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Santa Cruz to become world's fourth surfing reserve
Natural Bridges © Will Henry


World Surfing Reserves

Much Anticipated Dedication Ceremony to be Held Saturday, April 28th

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 April, 2012 : - - Santa Cruz, California will be officially dedicated as a World Surfing Reserve this Saturday in a series of beachfront celebrations and ceremonies. The heralded Santa Cruz surf zone joins just three other sites to claim such status—Malibu in California, Ericeira in Portugal, and Manly Beach in Australia. The dedication ceremony will officially establish the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve, covering approximately seven miles of surf-rich, environmentally diverse coastline.
Santa Cruz received its approval as a World Surfing Reserve in February 2011. Its application ranked highly on all World Surfing Reserve criteria: wave quality and consistency, unique environmental characteristics, surf culture and history, and community support. More than 23 surf spots dot the region’s coastline, with a handful of iconic locations such as Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point.

The cold-water marine environment not only provides a playground for surfers, but also provides habitat for one of the most robust coastal and marine ecosystems on the planet. Santa Cruz’s importance in the history of surfing is undeniable, as it was the birthplace of surfing on the North American continent and played a pivotal role in the creation and development of the surfing wetsuit, which opened up surfing to new regions around the world.
“I can’t think of a more deserving location than Santa Cruz,” said the city’s most notable icon, Jack O’Neill, who invented the surfing wetsuit so he and his friends could surf the frigid waters of Northern California back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. “It’s got so many amazing surf spots, a wonderful surf community, and it’s just a beautiful stretch of coast. The World Surfing Reserve designation will be a great way to help preserve the area.”
An evening fundraiser celebration will kick off the dedication events on Friday, April 27th at the Cocoanut Grove, which will feature live music, as well as an “Evolution of the Wetsuit” fashion show, among other entertainment. On Saturday April 28th a morning ceremony at Pleasure Point will begin at 10am with a Native American blessing followed by a mass paddle out to celebrate the Reserve and pledge a commitment the conservation of Santa Cruz’s coast and ocean. On Saturday afternoon, a ceremony will be held at Steamer Lane beginning at 1pm, which will include the introduction of the Santa Cruz Local Stewardship Council and Ambassadors, the unveiling of the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve booklet and plaque, and more.
"Surfing is a key part of our culture and lifestyle in Santa Cruz,” said Jim Littlefield, Chair of the Local Stewardship Council, the group that will oversee the Reserve. “We have a long-standing reputation as a place with excellent waves and leading surfers, a vibrant and innovative surf culture, a legally-protected marine environment, and a strong community identity with surfing, all translating into solid community support for the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve."
At the afternoon event, the members of the Local Stewardship Council will sign a plan that has been drafted to guide the management of the newly established Reserve. The plan will include how the group will address coastal threats that may face Santa Cruz, how they will continue to educate others about the tremendous value of surfing resources, and how they will continue and build stewardship for the area.
"The establishment of the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve will formally recognize the close relationship between surfers and the ocean and promote the long-term preservation of our irreplaceable coastline for the benefit of the entire community,” said Hilary Bryant, Vice Mayor of Santa Cruz and Local Stewardship Council member. “It also acknowledges how the sport of surfing, and Santa Cruz's exceptional surf breaks, are of undeniable value to our community's economy."
Tickets for the evening celebration on Friday are available online at All of Saturday’s festivities are free and open to the public. Residents and visitors are cordially invited to attend this historic occasion.
World Surfing Reserves (WSR) proactively identifies, designates, and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments, around the world. WSR is an initiative launched by Save The Waves Coalition in 2009 in conjunction with National Surfing Reserves Australia and other partners.

Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve Dedication Ceremony

April 27th – Evening Fundraiser at the Cocoanut Grove
1:00pm: Begin setup – band and sound, STW table, raffle tables

5:00pm: Fashion Show Run-Through (Ukulele, Hula, Models)

7:00pm: Doors Open – Ukulele ambiance
7:50pm: Dean introduce Wingnut, Wingut to introduce the band (plug raffle, STW member table)
8:00pm: Pleasure Point Brass Band
9:05pm: Jeff to introduce the fashion show (plug raffle, reminder raffle grand prizes: 10:30pm, STW member table), Wingnut to take over fashion show…
9:10pm: Evolution of the Wetsuit Fashion Show
1) Ukulele plays on stage, Hula dancers come in for a brief number
2) Hula dancers head to their spots for the fashion show
3) 10 suits – models
9:30pm: Ginaia welcome the crowd, bring the LSC members/ambassadors on stage to give them gift
9:45pm: Wingnut to introduce Dan P. and the Bricks (plug raffle, reminder raffle grand prizes: 10:30pm, STW member table)
9:50pm: Dan P. and the Bricks
10:30pm: Raffle off top three items (surfboard, O’Neill suit, Hotline suit)
12pm: Show ends

