From October 11-14, 2015 eCoast’s Ed Atkin joined a force of like-minded groups and individuals at the 4th Global Wave Conference (GWC) held in Cornwall in the far south west of England. The aim of the conference was to meet, discuss and share information on worldwide efforts related to surfbreak conservation and coastal environmental protection. Among the topics discussed were the latest solutions to better protect surf habitats, innovations in sustainability in the surf industry and lowering the impact of surf tourism. The event was hosted by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), a UK based non-profit dedicated to protectiing Britain’s waves oceans and beaches.
The conference delegates were joined by pro surfers Brad Gerlach, Greg Long, Ramón Navarro and Tom Curren, all of whom were happy to share stories and listen to others. The pros were all inspirational in their own right, however the conference presentations and the people who gave them were just as impressive.
Credit must go to Surfers Against Sewage who not only organised a stunning venue and a seamless conference, they managed for the speakers and delegates to meet with members of parliament in the Churchill Room of the House of Commons, Westminster Palace, London. It was a grand finale, with an address by Steve Double, the MP for the sub-region where the conference was held and awards presented to Tom Curren, for his efforts in setting up Surfrider Foundation Europe, and Chris Hines (MBE), the co-founder of Surfer Against Sewage.
Anticipation for the next conference is high with a real sense of momentum in bringing like-minded people together and learning from their skills and experiences. While the overriding common theme for this conference was one of collaboration, the unifying force, which probably spans each of the conferences to date, is clearly the passion to protect. Hopefully this passion will be strong enough to further long-standing alliances between diverse, yet undeniably enthusiastic contributors, in to creating a unified body, a Global Wave Alliance of surfers, scientists and activists dedicated to protecting and preserving the world’s surfing resources.