CSR Sponsors Research into World Surfing Reserves

I became interested in how the surf community has organized to protect waves and the coastal environment

MA Student Kelly Salamone is shipping off to study World Surfing Reserves this summer.

The health of the world’s oceans is a concern for many communities. Governments, organizations and communities are working together to minimize the effects of pollution, overfishing, rising sea level, and acidification. One such organization that is concerned with the conservation of global surf breaks is the Save the Waves Coalition. One of their primary programs is World Surfing Reserves (WSR), which focuses on preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting the key environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas. This new approach to protecting marine common pool resources relies on the collaboration of an international NGO, the international surfing community and local surfing communities.

The WSRs program was first brought to my attention while completing my undergraduate work at San Diego State University. I became interested in how the surf community has organized to protect waves and the coastal environment, and I wondered what research has been completed on WSRs. Although WSRs are increasingly being implemented worldwide, little empirical data has been gathered on the structure of WSR programs, how local communities and other organizations participate in WSR management, or the effectiveness of WSRs established to date. As I began my graduate work at San Diego State University, I chose to examine the WSR program for my master’s thesis. The purpose of my research is to (1) examine how WSRs compare to other systems for coastal and marine management and (2) conduct an in-depth examination of three WSR sites (Malibu, Santa Cruz, and Huanchaco) in order to better understand the program and management structure in each of these sites, what factors contribute to the different outcomes in each location, and what factors influence each WSR’s ability to achieve its stated goals.

I am grateful for the financial assistance provided through the Center for Surf Research Scholarship. The scholarship will help support the cost of my fieldwork this summer as I have three locations to investigate. The Center for Surf Research’s assistance has made it possible for me to conduct a comparative study between multiple locations, as well as support fieldwork in an international location. I look forward to the next year of research and hope to update the Center for Surf Research community again soon with the results of my research.

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