Stab Magazine | How To Buy (And Protect) A Surf Spot

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How To Buy (And Protect) A Surf Spot

Punta Lobos and Noosa named World Surfing Reserves, where’s next?

news // Nov 24, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The world needs more surfing reserves. Plain and simple, if more of our favorite wave-riding haunts were recognized and preserved for what they are, the planet might be a better place. 

Stepping in the right direction, last week Punta de Lobos in Chile was officially designated a World Surfing Reserve, and by no simple twist of fate, it was announced that glorious Noosa was next in line. That brings the total to ten World Surfing Reserves around the planet. A splendid start. Let’s do more.

At what was described as an “intimate ceremony” at Punta Lobos, Ramon Navarro was joined by Jack and Kim Johnson, Greg Long, Kohl Christensen, Otto Flores and Kyle Thiermann, as well as the hearty local crew (who have to be stoked beyond belief).  
The Punta Lobos effort is important not just because another surf spot was protected, but it’s also a shining example of what can happen when some inspired surfers rally. Three-quarters of a million dollars were raised via over 900 small donations, as well as the support of Patagonia, the Marisla Foundation, the Packard Foundation and the Waitt Foundation. 

“Today is a huge leap forward for the protection of Punta de Lobos, and the conservation of our coastlines in Chile,” said Navarro, who’s been one of the people fronting the movement. 

The initiative began in earnest in 2015 after the release of Chris Malloy’s film “The Fisherman’s Son,” which details the life and big-wave riding times of Navarro. Save The Waves and Patagonia launched the “Lobos Por Siempre” campaign shortly thereafter with the hopes of raising enough money to purchase the 4.5-acre Mirador Property at Punta Lobos. Previously, the tip of Punta de Lobos had been purchased by a Chilean Philanthropist named Nico Davis, who agreed he would only sell the property when the funds had been acquired. And now they have. And now Punta Lobos is going to be a world-class surf spot for generations to enjoy without the threat of some donkey developer building a hotel right on the sand.  

“There were a lot of peaks and valleys, but we are incredibly proud to be able to achieve this first important conservation milestone and officially add Punta de Lobos to the World Surfing Reserve roster,” said Nik Strong-Cvetich, Executive Director of Save The Waves. “It’s fitting that we announce Noosa as the next and 10th WSR from such an iconic place.”

Noosa’s a perfect example of a surf spot that should be a World Surfing Reserve. Idyllic, iconic, beautiful and pristine, as surfers, why wouldn’t we want to make sure that a place like Noosa remains unspoiled for decades to come? Obviously, there was some big-donor money infused into the Punta Lobos campaign, but the fact that over 900 small donations were made to help preserve a spot that most of us have never surfed, that says a lot about surfers’ power when they even loosely organize. Why wouldn’t you throw in five or ten bucks in the kitty to keep Noosa Noosa. 

“It is a crowning achievement for Noosa, and our congratulations to our friends in Chile,” said Phil Jarratt, legendary surf journalist and WSR Noosa President.

Ten World Surfing Reserves is epic. 20 would be even cooler. Shit, why not collectively keep buying surf spots and barring the developers from doing their dirty deeds? Surf spots are a finite resource, and unless you’re Kelly Slater, we don’t get to make more of them when we’ve ruined the killer ones we already have. When they’re gone they’re gone and we’ll lament “the good old days.” But hot damn if this isn’t the modern era, crowd funding’s a thing. Punta Lobos and Noosa are proof of that.

Where’s next?


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