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sas2Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are calling for the Scottish Government to help protect Scottish waves and include Surfing Reserves in the Marine Bill. The Surfing Reserves initiative will go before the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament to be debated on 25th of November.

PHOTO CALL: At 10am at The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP. SAS campaigners and supporters will be in the water outside Holyrood holding aloft their 9ft surfboard emblazoned with the Saltire (the Scottish Flag). They will be joined by Green MSPs Robin Harper and Patrick Harvey.

SAS are calling for your support on Surfing Reserves to be included in the Scottish Marine Bill. Surfing Reserves could be integrated into sustainable development practices managed alongside the environmental, societal and economic fabric of local communities.

What is a Surf Reserve?
A Surf Reserve would be a dedicated area that is protected for use by the general public and surfing community. The Surfing Reserve initiative would recognise sites and ensures that they remain protected for generations to come.

Surfing Reserves could integrate and promote the following key principles into their management:
· Conserving and enhancing natural and cultural heritage · Promoting sustainable use of natural resources · Promoting understanding and enjoyment of the environment through recreation · Promoting sustainable social and economic development of local communities.

Surfing Reserves present Scotland with a fantastic opportunity to become the first country outside Australia to adopt Surfing Reserves into legislation. Surfing Scotland’s great waves dates as far back as 1968.

By the beginning of the 80s Scotland had well-established surfing communities on all coasts, the Scottish Surfing Federation, national championships and the Scottish team competing internationally.

Scotland’s reputation for world-class waves was cemented on the international stage when Thurso, on the North coast of Scotland, was successfully chosen as the venue for 1981 European Surfing Championships.

In those early days, rudimentary wetsuits made surfing in Scotland the very definition of an extreme sport! Great advances in wetsuit technology means surfers can now enjoy Scottish waves for hours on end, even in the darkest depths of winter. And Scotland’s excellent calibre of waves means that it’s still an extreme sport.

Since 2004, Thurso has hosted the Association of Surfing Professional World Qualifying Series 6 Star competition. Hundreds of the world’s best surfers come to Scotland to surf for a prize purse of USD$ 145,000.

The Crown Estate are rightly steering the offshore renewable industry to Scotland as there is an abundance of offshore energy that can help Scotland, and the UK reduce our carbon emission and help secure future energy demands. SAS has consistently supported offshore renewable energy and will continue to do so. However, overzealous offshore and near shore developments have the potential to have a detrimental impact on Scotland’s select world-class surf spots.

SAS fully support Scotland’s strong commitments to sustainable development and ambitious carbon reduction targets. The Scottish coast is important to a myriad of stakeholders. And the Marine Bill gives you the unique opportunity to ensure that all these stakeholders are represented and protected. Your support for Surfing Reserves will ensure Scottish surfers are offered this protection. As surfing is often used by the media, it can help promote Scotland as world leaders in protecting and managing the marine environment.

SAS Campaign Manager, Andy Cummins says: “Adopting SAS’s Surfing Reserves initiative within the Scottish Marine Bill offers a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to position itself as a world leader in protecting and managing the marine environment. Surfing Reserves can cement Scotland’s world class waves and environmental policies on a global stage.”

SAS’s Scotland Rep, Alasdiar Steele say: “Lots of stakeholders are laying claim to the coast and I’m stoked surfers are having a sensible voice in the Marine Bill. Conserving our great waves and promoting sustainable development will protect our Scottish waves for generations to come.”

Photo: (O’Neill)

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  • Duncan

    Feel slightly miffed that SAS are taking the credit for the idea of making Thurso east a world surf reserve and it being an ammedment to the Scottish Marine Bill. I’ve been on this since April when it occured to me after a trip to Oz and seeing their world surf reserves. My article has been sent around all the mags and I’m sure that’s where SAS have picked it up from. I just wished they’d contacted me first… this was my baby.

  • Griff

    Come on Duncan, chill out. What does it matter who takes such an initiative forward? so long as government listen and take positive action.

    SAS have years of experience of lobbying and pressurising these folk so lets let them do what they do best.

    And, no I’m not an avid member of SAS but I once was in the early days…my membership number was 858 but I let my membership lapse thinking that the organisation was too south west in its efforts. So mayby I should re-apply. Maybe you should….Maybe we all should!

    We’ll all benefit from a surf reserve, and so will my kids and hopefully their kids too.

  • Chris

    Don’t want to knock the good work that’s being done but as a SAS member I’ve read about the last couple of Scottish SAS campaigns (Pease Bay water treatment and this) after the event and I’m sure along with me there are a lot of others willing to be involved if we knew the campaigns were happening.

    Great idea though, let’s make the best use of our natural assets.

  • Duncan

    You are absolutely right Griff I couldn’t agreee more. I’m delighted that someone is making things happen where I failed.

  • Griff

    Ok fellas, I hope that SAS pick up on these comments and become more proactive in their campaigning, pre-event info & publicity, cos I like you I only ever find out about these things after they’ve happened. Thats one of the reasons I fell off the SAS wagon in the first place.

    So SAS lets have more info sooner. If you are ther to represent the ordinary guy or gal in the water whatever their choice of water craft help us to help you help us!!

    We are out here offering support, lots of folk with lots of skills. I’m sure we all want clean water and unthreatened quality breaks to surf, so convince that we surfers are an asset in moving these issues forward and its not just our cash you want in exchange for a news letter & a Tshirt.

  • Hi Griff – many thanks for your comments, which are very helpful and informative. We’re doing a considerable amount of of pre-publicity on our campaigns to give members and supporters the opportunity to get involved, and will be building on this as time goes on. We regularly post calls for campaign activity assistance via our social networking presence (Facebook & Twitter), website and weekly email out. In the last 4 weeks, areas that we’ve asked for help & support from members, supporters and the wider community include:

    Belfast campaign action on the Love Your Beach campaign
    North Devon beach clean action at Saunton Sands
    Surf Reserves action in Scotland
    Climate change demo ‘The Wave’ in London

    It would of course be great to get even more of you involved with these and take you up on the offer of different skill sets. We by no means just want your membership subscriptions; your active involvement is critical to the success of our ongoing campaigns for all surfers, wave riders and water users.

    Our website has weekly updates on activity, where you can also sign up for our weekly e-newsletter. Facebook has been an area where lots of new supporters have got involved with campaign actions so, please do become a fan of the page to get more involved.

    Also, our network of regional reps around the country are delivering more and more actions so please do get in touch with them directly. Their details can all be found on our website.

    Generally, we try and promote actions and activities as best and as far in advance as possible, but sometimes we’ll fail to reach as many people as we’d like to. Our membership and supporters are the life blood of the campaign, and getting and keeping you all involved is vital for the protection of our beaches, waves and oceans around the UK.

    We look forward to getting you onboard with some campaign actions soon.

    Best wishes,


    Surfers Against Sewage