Emcee: Wingnut, Jeff Denholm

April 28th – Dedication Ceremony
10:00am: WSR welcome by Mark Massara, Jim Littlefied, John Leopold (present the plaque/proclamation)
10:10am: Blessing by Patrick Orozco, an Ohlone Indian elder and shaman
10:25am: Song by Ashley Lloyd
10:30am: Conch shell is blown, paddle out at the Point

1pm – 2pm: Official Dedication Ceremony at Steamer Lane
Ceremony to include (order TBD):
• Introduction of the LSC and the Ambassadors
• Presentation of the City of Santa Cruz’s WSR Proclamation(s)
• Presentation of the WSR Santa Cruz Booklet
• Unveiling of the WSR Plaque
• Honoring of individuals who have made contributions to Santa Cruz coastal protection and surf history and culture
• Signing of the Stewardship Plan by the LSC Members
• Kim Stoner’s presentation of the 3 Princes
MC: Geoff Dunn

2pm – 3pm: Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve Fair
• Local organizations/community groups with informational tables (which will be set up before 1pm ceremony begins)
• SC Surf Club Preservation Society to have historical surfboards, wetsuits, etc. on display

April 29th – Special Afternoon Tour of the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve
3:30pm – 5:30pm: Special thank you tour of the SC WSR on the Chardonnay for donors, LSC members, and WSR Ambassadors

2:58 AM PDT   4.1 feet  High Tide
6:15 AM PDT   Sunrise
10:40 AM PDT   0.2 feet  Low Tide
6:08 PM PDT   3.5 feet  High Tide
7:54 PM PDT   Sunset

Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve Information Q&A

What is the mission of WSR?
World Surfing Reserves proactively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments around the world.

The program serves as a global model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing the positive environmental, cultural, economic and community benefits of surfing areas.

Why do surfing areas need to be designated as Surfing Reserves?
Natural surf breaks are important public recreational resources. Unspoiled surf spots everywhere are unique, rare legacy lands, and waters important for their ecosystem services, recreational, aesthetic, educational, and economic values.

On a global scale, surf breaks have been destroyed by coastal development and threatened by water quality issues or closure of beach access. In California alone, several surf spots have been destroyed along the coastline, including Killer Dana’s and Corona del Mar in Orange County and Stanely’s in Ventura County.

Through World Surfing Reserves (WSR), we are proactively working to prevent this from happening to the most amazing surfing areas on the globe.

What does a World Surfing Reserve status mean?
WSR status adds an additional layer of protection to Santa Cruz’s surfing resources. Designation as a World Surfing Reserve means that an area has been formally recognized by a worldwide group of experts, the World Surfing Reserve Vision Council, as a globally significant surfing ecosystem. Once approved, the local community makes a long-term commitment to protect the area’s coastal and marine resources and creates a Local Stewardship Plan that outlines exactly how this commitment will be carried out.

Does a World Surfing Reserve mean that certain activities are prohibited?
World Surfing Reserves focuses specifically on preventing anything that may be harmful to an area’s surf spots and the surrounding environment. This may include threats such as coastal development, water pollution, and closure of beach access.

Where did the concept of surfing reserves come from?
Surfing reserves can be traced back to the 1973 when the Victorian government in Australia officially gazetted Bells Beach. That was followed by 32 years of no other reserves until National Surfing Reserves Australia (NSR) was formed in 2005, which was a pioneering program that created a blueprint for surfing reserves in Australia.

In 2009, Save The Waves Coalition partnered with NSR Australia and the International Surfing Association (ISA) to launch World Surfing Reserves, with the goal of adding layers of protection to world’s most iconic surf breaks and educating people about the tremendous value of these special places.

Are there more than one type of surfing reserve?
Reserves can either designate an individual “wave break,” which includes just one surf spot, or can designate a “surf zone,” which includes multiple waves along the coast. The two types of Reserves are essentially managed in the same way.

