The planet now has one more location that has gained full status as a World Surfing Reserve. In late October, the land surrounding the iconic big-wave spot Punta de Lobos in Chile was transferred to the Fundación Punta de Lobos. This move will forever protect the break at Punta de Lobos.
This victory was a long process, as it was undertaken in 2013 by local surfer and world-renowned big-wave surfer Ramón Navarro. He and other local activists learned of a real estate project that looked to develop the vista overlooking Punta de Lobos. The community of local surfers and fishermen rallied, and tapped the likes of Patagonia, environmentalists, government officials, business leaders and Save The Waves Coalition to keep the area's marine and terrestrial environments as intact as possible.
As Navarro himself said in a release by Patagonia, “The most important thing is what this place will be for future generations. I want my son to be able to enjoy this place as I did, and I've been learning that anything is possible when communities come together to find common ground.”
Save The Waves Coalition then led a successful crowdfunding campaign and Patagonia followed with a $100,000 donation to help establish the Fundación Punta de Lobos. From there, work was then begun to establish Punta de Lobos as a World Surfing Reserve.
There was still a lot of work to be done, as Keith Malloy made a short film called “The Fisherman’s Son” to help raise awareness about the development issue at Punta de Lobos. And this past summer, Patagonia donated another $150,000 from their PSI vest licensing program. The sum was still short of what they needed to purchase the land, so Patagonia closed the gap and the land was finally transferred to the Fundación Punta de Lobos to be protected.
It was a long road, but an important one that shows conservation efforts do work out when they are seen through and are filled with passionate people looking to preserve what nature has given them.
As Navarro said further in the release from Patagonia, “For me, this work is really about leaving a legacy, and the only way to accomplish that is by being an example and protecting the places that gave me the memories I cherish. As a surfer, contests and trophies are good for your ego and that’s about it. But saving a wave is forever."
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