Wednesday, February 17, 2010

International Conference on the Protection of Waves

First International Symposium on the Protection of Waves as a Natural, Economic & Sports Resource

Save The Waves Coalition is proud to announce its participation in the First International Conference on the Protection of Waves to be held next week in the Canary Islands. Save The Waves Coalition's environmental director Josh Berry will be presenting to an international audience of students, faculty, professionals and coastal experts at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

The conference aims to explore and promote the environmental, economic and recreational value of waves as a natural resource. Waves and their surrounding culture and environment hold great significance for the environment and for coastal communities. Waves as a natural resource exist in all coastal areas, yet waves are largely overlooked in coastal planning, community development, environmental awareness and the political process. The surf zone is also a focal point of diverse marine flora and fauna and waves have an important economic dimension that is increasingly becoming apparent through economic studies and the growing popularity of coastal communities.

Waves are the backbone of sport and leisure activities such as surfing, windsurfing, and other popular ocean pursuits. Yet waves are also constantly at risk of destruction or damage from development, pollution, erosion, climate change and other threats. This conference will promote and explore the benefits of waves and their importance to humanity.

Presented by: Spanish Surfing Federation, Canary Islands Surfing Federation and the National Sports Council
Organized by: Ángel Lobo Rodrigo and Tony Butt
With the support of: School of Law at University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
More Information: and

Location: Aula Magna, Faculty of Law, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Dates: February 25 & 26, 2010
Languages: Spanish and English


− Tony Butt. PhD Physical Oceanography, University of Plymouth
− Dr. Angel Lobo Rodrigo. Lecturer in Administrative Law, University of La Laguna
− Josh Berry. Environmental Director, Save The Waves Coalition
− Jaime Saavedra Rodríguez. Economist and Consultant
− Ana González Pérez. Professor of Financial Economics and Accounting, University of La Laguna
− Marcel Bonnet Escuela. Professor of Institutional Economics, Statistical Economics and Econometrics, University of La Laguna
− Xavier Pascual Lorente. Road, Canal & Ports Engineer; Head of Engineering and Architecture at Sener Consultants Spain
− Jorge Núñez Fraga. Professor of Zoology, University of La Laguna
− Antidia Citores. Lawyer specialized in European and International Issues, University of Pau and Pays de L’Adour, France

Conference Objectives:

− Understand the physical mechanisms behind the generation, propagation and breaking of ocean waves for surfing
− Understand the natural environment within which coastal ocean waves exist
− Become familiar with legal methods that can be used to protect the waves
− Understand the impact of coastal ocean waves on the local economy
− Study ways of intervening in the coastal environment without destroying waves
− Understand the economic importance of coastal ocean waves for energy and tourism

Conference Schedule:

February 25, 2010:

- Waves as a Natural Resource
- Wave Generation, Propagation and Breaking
By Tony Butt, Physical Oceanographer
- Marine Ecosystems and Waves
By Jorge Núñez Fraga, Reader in Zoology
-The Coastline and Waves
By Tony Butt, Physical Oceanographer
- Waves as an Economic, Sports and Social Resource
- The Sea as a Source of Energy
By Ana González Pérez, Professor of Financial Economics and Accounting
- Practical Examples of the Importance of Waves as Recreational, Economic and Natural Resources
By Josh Berry, Environmental Director, Save the Waves Coalition

February 26, 2010:

- Tourism & Waves
By Jaime Saavedra Rodríguez, Economist and Consultant
- The Surf Industry
By Marcel Bonnet, Professor of Institutional Economics, Statistical Economics and Econometrics
- Legal Protection of Waves
By Angel Lobo Rodrigo, Lecturer in Administrative Law.
- Classification of Waves as Entities of Worldwide Historic and Cultural Heritage (Europe and UNESCO)
By Antidia Citores, European and International Lawyer.
- Sustainable Coastal Intervention
- Practical Examples of Sustainable Coastal Intervention
By Xavier Pascual Lorente, Civil Engineer
* Closing Round table: Towards a Policy of Sustainable and Respectful Coastal Intervention
-Ángel Lobo Rodrigo (Chair)
-Tony Butt
-Josh Berry
-Antidia Citores
-Representative of the Coastal Planning Department
-Representative of the Canary Islands Government

For a complete conference schedule, click here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Save The Waves Releases “Surfonomics” Study at Mavericks Contest

Complete study now available – $24 million per year in economic value at the fabled break:

February 12, 2010, Half Moon Bay, CA – Save The Waves Coalition announced it has completed its second “Surfonomics” study, a measure of the economic value of the world-famous big-wave break at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, California. The study found that the surfing site and area has an estimated economic value to visitors of nearly $24 million per year, based on approximately 420,000 annual visitors.

