Photo: William Henry
World Surfing Reserves (WSR) is a new and innovative global effort to proactively identify, designate, and preserve outstanding waves, surf zones, and their surrounding environments around the world. The program is creating a global network of designated surfing reserves that are both internationally and regionally recognized. The initiative depends on the coordination and partnership of the global surfing and environmental communities to select and enshrine world-class surf spots, along with local communities to implement, manage, and steward the reserves at a grass roots level.
WSR is first and foremost a stewardship program as it engages and empowers the local community to help protect and steward the site on an ongoing basis. WSR is also an education and public awareness program—a way to communicate the value of a surf break to its local community and to the world. The program increases cooperation amongst groups and individuals and establishes a Local Stewardship Council (LSC) to actively participate in all aspects of WSR designation and management. This includes planning the enshrinement ceremony, designing a significant public booklet that will trace the surf history/culture and environmental characteristics of the surf break, and the creation of a management plan to preserve and protect the WSR that focuses primarily around monitoring, education, and threat response.