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.