The team at SOS – Save our Surf recently went to Madeira to collaborate with the Autonomous Region of Madeira with the scope of protecting, preserving and enhancing the waves Madeira.

Among the various activities undertaken by the organization, there were the environmental education activities, as well as analysis of specific areas in order to develop and enhance these same maritime spaces.

Meetings were also held with Paulo Oliveira, Service Director of the Madeirense Natutal Park and Dília Menezes, Head of Nature Conservation, as well as with John Rodrigues, Olympic windsurfer and Regional Advisor to the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources.  These turned out to be quite productive and revealing towards the interest and commitment of the region in wave sports.

During the SOS team’s stay on the island, the Regional Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Manuel António Correia, announced at the Seventh Annual Tourism Conference, that some actions are being prepared towards the creation of a World Surfing Reserve, with the possible ‘recovery of waves that were affected’ by interventions on the coast. (Full story on the VII Annual Tourism Conference .)

Pedro Bicudo, president of the association, points out that “SOS is very happy for this opportunity to contribute to the development of surfing in Madeira, an archipelago of unique natural beauty and several world class waves.  Madeira has the natural conditions and know-how to become a center of surfing in an important national and international context.”

The president of SOS also highlights the importance of these kinds of missions and the involvement of local authorities with the association. «SOS appreciates the support of the Madeirense surf clubs and associations, especially João Rodrigues, Regional Secretariat of Environment, the Department of the Natural Park of Madeira and the surf camp Maktub and SIXT.”

For the second consecutive year, SOS – Save our Surf participated in the most important international conference on the protection of waves: the “Global Waves Conference” (GWC).

Ran over the past 6th , 7th and 8th May in Rosarito the Mexican city that lies a few kilometres from Todos os Santos Bay, one of the six World Surfing Reserves.  The “Global Waves Conference 3 ” was an initiative that brought together associations from around the world, working for the protection of waves around the planet.

After the second edition of the GWC, held in Biarritz, France and San Sebastian, Spain, where the discussions and debates between the various associations focused on the value of waves and the threats to surfing areas, this year the organization put forward the challenge to all participants to find the answer to the question “How best do we work together?”.

With a record attendance of more than 50 people and representatives from 19 different organizations, the GWC was a real success.  Besides the sharing of experiences among the various associations of case studies such as the Mexican Baja, innovative programs were also discussed and proactive strategies for the protection of waves, as well as new tools for action in this area. Represented by its vice president, Pedro Monteiro, SOS – Save our Surf presented the Portuguese situation and the Association. Waves lost in Portugal, Evolution of Surfing in Portugal, Politics of the Sea and  Surfing Regulatory were some of the topics covered during the lecture. However, the highlight of the conference coincided with the signing of a “memorandum” of all associations.  A document that reveals the degree of commitment, enthusiasm and accountability of all associations that were represented at the GWC.

Also during the GWC, a meeting was held by the Visionary Council of World Surfing Reserves, which was also attended by Pedro Bicudo, president of SOS, via skype.  This meeting studied the consecration of new World Reserves and evaluated the performance of existing Reserves. For Pedro Monteiro, vice president of SOS, the participation of the Portuguese Association in such initiatives is critical to the growth of the Association. “Being with the representatives of all those Associations for the protection of waves and surfing was an excellent experience and a great learning experience.  Each area of the globe has its peculiarities and its main concerns, they also have surfing at different stages of development, so at the same time it allows us to both contribute and to learn about some of the cases for any difficulties that we may suffer in Portugal.  Protecting the surf is much more than just protecting the wave itself, it’s all the surroundings, an entire culture, way of life and the various contributions that surfing can give.  At this conference there was much talk of networking and the economic value of surfing (Surfonomics), which in a way is already being established in Portugal. “

Organizations represented:

- Protected Marinas Areas (Costa Rica)

- Bodhi Surf School (Costa Rica)


- Federacion Canarias Surf – Federacion Española de Surf (Espanhã)

- Gobierno del Estado de Baja California (Mexico)


- Pronatura (Mexico)

- SOS – Save our Surf (Portugal)

- Save The Waves Coalition (USA)

- Surf-Ens (Mexico)

- Surfers Environmental Alliance (USA)

- Surfers Against Sewage (UK)

- Surfrider Foundation Europe (France)

- Surfrider Foundation U.S. (United States)

- United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean (USA / Mexico)

- UC Irvine (USA)

- Waveloch (USA)

- Waves for Development International (USA, Switzerland, Peru)

- Wildcoast / CostaSalvaje (USA / Mexico)

At  16 of November, “Day of the Sea”, SOS – Save our Surf asked the Secretary of State of the Sea, Dr. Pinto de Abreu, that the surf is considered in Environmental Impact Assessments, in order to prevent more waves being damaged, leading to the economic losses of several million euros, and the weakening of the oceanic culture of Portugal.

