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Surfbreak Protection Society - New Zealanders get voice


Surfbreak Protection Society : photo Surfing New Zealand

Environment News

Surfers in New Zealand Now Have a New Collective Voice With the Surfbreak Protection Society

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 September, 2006 : - -  Surfers in New Zealand now have a new collective voice. It's called the Surfbreak Protection Society. The name, formalised at an inaugural annual general meeting held concurrently in Auckland and Wellington, means exactly what it says. That is, preservation of New Zealand's surf breaks at risk from coastal development, sewage and stormwater outlets, sand mining, access restrictions and more.

The society, led by president and Green Ribbon award winner Paul Shanks of Whangamata, is open to all surfers and those concerned about impacts on the coastal environment. It will work collaboratively with other conservation groups and surfing community representatives.

"I think this group will grow quite quickly," Mr Shanks told the annual meeting. He said the Surfbreak Protection Society will send a strong message to various bodies such as councils and government about access, water quality, marine life, ecosystems and other related issues at surf breaks.

A surf break register is proposed, along with an economic study of surfers' contribution to popular surfing areas. New Zealand probably has about 200,000 or more people who surf regularly, making a significant contribution to the economy, committee member Trevor Johnston told the meeting. Surfing also promotes health and fitness, cultural and spiritual values, he said in presenting a vision for the society.

Surfers cannot assume access rights and other things they enjoy now will exist in future, Mr Johnston said. "We need to have a conservation and advocacy group which protects these assets." Elected officers and a committee of seven will now seek the society's incorporation and help establish policies. Membership is invited, with the annual fee $15 a person. Variable forms of membership will be considered later.

Meeting chairman Winston Pond said there was no doubt the Surfbreak Protection Society would be an important group, representing those who enjoy surfing and speaking on their behalf in a way few could.

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Ben Kennings

Environment - Surfersvillage


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