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sas1-openerHey everyone, this is SAS’s inaugural contribution to the surf/environmental blogsphere that is Drift, and we’re very much looking forward to sharing all our latest news, campaigns and more with you as the months roll by.

2010 is a bit of a landmark for SAS – it’s our 20th anniversary, and we’re planning on celebrating this in all sorts of ways throughout the year. More importantly, we’re going to use this opportunity to raise the profile of our campaigns right around the country, and create even more momentum to protect our beaches, oceans, waterways and waves.

Last year saw the launch of what is probably the biggest change in SAS campaigns since our inception way back in 1990. The new Protect Our Waves campaign introduced a division dedicated to protecting and accessing the resource for which we all share a passion – waves.

This is a significant move, and one that reflects the increasing need for waves to be recognised as an important recreational resource, something enjoyed by a growing of people every year.

Safeguarding the health of recreational water users was very much the central foundation of SAS, and for many years it has worked to protect the health of surfers, bodyboarders, windsurfers and all manner of enthusiasts who take to the UK’s waters in the name of sport and entertainment.

Subsequently, SAS has diversified, extending its campaigns to protect the environments we all enjoy as well as the individuals from a variety of threats, from shipping and marine litter to climate change and toxic chemicals.

Each of the phases has won significant victories along the way, helping make our experiences in the water more enjoyable, safer and more sustainable than ever before. But there’s still a massive amount of work to do to ensure the UK’s coastline is cleaned up and protected to the extent it deserves.

The Protect Our Waves campaign offers a new force representing waveriders rights. It is dealing with access issues, coastal development concerns and specific pollution threats posed to popular surfing spots. The launch at Kimmeridge Bay saw hundreds of surfers, windsurfers, kayakers, bodyboarders and other water users congregate to express their frustration over the limited access they currently have to Broad Bench, one of the UK’s finest south coast waves.

It’s thanks to our members and supporters that we can continue to roll out innovative, effective and exciting campaign initiatives protecting surfers and all other wave riders and water users around the UK. We’re always aiming to increase the opportunities for our members to get directly involved, whether by joining us on the campaign trail, helping out at beach cleans and awareness events, or supporting the campaign through exciting fundraising opportunities. So remember to renew your membership and get involved to ensure we can achieve the following and much more for our beautiful coastal environment and precious waves. We’re doing loads this year, including…

• Preventing water companies from turning off full UV treatment of sewage discharges in the winter months, just when the best waves hit our shores and you want to hit the sea!
• Pressing for greater regulation of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to protect surfers and all recreational water users from harmful pathogens such as Hepatitis A and E-coli 0157, which can be associated with these all-too-frequent discharges.
• Developing the Protect Our Waves campaign, calling for greater recognition and protection of the UK’s finite surf resources and associated beaches.
• Continuing our campaign against the growing problem of marine litter by pressuring industry and government to address the issue centrally.
• Increasing the number of SAS regional reps and local activities for you to get involved with.
• Nationwide beach clean and education tours – there are more coming to an area near you this year, so please do come along and get involved.

Finally, there have been growing calls for us to bring back the SAS Ball and, should we do so, as a member, you’ll be first to hear about it and get priority tickets. We’re keeping an eye on the Facebook fanpage, and if the number of fans is anything to go by, we’ll have no choice but to bring it back!

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