“Year after year the sea is ever regaining the place that it should have kept in the hearts and minds of the Portuguese. The sea is within us, in our poetry, our food, the air we breathe and in our personality. And the surf, this obsession that unites urban areas to the sea, is increasingly present in our cultural and economic reality.  Even so, the surf is still not considered in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of private coastal works or public intervention, “reads the opening of the letter to the Government’s Secretary of State of the Sea.

SOS reinforces the importance of the various national surfing entities to be heard whenever the surf is involved in coastal projects as well as small traders and entrepreneurs, who are ultimately responsible for about 80% of the economy of our coast. We also passed on the first preliminary results of the “VOW – Value of Waves and Ocean Culture” study, a ground breaking worldwide study about the importance of surfing.

SOS –Save our Surf was heavily involved in the launch of the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve.  After struggling to deal with the amount of waves that have been lost in Portugal, SOS has opted for a preventive strategy of enhancing our coastlines as valuable natural resources in order to preserve them for future generations and sustainable tourism.  In this sense, the Reserve is crucial to our association.  SOS will also be available in the future to support national surfing reserves and to protect more beaches and waves in Portugal.

SOS has crucial responsibilities in the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve as the organization for the World Surfing Reserves (WSR) has asked for SOS’s support – for logistical reasons and because it is a unique national association of surfers with a strong academic and environmental component that is unpaired on a worldwide level.  SOS is committed to giving technical support to Ericeira’s World Surfing Reserve.

João de Macedo, the founder of the WSR concept and director of SOS, along with Pedro Bicudo, president of SOS, are the only Portuguese members of the WSR and therefore have a responsibility to report the evolution of the Ericeira World Surfing Reserve to this Council.

SOS has a basic principle of protecting the coast, always in collaboration with local surfers.  With or without reservations, these locals are always the first protectors of our coast.  In Ericeira there are two associations, the ESC and AABC that are planning the management of the Reserve with Mafra City Council (CMM).  SOS does not intend to manage the Reserve but support it with all their knowledge, as well as supervise it independently, which it has never stopped doing, and has the duty to report the progress of the Reserve to the WRS committee.

Thus on the launch of the Reserve, SOS worked with WSR on one hand and with the CMM, the AABC and the ESC on the other.  In addition to supporting the opening ceremony, SOS supported João Valente of Surf Portugal magazine in compiling the contents of the Reserve’s Booklet.  SOS also drafted and delivered an important document, the “Proposal for the Reserve’s Management Plan “, to the CMM, the AABC and the ESC, which is to be followed by those responsible for the Reserve. The conditions set by the WSR state that the Reserve must be protected by a council of members and the members must submit a management plan. The proposed Management Plan includes the formal organizational details provided by the WSR, the points raised by the ESC and the AABC, the geographic boundaries of the Reserve set by the CMM, as well as environmental and quality issues of the waves provided by SOS.  It is worth noting that that the strong involvement of SOS in these processes ended at the Reserve’s opening ceremony in October, a ceremony that was recognised by the surfing world.

In the meantime the local institutions CMM, AABC and ESC have opted to legally formalize the Reserve with an association.  The constitution of this association should happen soon, but it has not yet been completed.  Our proposed Management Plan has not been revised and published by local institutions, but they are the association intending to conclude the process.  This process has probably ended up delaying the resolution of environmental problems in the Reserve. Some of these have begun to be addressed only very recently with the restriction of vehicles on the cliffs in the Três Irmãos Bay and the small stream of water in the same bay.  Hopefully these actions are the beginning of what we set forth in the proposed Management Plan on the recommendation of the AABC and the ESC.

In relation to the dispute between the Ribeira Surf Camp and the CMM due to an urbanization plan to Ribeira de Ilhas, we hope that this dispute is resolved in the interests of surfing.  As this iconic surf camp, a pioneer in Portugal, has brought many tourists to the region and paved the path of sustainable development of the surfing.

