Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Letter for Ireland's Crab & Doolin

From: Save The Waves Coalition
To: Senior Executive Officer of Planning
Clare County Council
Aras Contae an Chlair
County Clare, Ireland
Re: PL 10-8006 New Pier at Doolin, County Clare

To Whom It May Concern:

“The secret is officially out. Ireland is one of the top surfing destinations in the world.” – from Discover Ireland (

This letter contains important arguments from Save The Waves Coalition about the proposed new pier, rock revetment and harbor development at Doolin near Crab Island in County Clare.

We respectfully yet adamantly request that planners of the project known as “PL 10-8006” in County Clare cancel current plans for the new harbor pier in Doolin and instead engage directly with the West Coast Surf Club and Irish Surfing Association to revisit alternative existing designs of this project. Alternate designs exist that do not damage the world class surfing waves at Crab Island and Doolin Point, and would ensure that surfers accessing the waves are not endangered by passing ferries.

Save The Waves Coalition is a nonprofit organization based in California with thousands of supporters worldwide, and our sole mission is to protect surf spots and their surrounding environments. It has come to our attention that the proposed design for rock revetment and new pier extension at Doolin would destroy the quality of the surfing waves at Crab Island and Doolin Point, due to wave backwash and wave energy reflection created by the new pier construction. Furthermore, surfers who visit the waves at Crab Island and Doolin Point would be forced to cross the operating paths of ferries using this new facility, consequently endangering their safety with these large boats.

Crab Island and Doolin Point are internationally renowned surf spots visited by thousands of Irish and overseas surfers, and this natural surfing attraction drives a robust local and regional economy based on surfing tourism. The proposed development will effectively destroy or drastically alter the surfing attraction of the area. Personally, I have surfed Ireland’s waves and found them to be unforgettable due to their unequalled quality and consistency. This type of environment for surfing is increasingly difficult to find in the world and is unique. It must be protected.

Our major concern is that this project will destroy a naturally occurring recreational opportunity - surfing - that is already in limited availability worldwide. Surfing and waves are a very limited and valuable resource that must not be destroyed nor altered.

Surfing waves are naturally occurring and exceptionally low-cost to society, and they provide and in fact create a well-developed and rich local surfing economy and culture. In fact, Irish surfers were employed and filmed for nationwide advertising campaigns with Discover Ireland in 2007-08. This means that the government of Ireland recognizes the important cultural and economic value of its unique surfing coastline. These surfing resources must be permanently protected for the benefits of culture, environment and economics.

Save The Waves Coalition respectfully insists that the planning authorities responsible for the new pier project at Doolin clearly and directly address the concerns of surfers who would lose a limited recreational resource if this project is executed as designed. Local surfers have informed our organization that their concerns and interests have not been addressed in the documentation and proposal of this project. By working with the local surfing club and the Irish Surfing Association, we believe that County Clare can find an acceptable alternative to this project without destroying the waves or endangering surfers in the water.

It is important to note that an online petition is now circulating and has already gathered over 3,500 individual signatures asking decision makers to consider these arguments to protect the surf spots at Crab Island and Doolin Point. We look forward to a comprehensive solution to address our legitimate concerns reflecting the interests of local and international surfers.

>>> Sign the petition to save these waves!
Photos by Mickey Smith.

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