Surf Protection
May 16 2013

Gradients of Surf Protection

by Pierre Emmanuel Franco

This is a guest post from Pierre Emmanuel Franco from Surfrider Europe who has been focused on Surf Protection as an intern with Surfrider USA. 

The graph above is a combination of two graphs addressing wave protection. One describes the chronology of a threat (proactive vs. reactive) and the other highlights the level of legal protection and local engagement. The graph shows how different approaches from a temporal standpoint and level of involvment ultimately result in different levels of wave protection.

It is important to note that wave protection is not only the result of  legal protection or only a result of local acivism and advocacy from communities, but by the union of the two. Moreover, proactive approaches are the most effective and efficient ways to fight against potential threats to waves.

In contract, wave protection that is only reactive requires a lot of resources for each fight, which is not efficient and will likey result in loss. Further, if legal protection for surfing areas are weak and their is not strong community support for protection, the outcome will almost certainly be loss of the wave.

The worst possible situation. Only a reactive fight against a threat where there is neither a actively involved local community, nor strong environmental laws. Very low chance of wave protection. 


Situation is still challenging.  In this case there are two possible scenarios.  The first is proactive efforts to protect surfing but with inadequate legal protection or strong community support. The second is a moderately active local community and legal protection but remains a reactive fight. Low chances of wave protection.


Here the situation is much more positive where there are also two possible scenarios. The first one is a proactive surf protection effort  that is led by an activitve and involved community that is supported by the existence of strong laws. The second is a reactive fight, but done with a great involved community with very strong laws. High chances of wave protection. 


This is the best situation. Here we see proactive protection prior to the existance of a threat or avoidance of threats in the first place.  The local community is very involved,  very organized and the proactive protection policies are strong.  In this case wave protection is protactive, permanent and efficient. The best chance of permanent wave protection. 


In future posts, we will provide examples of each situation.