As surfers we depend on the natural environment to participate in our sport, the protection and sustainability of our surfing environment and access to that environment is a priority. Water quality, access, erosion, development, litter, overcrowding and conflict can threaten surfing.
The water quality at many breaks in Ireland is unacceptable. Raw or partially treated sewage is being discharged into the sea all around our coastline. Surfers encountering water quality problems should complain to the local authority and the Department of Environment. If you come across problems on a blue flag beach immediately contact An Taisce.
Developments such as harbour extensions, marinas, windfarms and coastal defences can impact waves and access to waves. Where there is lightly to be an impact there will be opportunity to object at the planning stage. Take this opportunity- don’t leave it up to somebody else.
Sadly surfers are not without blame when it comes to littering. How often do we see the remains of fires, bottles, cans, old tents and van and other rubbish abandoned by surfers! Please take your litter home. Be proactive by organising “clean-ups” of the coastline. Local Authorities are usually willing to provide bag, gloves etc. for such “clean-ups” and will collect and dispose of rubbish gathered.
Overcrowding and conflict in the lineup can destroys the spirit and fun of surfing. It only takes one or two greedy or uneducated surfers to bring chaos to the “line-up” . Conflict can be reduced if surfers familiarise themselves with the safety and etiquette rules. Always be aware and show respect to other water users, apologies if you make a mistake and above all, keep a good friendly attitude.
Please respect our access. We depend on the good will of landowners and local residents to access many of our waves. Show respect to landowners and local residents. Do not block gates, roadways, residences etc. Respect farm animals and wildlife. Do not damage fences or leave gates open.
Every surfer has an obligation to protect our surfing environment. If you don’t do something who will? Become proactive on environmental issues. Join your local surf club and support the club’s work on local environment issues. Around the world too many surf sports have been degraded and destroyed. Let not wait for this to happen in Ireland.