25/11/2013 | by Alex Dick-Read
October 30, 2013 – Huanchaco, Peru – The local and international communities came together on Friday and Saturday to commemorate and celebrate Huanchaco as a World Surfing Reserve, the first World Surfing Reserve in Latin America. In a series of events that saw everything from cultural re-enactments, fireworks, and attendance by Peru’s surfing elite – the importance of this designation for the local community and Peruvian surfing community was center stage.
Felipe Pomar, the 1965 World Surfing Champion, who continues to be a prominent ambassador and elder statesman for Peruvian surfing culture, said, “It was an honor and a great pleasure for me to be present at the dedication of the Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve. Thanks to the initiative of Save The Waves Coalition, surfers in Peru and throughout the world can be assured that this ancient cradle of surf culture will be recognized, protected and preserved. My heartfelt thanks to Save The Waves, National Surfing Reserves Australia, Thor Heyerdahl, Duke Kahanamoku, Carlos Dogny, and all the great surfers who have made this possible. I call on surfers everywhere to get organized and work to save our waves.”
Huanchaco received its approval as a World Surfing Reserve in October 2012. Its application ranked highly on all World Surfing Reserve’s criteria: wave quality and consistency, unique environmental characteristics, surf culture and history, and community support. Most impressive is Huanchaco’s strong ocean heritage, which spans over 3,000 years. The strong ocean culture of Huanchaco is credited with being the birthplace of Peru’s “caballito de totora” –one of humanity’s earliest known surf crafts used to ply the waves for both work and pleasure. Caballitos de totora are still an integral part of the local community, both for fishing and recreation.
The heralded Huanchaco surf zone joins just four other sites to claim such status—Malibu in California, Ericeira in Portugal, Manly Beach in Australia, and Santa Cruz in California.
On Friday night, the community came together to kick off the weekend’s festivities with a traditional caballito de totora paddle out, fireworks, and live traditional music. The official dedication day took place on Saturday and culminated in an inspiring cultural reenactment, traditional dances, the introduction of the Huanchaco Local Stewardship Council, remarks from invited dignitaries, and the unveiling of the Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve monument and booklet. A private reception for invited guests, dignitaries and press took place at Club Huanchaco following the enshrinement ceremonies.
“It is amazing to see how much pride the community has in their waves, their culture, their coast and now their World Surfing Reserve. It is very inspiring to be a part of this process,” said Save The Waves Executive Director, Nik Strong-Cvetich.
During the Saturday event, the members of the Local Stewardship Council signed a stewardship plan that they co-drafted with Save The Waves Coalition to guide the management of the newly established Reserve. The plan includes how the group will address coastal threats to the Huanchaco Reserve, how they will continue to educate others about the tremendous value of their waves, and how they will inspire stewardship for the area.
“This dedication and the signing of the document represents the culmination of many months of hard work”, said Nick Mucha, Environmental and Programs Director for Save The Waves, “ However, this is just the beginning, and the real challenge is the continued protection of this amazing coast and culture.”
About World Surfing Reserves
World Surfing Reserves (WSR) proactively identifies, designates, and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments, around the world. WSR is an initiative launched by Save The Waves Coalition in 2009 in conjunction with National Surfing Reserves Australia and other partners.