ROSARITO BEACH — Surfing groups from Europe, Latin America and the United States are expected to gather in Rosarito Beach on Monday for a three-day conference aimed at conserving the world’s top surf spots.
Global Wave Conference III focuses on surf protection efforts across the globe, including Mexico, Peru, Portugal, France and Great Britain. The event will include discussions of the problems faced by various regions, but also presentations of environmental success stories.
“All the different groups have different strengths,” said Chad Nelsen, environmental director for the San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation, which is organizing the event together with the Imperial Beach-based group, WiLDCOAST.
As surfing has gained popularity, “we’ve been trying to coordinate those groups to develop a really global network of surf protection.”
The keynote speaker will be Efrain Niebla, Baja California’s secretary of environmental protection.
Of special interest to surfers in San Diego-Tijuana border region, who have been battling water quality issues, are efforts by the British group, Surfers Against Sewage, to set up a notification system using telephone text messages to warn of poor water quality.
“Their goal is to have ocean users monitor it themselves,” said WiLDCOAST's Zachary Plopper.
The event will also highlight recent environmental successes in Baja California, including a push for a state park at San Miguel, an iconic surfing spot at the northern end of Ensenada, and the designation this year of Bahia Todos Santos as a World Surfing Reserve. The reserve extends from Salsiupuedes in the north to San Miguel in the south and the island of Todos Santos to the west.
“This will be an example that can be followed by the rest of the country,” said Fernando Marvan, president of SURF ENS, a Mexican conservation group.
Organizers decided to hold the conference in northern Baja California because “thematically it tells all the stories of every coastal issue confronted anywhere in the world,” Plopper said.
Among them, he said, are water quality, coastal development and coastal access issues, and the presence of nonprofit groups and community leaders “getting involved in reversing these trends.”