Today Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) campaigners and supporters visited The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh. The campaigners were in the water calling for Surfing Reserves outside Holyrood holding aloft their 9ft surfboard emblazoned with the Saltire (the Scottish Flag), and were joined by Green MSP Robin Harper.
SAS are calling for the Scottish Government to help protect Scottish waves and include Surfing Reserves in the Marine Bill. The Surfing Reserves initiative will go before the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament to be debated tomorrow, 25th of November.
SAS are calling for support on Surfing Reserves to be included in the Scottish Marine Bill. Surfing Reserves could be integrated into sustainable development practices managed alongside the environmental, societal and economic fabric of local communities.
What is a Surf Reserve?
A Surf Reserve would be a dedicated area that is protected for use by the general public and surfing community. The Surfing Reserve initiative would recognise sites and ensures that they remain protected for generations to come.
Surfing Reserves could integrate and promote the following key principles into their management:
• Conserving and enhancing natural and cultural heritage
• Promoting sustainable use of natural resources
• Promoting understanding and enjoyment of the environment through recreation
• Promoting sustainable social and economic development of local communities.
Surfing Reserves present Scotland with a fantastic opportunity to become the first country outside Australia to adopt Surfing Reserves into legislation. Surfing Scotland’s great waves dates as far back as 1968. By the beginning of the 80s Scotland had well-established surfing communities on all coasts, the Scottish Surfing Federation, national championships and the Scottish team competing internationally. Scotland’s reputation for world-class waves was cemented on the international stage when Thurso, on the North coast of Scotland, was successfully chosen as the venue for 1981 European Surfing Championships.
In those early days, rudimentary wetsuits made surfing in Scotland the very definition of an extreme sport! Great advances in wetsuit technology means surfers can now enjoy Scottish waves for hours on end, even in the darkest depths of winter. And Scotland’s excellent calibre of waves means that it’s still an extreme sport.
Since 2004, Thurso has hosted the Association of Surfing Professional World Qualifying Series 6 Star competition. Hundreds of the world’s best surfers come to Scotland to surf for a prize purse of USD$ 145,000.
The Crown Estate are rightly steering the offshore renewable industry to Scotland as there is an abundance of offshore energy that can help Scotland, and the UK reduce our carbon emission and help secure future energy demands. SAS has consistently supported offshore renewable energy and will continue to do so. However, overzealous offshore and near shore developments have the potential to have a detrimental impact on Scotland’s select world-class surf spots.
SAS fully support Scotland’s strong commitments to sustainable development and ambitious carbon reduction targets. The Scottish coast is important to a myriad of stakeholders. And the Marine Bill gives you the unique opportunity to ensure that all these stakeholders are represented and protected. Your support for Surfing Reserves will ensure Scottish surfers are offered this protection. As surfing is often used by the media, it can help promote Scotland as world leaders in protecting and managing the marine environment.
SAS Campaign Manager, Andy Cummins says: “Adopting SAS’s Surfing Reserves initiative within the Scottish Marine Bill offers a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to position itself as a world leader in protecting and managing the marine environment. Surfing Reserves can cement Scotland’s world class waves and environmental policies on a global stage.”
SAS’s Scotland Rep, Alasdiar Steele say: “Lots of stakeholders are laying claim to the coast and I’m stoked surfers are having a sensible voice in the Marine Bill. Conserving our great waves and promoting sustainable development will protect our Scottish waves for generations to come.”