org.uk.

T-STREET SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA

T-Street Beach has been the training grounds for such names as Beschen, Andino and Archbold, not to mention new school rippers Nate Yeomans and the Gudauskas brothers. The reef at T-Street has multiple peaks providing long rippable lefts and rights, along with a sometimes hollow inside section.

PHOTO: RUSS HENNINGS

PHOTO: RUSS HENNINGS

The beach through this section of town has slowly narrowed over the years due to changes in the sand supply and big storms during El Niño years. In response, the city of San Clemente along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are exploring ways to dump tons of sand along the city’s beach to protect the oceanfront infrastructure from erosion. All this sand has the potential to essentially bury the T-Street reef, changing its long peelers into closeout dumpers. Surfrider Foundation is working with the city to ensure that any project that moves forward is small enough and designed in a way to reduce those impacts. If plans go through as projected, construction could occur by 2012. It’s been in planning for eight years already!

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Watch Surfrider’s South Orange County Chapter Web site and sign up for e-mail updates. There will be public meetings to discuss this project in the spring and your voice will be needed. You should also write to the San Clemente City Council (san-clemente.org) to let them know you want T-Street protected.