SOS – Save our Surf is aware of environmental issues to be resolved in Ericeira.  We do not intend to go into detail, but the water quality, landscape, preservation of the cliffs, the form and dynamics of the waves and the ease and freedom of access to beaches are environmental factors which SOS will pay close attention to because they are very important to the success of the Reserve.  You can count on all the knowledge and energy of SOS has to improve the environmental quality of the Reserve.

SOS – Save our Surf is back to join one of the major national events, this time for a project developed by Buondi, a brand that has been closely linked to surfing for a long time.

Raising awareness and alerting people to a number of threats to the coast and the need for behaviour change are the main objectives of Human Tide, the largest beach initiative in the world, sponsored by Buondi in conjunction with the European Blue Flag Association. The date is scheduled for the morning of 12th May at 20 beaches in 20 districts of mainland Portugal and the Portuguese islands.

To launch these initiatives called ‘ALERTS’, Human Tide will have the involvement of municipalities, children and young Eco-Schools, scouts and surfers as well as the entire population, who are asked to participate in these set of initiatives of educational and
environmental awareness. Biodiversity, waste, water quality, sustainable fisheries and solar
radiation are some of the issues that this huge beach initiative wants to highlight to the community.

Human Tide will end with a solemn and symbolic moment, in which all participants – both on land and at sea – will hold hands for a united cause: the protection of the coast.

Associated with surfing for over 20 years by shared values ​such as youth innovation, respect
and concern for the environment, Buondi now promotes HumanTide in defence of a  territory that belongs to everyone. To learn more about Human Tide, visit

The list of beaches involved in this action are:


Viana do Castelo -  Cabedelo

Vila Nova de Gaia -  Praia Madalena Norte

Matosinhos – Praia de Matosinhos


Ovar – Furadouro

Figueira da Foz – Relógio

Nazaré – Praia da Nazaré

Peniche – Supertubos

Ericeira – Foz do Lizandro

Sintra – Praia Grande

Cascais – Praia de Carcavelos

Costa de Caparica – Praia de São João da Caparica

Setúbal – Praia da Figueirinha


Grândola – Troia-Mar

Grândola- Tróia-Mar


Vila do Bispo – Cordoama

Albufeira – Praia dos Pescadores

Acrescentar Loulé – Praia da Quarteira

Vila do Bispo – Cordoama

Açores Islands

Ilha do Faial Horta, concelho da  Horta – Porto Pim

Ilha Terceira, concelho da Angra do Heroísmo – Prainha

Madeira Island

Funchal – Praia Formosa

In 2012, Portuguese beaches will apply for and be voted in the election for the “7 Wonders -
Beaches of Portugal ®”, a great project that aims to promote the very best of our country
and to which SOS – Save our Surf associates with.

The application phase for the election of the “7 Wonders – Beaches of Portugal ®” has been
running since 2nd December on a micro-site created for this purpose (  The organisation has received applications from some of the most iconic national beaches and is hoping that by 15th January 2012 the number of applications will surpass the amount reached in 2011. This phase, as well as the remaining phases of the selection process, is closely monitored by the Scientific Council composed of seven entities: The State Department of Environment and Regional Planning, The Portuguese Navy, the European Blue Flag Association (ABAE); GEOTA; The Nature Protection League, Quercus, and SOS – Save our Surf, The National Association for the Protection of the Surf.

“I find it highly prestigious for surfing in general and for SOS – Save our Surf in particular,
that they have been invited to join the Scientific Council for an event of this calibre. Proof
that wave sports are being recognised by society as a central element in beach and costal
culture, not only for their sport element but also in an environmental perspective, “explains
Manuel Valadas Preto, vice president of SOS – Save our Surf.

As a member of the Scientific Council of this initiative, SOS – Save our Surf supports the
organisation and is closely following the election, providing support in various stages of the
decisions process. The first phase requires the Council to support scientific and technical
validation of all applications received by the organisation.

Highlighted later in the process is SOS’s involvement in the constitution of the panel of 70
experts who choose the 70 pre-finalists and the integration of the Scientific Council into the
Panel of experts who define the 21 finalists for public voting.

The 70 pre-finalists will be known on 7th February and the 21 finalists will be revealed on 7th
May.  Public voting will run from 7th May to 7th September on the official website by
telephone, SMS and Facebook.