What surf spots globally and in California are now World Surfing Reserves?
Currently, three World Surfing Reserves have been officially dedicated including Malibu in California, Ericeira in Portugal, and Manly Beach in Australia. Santa Cruz was approved in February 2011, and this ceremony officially dedicates it as the fourth World Surfing Reserve.

What is the process for evaluating and then designating a World Surfing Reserve?
Communities interested in designating their local break or breaks as a World Surfing Reserve will first submit a brief Letter of Inquiry (LOI) to World Surfing Reserves. If the LOI meets the minimum criteria, then communities are invited to submit a full application to World Surfing Reserves.

The WSR Vision Council, which is a global group of thought leaders from the surfing, environmental, scientific, media and business communities, then votes on whether or not the application is approved.

The application is evaluated by four criteria: 1) quality and consistency of the wave or surf zone; 2) unique environmental characteristics of the area; 3) surf and ocean culture and history of the area; and 4) local community support.

Is the key criteria having a local stakeholder/stewardship group?
Local community support for establishing a World Surfing Reserve is one of the main criteria for approval. Applicants must show broad support from local businesses, community groups, nonprofits, governmental agencies, etc.

Once a World Surfing Reserve has been approved, a Local Stewardship Council, a group of seven members from the local community, is created and oversees the management of the Reserve.

World Surfing Reserves is very much a grassroots effort dependent on support at the local level.

How does the WSR status help to reduce a threat or enhance a surf spot's conservation status?
We see the WSR designation as a starting point rather than the finish line.

We are planting the seeds of surf spot protection in the four WSR sites, and Local Stewardship Councils have been established for each site. These members serve as the guardians of the Reserve. These councils are identifying the needs for increased protection, which may include more stewardship, policymaking, better coastal planning, etc.

WSR is essentially creating community around the protection of valuable surfing resources and increasing the number of tools available. Even locations that have significant legal protection can come under threat, but the more tools, resources, and people you have, the better chance you will have of defeating that threat. As the late Peter Douglas said, “The coast is never saved. It’s always being saved.” The same goes for waves.

Why Santa Cruz?
Santa Cruz coastline is a cold-water dreamland for surfing along a breathtaking coastline that boasts one of the most robust coastal and marine ecosystems on the planet. The region is characterized by a unique surf culture with a deep-rooted history of surfing including credit as the birthplace of surfing in North America.

At least 23 consistent surf breaks are sited along this coast, including the world-class breaks of Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. Most are reef breaks or beach breaks with a few outstanding point breaks, and almost all naturally break right within this zone. The breaks range from “expert” to “beginner” and are used by surfers throughout the year.

Where is the Reserve located in Santa Cruz?
The Reserve stretches approximately 7 miles from Natural Bridges State Park in the City of Santa Cruz on the west end eastward along the city and county coast to the Opal Cliffs, just east of Pleasure Point. It extends from the mean high tide line out 500 meters.

What are the special environmental characteristics of Santa Cruz?
Santa Cruz is home to one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, including hundreds of species of marine mammals, seabirds, fish, invertebrates and plants.

The Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve lies within the coastal waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is a federally protected area larger that Yellowstone National Park.

Santa Cruz’s coast and ocean has many types of habitat such rocky reefs, kelp forests, sandy beaches, submarine canyons, and estuaries provide, which provide the foundation for its robust coastal and marine ecosystem.

The cold, nutrient-rich waters of Santa Cruz provide sustenance for many invertebrates and fish, a key food source for whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and sea otters. Numerous species of sharks also inhabit the region, including blue, mako, and whites reaching more than 20 feet in length.

A total of seven species of whales are found in local coastal waters, including gray, blue, humpback, and killer whales. Santa Cruz’s coast and ocean is considered by many to be the "Serengeti of the Sea."

What’s special about Santa Cruz for the evolution of surfing?
Santa Cruz proudly claims itself the location of the very first board surfing ever in North America, at the “Rivermouth” break in 1885. When three Hawaiian princes had surfboards milled out of local redwood and demonstrated board wave riding for the first time, Santa Cruz was immediately established forever as the birthplace of surfing on the continent.

Santa Cruz played a pivotal role in the development of cold-water surfing with Jack O’Neill’s and others’ contributions to the wetsuit and surf leash.


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Source: Save the Waves

Author: Dean LaTourrette

Tags: Save The Waves, Environment, Santa Cruz, World Surfing Reserves

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