“Mavericks is an iconic, world-renowned surf break that’s truly unique,” said Save The Waves executive director Dean LaTourrette. “This study provides evidence of not just its environmental value, but of its economic value as well. This further reinforces the notion that it and other special coastal areas around the world need and deserve to be protected.” The study, which includes an economic value report as well as an analysis on the value of the break from an ecotourism perspective, will be available beginning on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 at the Mavericks Surf Contest.

The study combined the economic value visitors place on the wave with intrinsic or cultural values of a coastal location with a world-class wave such as Mavericks. An important goal of the project was to build a model that can inform decision makers in coastal communities with important waves around the world. While prior studies of the value of waves have focused on the economic impacts of a contest or industry to local economies, this study looked at the benefits that surfing provides to surfers and observers by focusing on the value they place on the Mavericks wave through what they give up to experience it, as well as their qualitative comments.

The combined study, entitled “The Value of a Wave: An Analysis of the Mavericks Region and the Mavericks Wave from an Ecotourism Perspective,” was conducted by University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, in partnership with the Center for Responsible Travel at Stanford University, under the guidance of Save The Waves Coalition.

The complete study is available just in time for the 2009/2010 Mavericks Surf Contest, which has been called on Saturday, February 13, 2010, at Mavericks Beach. Save The Waves is an environmental partner for the contest and will have a booth at the event, as well as more detail on the study.

Summary of Key Findings:

1) The wave at Mavericks has an estimated minimum economic value to visitors of $23.9 million per year. *
2) The average visitor is willing to pay a minimum of $56.70 per trip to the Mavericks surf area.
3) Surfers visit the area nearly five times more often than non-surfers and thus accrue more value from the area.
4) The study did not include the Mavericks Surf Contest, which has drawn anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people to the area on contest day, and thus results in additional economic value to visitors each year.
5) Almost 90% of the respondents labeled surfing an ecotourism activity, and thus important to the cultural and environmental health of the community. Respondents believed that Mavericks helped to positively define the Half Moon Bay area.

* Based on estimated visitation levels of 421,431 per year

> Click here for more information about Surfonomics.
> Click here for more info about the Mavericks Surf Contest.

Photos: Mavericks - Large & In Charge! Both photos by Will Henry.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Saving Sloat from San Francisco Bureaucrats

The beach at South Sloat on SF's Ocean Beach is littered with giant boulders, chunks of cement and asphalt, and brick construction debris placed there to "protect" the eroding sand bluffs and city infrastructure. The City's Dept of Public Works has, since 2003, ignored community task force guidelines to stop throwing rocks at the ocean.

Boulders and other artificial hard structures are proven to worsen long-term coastal erosion. Scouring of sandy beaches is intensified by the placement of hard structures on the beach. Read here our recommendations to protect this area and restore it to a natural setting free of extreme erosion, crumbling infrastructure, and the aforementioned junk.

This week we won a compromise victory of sorts by getting the DPW to use less rock armoring and to listen to our argument for implementing long-term solutions.

The southern Sloat area is GGNRA (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) property, which means it's a national park. Why are we allowing the City to dump construction waste and other artificial structures in a national park? If you travel less than 1 mile north on this same beach, you'll find a beautiful, long stretch of sandy dunes, flourishing native coastal vegetation, and thriving habitat for a threatened bird, the Western Snowy Plover. All strictly managed and protected by the GGNRA. No erosion nor hard structures trashing the dunes. Residents and tourists stroll on the beach, fly kites, walk their dogs and sunbathe (if it's not foggy).Why isn't southern Sloat being restored to similar circumstances?

This is a problem of local government's neglect, inertia and inaction that will only be exacerbated by rising sea levels. An outdated wastewater tunnel and a misplaced roadway are the City's excuse to continue throwing rocks at the sea without implementing the very clearly marked long-term solution. Save Sloat! Write our SF City Supervisors by clicking here for this excellent petition by Surfrider. I am working with SF artist Travis Weller to produce a pretty image for the "Save Sloat!" campaign. Stay tuned.

* Click here to read detailed history & background info about this environmental issue.
* Click here for the petition to Save Sloat!

This isn't a beach, it's a junkyard for the City's construction waste:

The wave we aim to save from the City's Slaves: