Thursday, August 16, 2012

Maldives Epic Surf: Privatized Soon?

Maldive surfers are organizing around a potential threat to surf access on Thamburudhoo Island, home to two of the area's best surf spots in the Maldives.

The Government of Maldives represented by the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has proposed to develop a tourist resort on the island of Thanburudhoo through a lease to a third party. Thamburudhoo is the only island with two world class waves - the left, popularly known as “Honky's” and the right known as “Sultans”.

The surf points at Thamburodhoo have been pivotal in the development of surfing in the country and have for many years been an integral part of the businesses of many small live-aboard safari vessel operators and surf excursion organizers. 

If the development goes ahead the local surfers, the live-aboard surf safari vessel operators, local guest houses that organize surfing excursions and the tourists staying at other resorts will completely lose access to the last accessible surf location with both a left hander and right hander. 

Read a news report about the issue here and stay tuned as Save The Waves develops more action to save these waves in the Maldives. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Martin's Beach - CLOSED

Located just off of California's scenic Highway One near Half Moon Bay, Martin's Beach is a small enclave of unique coastal access for local surfers, picnickers and other beachgoers. On a stretch of uninhabited coastline where there are limited ocean access options, Martin's Beach is a historic gateway to sand, surf and ocean for those in the know. 

Since 2008, a new owner has blocked access to Martin's Beach by locking the gate on the road that leads to the oceanfront beach. Previously, the public was granted access for a small entrance fee.

According to the California Coastal Act and historic precedent, in cases where the public has had continuous access to the coast through private property, the state can enforce the preservation of that access.  (A San Jose Mercury News article here details this issue and features the owner's lawyer's comments.) 

Art on the billboard at Martin's Beach protested its closure. Video below.
The Coastal Act of California, Section 30604 (c), provides that "Every coastal development permit issued for any development between the nearest public road and the sea or shoreline of any body of water located within the coastal zone shall include a specific finding that the development is in conformity with the public access and public recreation policies of Chapter 3."

Local residents are organizing weekly protests at the gate to Martin's Beach. You can learn more and support this cause at the Open Martin's Beach Facebook page. 

In late 2010, graffiti artists protested Martin's Beach closure with billboard art at the entrance to Martin's Beach on Highway One, an act of defiance which was immediately painted over by the property owners: 

Support this campaign here: Open Martin's Beach.