We are totally STOKED to announce that the Santa Cruz City and County coast from Natural Bridges State Park to the Opal Cliffs has been chosen as one of three new World Surfing Reserves for 2011! This prized designation includes Steamer Lane and it’s inner breaks, the historic break at the Rivermouth, and Pleasure Point’s numerous breaks, including The Hook, and Sharks.

Save The Waves Coalition and World Surfing Reserves Executive Director Dean LaTourrette made the formal announcement on March 3 at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Also speaking were Jim Littlefield, Santa Cruz/Northern California Director of Surfers’ Environmental Alliance (SEA),
Dan Young, Santa Cruz Surf Club Preservation Society, Mark Stone, Santa Cruz County Supervisor and California Coastal Commissioner, Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz Mayor, and Mark Massara, World Surfing Reserves Vision Council.

Santa Cruz is one of three new WSR’s around the globe. Other 2011 honorees are: Ericeira in Portugal and Manly Beach in Australia

WSR’s is an innovative program established in 2009 by Save The Waves Coalition working with key partners such as the International Surfing Association (ISA). The very first WSR was proclaimed in Malibu last October and made HUGE news throughout the world wide surfing and environmental community.


World Surfing Reserves aims to proactively designate and preserve outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments, around the world. The program will serve as a global model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing the positive environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits of waves.


Save The Waves Coalition, along with key partners National Surfing Reserves (NSR) Australia and the International Surfing Association (ISA), launched WORLD SURFING RESERVES in 2009, and implemented the global program’s first enshrinement in 2010. The initiative will create a “UNESCO of surfing” to educate the world on the tremendous universal value of these special places, and provide tools to help local communities better protect cherished surf breaks.

At our Santa Cruz Chapter we’ve been advocating for this ceremonial honor for several months, in partnership with other “coastal-minded” organizations: Surfers’ Environmental Alliance (SEA); Save Our Shores; the Sierra Club; and Ocean Revolution. so we are very pleased to see the community come together behind this worthy effort and we believe the honor is well-deserved for our coast!

Santa Cruz is the documented “birthplace” of board surfing on the American continent re: 3 Hawaiian Princes surfing the “Rivermouth” at the San Lorenzo River in 1885. The Santa Cruz Surf Club formed in 1936, leading a long line of surf clubs and professional surfers from the city and county area. When we think of our town as “Surf City Santa Cruz” we believe it, and this World Surfing Reserve along our coast helps prove it!

Still, with all this surfing history distinguishing our coast and an active surfing populace and community, we want everyone to understand the WSR award only comes to communities that have demonstrated a strong desire to protect and preserve our irreplaceable coastal resources, including our world-class surfbreaks. Also, the award indicates that the City and County of Santa Cruz recognize and prize the strong component of community identity surfing brings to our region, as well as the strong ties our coastal economies have to the ocean, waves, and beaches.

Having a World Surfing Reserve along our shores obviously enhances the area’s reputation as an environmentally-aware and active coastal community.

We and our partners hope this designation will inspire our local and regional governments to increase their efforts to protect our coastal waters, beaches, and surf breaks.