Promoting a Protected Surf Ecosystem Through the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve

August 25, 2023

The Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserves (WSR) is a model program for preserving surf breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting key environmental, cultural and economic attributes in partnership. There are currently 12 World Surfing Reserves in the world, including Santa Cruz.

World Surfing Reserves is the flagship program of local nonprofit, Save The Waves. Save the Waves aims to achieve the program's mission by working collaboratively with local coalition partners and the WSR Local Stewardship Council (LSC) including Santa Cruz City staff Tony Elliott, Director of Parks & Recreation, and Tiffany Wise-West, Sustainability and Climate Action Manager. In the past 11 years with the help from the City of Santa Cruz, the WSR has helped Cowell’s Beach achieve a 50% reduction in bacteria year over year for six years. This is a major turnaround as Cowell's Beach used to rank at the top of Heal The Bay’s ‘Beach Bummer List’ and now it's off the list entirely.

Recently the Save the Waves has entered into an agreement with the Economic Development Department to promote the surf ecosystem with regards to visitation, support for community events like the O'Neill Cold Water Classic, and evaluating the economic impact of the surf ecosystem in Santa Cruz. Save the Waves plans to implement a surf economic valuation study for the City of Santa Cruz in conjunction with the Ocean Protection Council as well production of additional videos to promote the waves and surf culture in Santa Cruz.

The Surf Ecosystem of The Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve

Protecting the best natural beauty that the City of Santa Cruz has to offer with the Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve. Produced by Swan Dive Media.

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