North Devon named 12th world surf reserve

Putsburough, one of many amazing areas in North Devon. Photo: Rob Tibbles/Saving the Waves

Last month, North Devon has been added to the list of beaches designated as World Surfing Reserves. The designation “recognizes and celebrates the region’s exceptional quality surf beaches and unites the local community and experts in actions to protect them”.

North Devon is now part of a very exclusive club. It is only the twelfth reserve, the others being Malibu and Santa Cruz in California, Ericeira in Portugal, the Gold Coast, Manly and Noosa in Australia, Punta de Lobos in Chile, Huanchaco in Peru, Guarda do Embaú in Brazil, and Bahía de Todos Santos in Mexico.

North Devon is a beautiful place with incredible waves. The natural beauty is almost unparalleled and the surf culture is deeply rooted here and important to the surrounding community – all of which are staples of a world surf reserve.

“We are delighted to welcome North Devon as a global surf reserve alongside other iconic protected surfing locations around the world,” said Nik Strong-Cvetich, CEO of Save The Waves. “We hope this designation will help give surfers a greater voice in decisions that will impact North Devon’s beautiful coastline and protect such a diverse wave range.”

Save the Waves launched the World Surfing Reserves program in 2009. Since then, the coalition has worked tirelessly to protect areas deemed worthy of protection. Save the Waves is an international non-profit organization that, as its name suggests, focuses on saving waves and the areas around them.

“Our main aim is to look after the quality of the waves themselves and to preserve the ecosystems that produce them,” Adam Hall, a local surfer and co-founder of the Surfing Reserve in North Devon, told Save the Waves. “Surf breaks should be celebrated, recognized and protected in the same way we protect and recognize beautiful national parks like Exmoor.”

North Devon is a bit obvious for the World Surf Reserve designation. Stretching nearly 20 miles, it includes waves like Croyde, Saunton, Woolacombe and Lynmouth. It has vast sandy beaches and abounds with a wide variety, from gentle longboard waves to powerful waves more suitable for shortboarders.

The variety of waves in North Devon is high density

The variety of waves in North Devon is certainly a redeeming quality of the location. Photo: Rob Tibbles/Saving the Waves

Once a site is established as a World Surfing Reserve, a group called the Stewardship Council is tasked with developing an action plan to improve the conservation of the area. It’s not just about saving the waves themselves. This is to protect the entire coastline.

“In North Devon,” Save the Waves explained, “the group includes local organizations such as the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere and Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), environmental groups like Surfers Against Sewage, local community groups, surf clubs, local beach businesses and landowners all come together to work towards agreed goals and shared ideals.

If all goes to plan, the group’s plan will protect North Devon from coastal development, water pollution, coastal access issues and, on a larger scale, climate change. It is the UK’s number one world surf reserve and Europe’s second, and surprisingly is the first classified as a ‘cold water reserve’.

“It is the organisers’ intention,” Save the Waves continued, “that the successful implementation of this model in North Devon can be replicated by other UK coastal areas to protect their own waves. and beaches, and eventually gaining surf reserve status, too.”

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