The Protect Our Waves (POW) campaign specifically promotes the protection of surf spots, recognising the environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits of surfing resources, and represents the surfing community to government, developers and other coastal stakeholders.
The campaign aims to protect surf spots from unacceptable levels of environmental impact, degradation of surfing wave quality and to advance recreational water users right of access.
British surfing waves are under threat from a growing number of activities around our coastline that could destroy or have long-term devastating impact on some of our most prized surfing beaches. This includes coastal developments, pollution, and restricted access.
Waves are an important and necessary part of the workings of our planet. Surfing beaches and waves also have a deep personal value to surfers and surfing communities around the UK. However, in the UK there is currently no specific legal protection for surfing waves or any assurance that stakeholders, including surfers and surfing communities in Wales, Northern Ireland or England, will be consulted fairly on activities threatening their existence.
Other sports and activities such as walking and sailing are formally recognised, represented and consulted during many new development processes. Other areas of outstanding beauty and countryside sites are also protected. But politicians, developers and the wider public in general have very little knowledge of the value, uniqueness and finite nature of surfing waves taking into account the unique geological and climatic conditions required to produce good quality surfing waves.
Surfing has grown into a well establish sport, culture and an important industry in the UK. However, many still wrongly perceive surfing as an unimportant sub-culture and fail to fully respect surfers or recognise surfers’ concerns, particularly on environmental and resources issues that affect them directly.
Surfers come from all walks of life: lawyers, doctors and businessmen sit in the line up next to tradesmen, students and professional athletes. Good quality surf spots and popular surfing communities help support local economies and have a positive impact on society; natural assets and benefits that need to be further quantified, promoted and protected.