Today, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) campaigners attended the opening day of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic (CWC) Scotland to promote how surfers can get the most out of new legislation to help protect for Scotland’s world class surfing waves, secured by SAS through the recent Scottish Marine Bill.
The competition is the perfect platform for this important Protect Our Waves campaign action as it is held at Scotland’s world-renowned reef breaks, Thurso and Brimms Ness. The CWC Scotland is also a 6- Star WQS surfing event, attracting the best professional surfers and industry sponsors from around the globe to the area, a clear sign of just how important the surfing waves are to the local area.
On the opening day of the Cold Water Classic, at the Brimms Ness contest site, SAS campaigners were joined by O’Neill professional surfer Sam Lamiroy. Sam took the ‘surfer’s throne’ onto the reef to demonstrate the importance of protecting waves in the area. And to remind surfers to take their seat on the Regional Planning Partnership groups.
Earlier in the year, SAS campaigners were the catalyst in ensuring surfers and waveriders won a seat on the Regional Planning Partnerships within the new Scottish Marine Bill. This now gives surfers the official platform to raise any concerns about developments affecting the marine environment and surfing waves at the earliest and most appropriate level. It will require developers to give serious and detailed consideration to protecting wave quality and the integrity of surf spots.
This is a massive campaign victory for SAS, Scottish waveriders and a formal recognition of the importance of surfing to the UK. SAS estimate there are over 300,000 recreational water users in Scotland and this significant marine stakeholder deserved this acknowledgement.
If a surfing community is concerned by the potential effects of offshore or onshore developments to the marine environment or wave quality at their local break, the first steps they need to take are:
1. Contact SAS’s Protect Our Waves Campaign Officer as early as possible
2. Inform your MSP
3. Contact the Scottish Surfing Federation.
This victory reflects the recent high-level recognition by politicians of the importance of protecting Scotland’s premium surfing resources. The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said:
“Scotland has world-class surfing beaches; for example, Thurso hosts an annual world qualifying series event that attracts hundreds of the world’s best surfers. I want surfers to continue to access beaches, including the important beaches at Thurso, Tiree and East Lothian. Just as important is the need to look for opportunities to ensure that our wave resource is recognised, valued and promoted. Surfing has quickly grown into a well-established sport in Scotland, and a great number of Scots and visitors hugely enjoy our beaches and make a significant contribution to local economies.”
SAS continues to support the offshore renewable energy, but stress that surfing must be considered at the very earliest stage to avoid any conflicts of interest. There are a finite amount of quality surf spots along the North coast of Scotland but an abundance of offshore energy. Siting these offshore renewable developments responsibly can ensure that surfers enjoy their quality waves for generations to come and Scotland leads the world in wave and tidal energy.