News Archives - eCoast

Global Wave Conference Wrap-Up

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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.

 

New Zealand’s surf break protection message goes global

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To protect the surf breaks and coastlines around the world, science has to be in the mix.

That’s the message eCoast Marine Consulting and Research scientist Ed Atkin will be taking to the Global Wave Conference in Cornwall on the southwest coast of England next week.

The event will gather some of the world’s leading enviro-surf NGOs, researchers, oceanographers, environmentalists, activists, surfers and politicians to discuss the biggest threats to global surfing habitats and the increasing importance of protecting our oceans and surf breaks.

Coastlines worldwide are subject to ongoing development and resource extraction, and New Zealand’s coastlines are no exception. What makes New Zealand unique is its national policy safeguarding its surf breaks to ensure development is sustainable long-term.

“To have it in law that you have to consider any potential impacts regarding the access, amenity value and mechanics of our surf breaks, New Zealand is a very lucky country, but also leading the world in resource management of this kind,” says Atkin.

Atkin will be discussing the strength of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and how science has been used to increase its effectiveness in a variety of scenarios across the country, including the Whangamata Bar, Aramoana, Taranaki, and surf breaks in the Greater Wellington region.

The Global Wave Conference will tackle other themes including protecting and managing natural surfing heritage, the threat of marine litter, water pollution and climate change, the importance of ‘blue health’ – human health & wellbeing, and ‘surfonomics’ – the growing impact and importance of the economic value of surfing to coastal communities.

You can find out more about the conference at globalwaveconference.org/.

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eCoast Representation at the 2015 Coasts and Ports Conference

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eCoast was well represented at this year’s Coasts and Ports Conference.  In total the group presented four papers during the technical sessions. The individual papers can be downloaded from the links below.

Jose Borrero: Observations and Modelling of Tsunami Currents at the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand

Tim Haggitt: Makara Estuary Monitoring: Effects-based monitoring within a degraded, yet dynamic, coastal environment

Shaw Mead: Application of Climate Change Adaptation, Resilience, and Beach Management Strategies on Coral Islands

Dougal Greer: Understanding water Quality in Raglan Harbour

The conference was well attended by over 300 delegates from New Zealand, Australia and around the world.

eCoast scientists working to reduce tsunami risk in New Zealand

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(Above) Modelling by eCoast shows how Whangamata could potentially be inundated by a tsunami.

Efforts in tsunami hazard mitigation by eCoast Marine Consulting and Research are in-line with recommendations found in a recent report produced by the New Zealand Earthquake Commission.

Key findings from the EQC-commissioned report ‘Tsunami risk facing New Zealand’ released earlier this month include the need to complete evacuation planning, improve early warning and communication systems and provide better information for decision–makers during tsunami events.

eCoast director and senior consultant Dr Jose Borrero and his team have studied tsunamis for over 20 years and have been working on these issues both in the Waikato region and nationwide for a number of years.

Dr Borrero explains “Our efforts in the Waikato Region include computer modeling of ‘worst-case’ tsunami events for the purposes of evacuation planning. For these studies, we are assuming that a ‘Japan-sized’ earthquake occurs on the large fault line running to the east of New Zealand.”

“This is not fanciful thinking; this kind of earthquake has happened before and could very well happen here. The waves from such an earthquake would reach the Coromandel coast in less than an hour and produce substantial inundation and potential devastation throughout the region,” he adds.

However, eCoast’s studies are not limited to these extreme, yet relatively rare local events. Dr Borrero and eCoast have recently completed a multi-year research project focusing on the more commonly occurring Pacific-wide tsunamis and how they affect New Zealand’s economically vital ports.

Dr Borrero explains that currents caused by a tsunami from across the Pacific can damage or destroy a port without causing any substantial flooding. “This occurred in California after the 2011 Japan tsunami. The Port of Crescent City was destroyed, yet the waters never rose above the high tide mark,” said Dr Borrero.

“Using detailed computer models, we can identify areas within a port or harbour that are particularly vulnerable to tsunami induced currents. We can also determine when these currents will commence and how long they might last – and in most cases, because of the long travel time across the ocean, this can be done before the tsunami arrives on New Zealand shores. This provides ample time for a warning or evacuation order and minimizes the chances of a false alarm.”

Dr Borrero will be presenting some of his findings at the upcoming Coasts and Ports Conference to be held at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland from 16-18 September 2015.

eCoast wins major research grant

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eCoast Marine Consulting and Research has been awarded a major research grant to study New Zealand’s famous surf breaks.

As part of a consortium led by the University of Waikato, funding was awarded from New Zealand’s Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment as part of its 2015 Science Investment programme.

The three-year project entitled ‘Remote Sensing, Classification and Management Guidelines for Surf Breaks of National and Regional Significance’ will gather baseline data on seven of New Zealand’s most iconic surf breaks. This includes remote camera imagery, underwater topography, wind and wave conditions, and detailed user information.

This data will then be used to create detailed descriptions of how the surfbreaks work from both a physical and scientific viewpoint as well as from a social and cultural perspective. Ultimately, the study will support New Zealand’s Coastal Policy Statement, which calls for the protection of New Zealand’s Surfbreaks of National Significance.

eCoast director and University of Waikato PhD candidate Ed Atkin says the project is ground breaking and a world first.

“New Zealand is the only country in the world to recognise in legislation the importance of surf breaks as important social and economic resources that should be protected. Yet there is essentially no baseline quantitative information on which to base any management decisions. This project will change that and serve as a model for others to follow in terms of surf break protection and the protection of recreational resources in general,” Atkin says.

Surf breaks to be studied include Piha Beach near Auckland, Raglan’s famed left hander at Manu Bay, ‘The Bar’ at Whangamata, ‘Pines’ at Gisborne’s Wainui Beach, Lyall Bay in Wellington, and Aramoana and Whareakeake (also known as Murdering Bay) near Dunedin.

eCoast managing director Dr Shaw Mead says each of the surf breaks is either world famous or important to the local community as a recreational resource.

“Several of these breaks have been the subject of contentious debate resulting from developmental pressure. This research will help community members and decision makers to be better informed about what is really important with regards to how surf breaks work,” he adds.

eCoast Marine Consulting and Research is a small, independent marine and freshwater research consultancy based in Raglan on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. As well as being life-long and passionate surfers and ocean enthusiasts, the company’s directors and employees all hold PhDs or other postgraduate qualifications in coastal science, oceanography, engineering, marine biology and mathematics. The group strives to be a world leader in sustainable coastal development and science based decision making in the coastal zone.

 Raglan Manu Bay
Photo: Raglan’s famous left hander at Manu bay is one of seven nationally significant surf breaks to be studied.