The Global Wave Conference, an international symposium on the protection of waves, took place last week in two of the most beautiful destinations on the planet: Biarritz, France and San Sebastian-Donostia, Spain, on October 24th and 25th respectively. This was the first major international conference on the recognition of the value of the waves.
Surfers Against Sewage from the United Kingdom, Save the Waves Coalition based in Northern California, WiLDCOAST from Mexico, Surfbreak Protection Society from New Zealand, National Surfing Reserves from Australia, Portugal’s Salvem O Surf, and branches of the international Surfrider network (Australia, Argentina, Europe, Japan, Morocco, United States), along with scientific support of Dr. Tony Butt, who has a PhD in Physical Oceanography and has published 16 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and over 200 other articles on waves and the coastal environment, were there on behalf to discuss the situation and next steps.
The conference highlighted that while the coasts are attracting more and more people and territories are seeking to protect against the effects of climatic disorder, conservation of surfing waves is becoming a major issue on many coastlines.
Waves come from the alignment of multiple environmental factors, themselves relatively uncertain. Since waves are vulnerable to any change in the environment that characterizes them, unfortunately, this is why many surf spots have now been altered…and some have even disappeared!
There are several types of threats that can cause the disappearance of a wave. The objective of the conference was to characterize what are the economic, social and environmental values of a surf zone to a coastal area, and focus on these three questions:
1. How Do You Define The Value of a Wave, and by Extension, of Nature?
2. What Are the Threats Facing the Waves?
3. Which Strategies Can Be Put into Place to Protect them?
Representatives of the political and scientific worlds, joined by engineers specializing in coastal development, discussed the issues surrounding waves within their respective areas of expertise.