One problem I have with conventional surf activism is that people often wait until there’s an imminent threat to their spot to mobilize. If people wait too long however, it is often the case that the opposition has garnered too much momentum to be stopped. Usually by this point, the other team has already won over the policy-makers, with either rhetoric or money, and surfers’ voices get drowned out like a buoy on a foggy morning. This has been especially apparent in developing countries like Mexico.
That’s why I was so pumped to go to Baja to make the video #SaveSanMiguel. It highlights the international organization, Save The Waves, that is working with Mexican locals to turn the wave and surrounding watershed into a State Park before it’s too late. The campaign, if successful, will preserve not only one of the best waves on the Baja Peninsula but one of the last intact watersheds. Save The Waves is trying to generate 10,000 signatures to send to the Governor of Baja CA, and demonstrate the international support for preservation of San Miguel as Baja California’s first state park.
“We have the chance to do something proactive,” said Nik Strong-Cvetich, Executive Director of Save The Waves Coalition, “and protect something before it needs saving.”
If this campaign is successful, I hope it’s used as a model for surfers all over the world. We can protect our waves from the over-development that threatens to rip the soul out of them.
Protecting the place you prize begins with reflection. The next time you paddle out, take a moment to contemplate what makes up the wave you love. It may be the clean water, the fish, or even the kelp. Well, maybe not the kelp, but whatever it is that makes your wave special, it’s worth saving. So how do you save it? Call up an organization like Save The Waves and have a conversation about the factors that threaten your wave. Take preemptive action to make sure those threats don’t turn into a reality. The old adage still rings true: the best defense is a good offense.