The Surfer’s Path’s regular activist-writers, aka ‘Eco-Warriors‘ James Pribram and Will Henry went to Spain in late October, accompanied by Dean LaTourrette, executive director of Save The Waves Coalition. Sent by XS Energy Drinks, the group’s mission was to raise awareness about Spain’s endangered surf spots, most of which lie on the undeveloped coastline of Asturias in Northern Spain. Rodiles, often described as “Mundaka’s little sister,” is in danger of being destroyed by a new marina and dredging project at the river’s mouth. Nearby, in Gijón, a massive port is being made even larger, and the new seawall will block swell to at least five surf breaks.
The Eco-Warriors appeared on television three times, as well as in the local newspapers, to make their plea. They told the public that waves are a valuable environmental, social and economic commodity, and brought up the example of Mundaka Bay – which was at that time hosting the Mundaka Pro, an official WCT world surfing tour event – as an example of what might happen if development continues. Mundaka Bay, considered one of the best waves in all Europe, disappeared for two seasons early this decade after an ill-fated dredging project altered the sand flow patterns at the river’s mouth. The contest was cancelled, and the temporary loss of the wave dealt a severe blow to the local economy.
Will Henry hopes that the visit made non-surfers in Spain more aware of the high value of a prime surf spot. “People often don’t understand what they’re losing until it’s too late,” stated Henry, who is also the founder of Save the Waves. “Each of these surf spots is one of a kind and irreplaceable. It’s like filling Yosemite National Park in with concrete.”
The group also visited Mundaka Bay to view the thriving contest scene and take in the beautiful sites of the Spanish coast. Save the Waves is currently conducting a research study in conjunction with Oregon State University, to determine the value of the surfing wave in Mundaka to the local economy.
For more information, go to the Save the Waves website.