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This week Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is launching Global Wave Wednesday, a new campaign action uniting surfers from around the globe in the call to protect UK waves from pollution, marine litter and over-development. SAS is calling on surfers, environmentalists and ocean lovers to join them and the coalition of wave and ocean protections organisations on Wednesday, 15th May, for this global day of action to protect our waves.

Global Wave Wednesday will be the first time the global wave protection community has joined forces to highlight calls to protect natural surfing resources. A broad & diverse range of organisations are supporting Global Wave Wednesday, covering almost every coastline in the world. The supporting partners include the world’s biggest surfing NGOs, grass roots environmental organisations, leading oceanographers, and surfing federations.

Global Wave Wednesday partners will be helping secure 100,000 signatures for the Protect Our Waves petition, which calls on the UK parliament to debate the value of surfing waves and locations, and legislation in order to recognise the importance of waves as a cultural, social, economic and environmental asset to coastal communities. Peru, New Zealand and Australia already have legislation that protects surf spots and the sport of surfing, and SAS hopes to deliver the same level of recognition and protection for the UK.

Surf protection groups supporting SAS’s POW petition on Global Wave Wednesday include:

• Surfrider Foundation (USA & Hawaii)
• Surfrider Foundation Europe (France, Spain, Holland, Germany, Italy)
• Save The Waves Coalition (International)
• National Surfing Reserves (Australia)
• WiLDCOAST (Mexico)
• Salvem o Surf (Portugal)
• Surfers’ Environmental Alliance (USA)
• World Surfing Reserves (International)
• Surfbreak Protection Society (New Zealand)
• LiVBLUE (USA & Mexico)
• Ocean Revolution (USA & Mexico)
• SurfEns (Mexico)
• DGCostera (Peru)

There are an estimated 23 million surfers worldwide* and the combined supporter base of Global Wave Wednesday partners exceeds 500,000. Surfers are passionate about protecting waves from inappropriate coastal developments and pollution and to ensure they have sustainable access to their waves.

SAS Campaign Director Andy Cummins says: “It’s great to have surfers from all over globe standing up to protect UK waves as part of Global Wave Wednesday! Surfers are part of a global community, often travelling to experience new waves in new countries. We believe that UK surfers deserve to enjoy clean waves and we want to be able to promote the UK as a clean wave destination.”

Surfrider Foundation (USA) Environment Director Chad Nelsen says: “Global Wave Wednesday is a great first step in unifying the world’s surf protection organisations and the Surfrider Foundation is proud to be supporting the Protect Our Waves petition today. Surfing is a truly global sport and we travel the world in search of clean, healthy and exciting waves so we have a vested interest in supporting wave protection in the UK and around the world.”

Executive Director, DGCostera Carlo Grigolletto says: “Peru has a rich heritage and culture of surfing and we are lucky to already have laws that recognise and protect our unique and world-renowned surf spots. Peruvian surfers are stoked to be part of Global Wave Wednesday supporting calls for UK waves to be protected in a similar way, for everyone, for now and for ever.

Freshwater POW under threat

Surfing was first introduced to the UK in 1890 in Bridlington (North Yorkshire) by two visiting Hawaiian princes*. Since then the UK has established itself as a genuine surfing location. There are world class waves in every corner of the UK and numerous UK beaches have a rich history of hosting international competitions. Surfers in the UK spend an average of 8.5% more than the other coastal tourists*. Surfing supports coastal economies outside the traditional tourist season, as the waves are generally best in spring, autumn and winter. However, some of the UK’s best waves are under threat:

North Cornish Coast: Several of the best Cornish surfing beaches, including St Ives Bay & Perranporth are under threat from a dredging proposal. The dredging proposal could result in negative impacts on important coastal processes, reanimating pollutants and enforced restricts on using the sea for all water users. SAS are engaged in the Environmental Impact Assessment process and have raised significant concerns within the scoping report.

Broad Bench, South Coast: One of the best waves in the UK, known as Broad Bench, is found on the outer limited of the Lulworth MoD firing range. Currently the wave can be off limits to surfers for up to 228 days a year, including the best seasons for waves at Broad Bench. SAS are working together with the local surf community and the MoD to try and find solution that can allow the MoD full access to their firing range and increase the access surfers can have at Broad Bench.

Saltburn, North East Coast: Saltburn has a thriving surfing community but yet the water quality is failing European standards that are so inadequate they are in the process of being superseded by more stringent standards. The water quality at Saltburn and other beaches around the UK failing these standards is of extra concern to surfers as we immerse and ingest more than the average bather. Health risks associated with bathing in sewage polluted waters include: ear, nose & throat infections, gastro enteritis, Hep A, Ecoli etc.

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