The Protecting Waves issue.
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.
Solid structures & commercial activities
Solid concrete structures sticking out of the coast into the sea represent the most common method by which surfing waves are destroyed, and the most permanent. If somebody builds a large concrete breakwater or sea wall, which destroys a surf spot in the process, that surf spot is gone forever.
Dredging a river mouth to make the water deeper for boat access or for extraction of minerals is also a way of destroying or degrading good surfing waves. Although this method isn’t always permanent and doesn’t actually involve building a solid structure, it does physically alter part of a natural system.
Contaminating the water alters the waves chemically, but not physically – so you might still be able to see them breaking perfectly, but you can’t get in the water to surf them. Pollutants that people put into the sea include things like lead, mercury, zinc, pesticides, fertilisers, hydrocarbons, nuclear waste and, of course, sewage.
Non-polluting contamination – litter
Another type of contamination which is not always hazardous to our health, but which definitely tends to make our beach and surfing experience extremely unpleasant, is unnatural objects abandoned by people in the marine environment. In other words, litter. Most of these things are simply unsightly; but some of them, such as syringes and broken glass, can be very dangerous.
The last example of how surfing waves can be taken away from us is when we are simply denied access to them. In this case, the waves themselves might remain undamaged, but somebody decides that the public is not allowed to surf them. In most cases, this is because the area of coast and adjacent ocean containing the waves has been claimed by somebody as their private territory.