For more information visit the SOS- Save our Surf Facebook page:

SOS – Save our Surf – the environmental association with extensive technical capabilities which not only preserves waves but also works towards developing surfing and other wave sports, was on Madeira Island this week along with a number of invited surfers with the aim of taking important steps in the safeguarding and development of surfing in this region.

During two very intense days, SOS – Save our Surf was represented at its highest level, through Pedro Bicudo and Pedro Monteiro, president and vice president respectively, on Madeira Island. After learning through surfers in Madeira of the project called ” Ligação Marginal entre o Cemitério e o Cais de Paul do Mar (Costal connection between the Cemetery and the Paul do Mar Harbour) ” SOS’s directors decided that an effort should be made to ensure the association participates in the public consultation of the project. As is known, the chance of this work becoming reality led to a great debate notably in social networks between the community of Portuguese surfers and particularly among the Madeiran surfers, who fear losing the wave Paul do Mar. Thus upon arrival in Madeira SOS met with locals surfers and some representatives of organisations related to surfing such as the Núcleo de Surf da Associação Desportos da Madeira (ADM), the Clube Naval do Funchal and the Centro de Treino Mar.

There was an informal meeting where there was a strong desire from the surfing community and the hotel and commercial organisations to continue to work in defence and development of the sport on Madeira Island. In the event scheduled by the local surfers SOS had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Baeta Manuel de Castro, the Mayor of Calheta. It was a very productive conversation in which the association was able to present several studies that demonstrate the relevance of the surf elsewhere in our country. In the end, Dr. Manuel Castro Baeta proved to be very sensitive to the issues raised by SOS and revealed that at the municipality of Calheta surfing is seen as a natural sport to preserve and enhance. On the same day, SOS – Save our Surf met with João Correia, Director of Regional Environment. A meeting where the Paul do Mar project was discussed with a view to preserving the world class wave that breaks with considerable regularity. Again, the meeting was extremely positive and regional organisations were shown to be susceptible to the impacts on the surf included in the Environmental Impact Study of the Paul do Mar project. There was still time for a brief chat with the President of the Paul da Madeira council who confirmed that local authorities are committed to the development of surfing in their council. At present, SOS along with Madeiran surfers and organisations are developing a study that aims to demonstrate the potential of surfing in the Calheta area, where you can find the mythical waves of Jardim do Mar, Paul do Mar and Ponta Pequena.

SOS – Save our Surf believes this trip to Madeira was a success and the prospects for preserving the wave Paul do Mar are very real. SOS – Save our Surf would like to thank the collaboration of everyone involved in this mission, especially the surfers on the island of Madeira who with their effort managed to schedule two very important meetings that may have decided the future of Paul do Mar.

On 24th and 25th October SOS – Save our Surf participated in the most important environmental conference held on waves in the world today, the Global Wave Conference held in the Basque Country.

The Global Wave Conference, a memorable and pioneering event where various associations related to the protection of waves joined for the first time to share with the audience their experiences, achievements and frustrations.  During the two days, Biarritz and San Sebastian were the scene of an event that promises to become history.

Marked by intensity of the sessions, attendees of the Global Wave Conference met over the two days for more than two dozen lectures relating to the protection of waves which was divided into three major themes: The value of waves; Threats and Strategies for protecting waves.  The highlights were presentations by Chad Nelson (Surfrider Foundation) on the example of the mythical wave Trestles, Taha Al Azzawi, the French sociologist, on the social value of surfing and waves and Will Henry (Save the Wave Coalition) who spoke about the bad example of the regional government of Madeira which ended up damaging the wave Jardim do Mar.  There was also SOS – Save our Surf represented by Manuel Guerra, coordinator of SOS’s legal department, who presented a lecture entitled “Waves saved and waves lost in Portugal “(soon available on video).

After two days of sharing, all the associations present at the Global Wave Conference decided to take another important step by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which was recorded in the will of all, to work together for the benefit of the waves and surfing (video coming soon on SOS – Save our Surf’s Facebook page).

SOS – Save our Surf left the Basque Country reinforced with the conviction that we are not alone in defending the waves and that finally new international movements are beginning to emerge in order to protect waves. The inspiring experiences shared at the Global Wave Conference give us more strength to continue to work towards saving waves.

Many thanks to all who have helped us on this journey!