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Despite their large numbers worldwide, surfers as a coastal interest group have largely been ignored during coastal management decision making. Surfers are, however, increasingly being considered in coastal management decisions as the social, economic, and environmental benefits of high-quality surfing breaks are realized. Examples of surfing breaks that have been improved or compromised by coastal engineering are presented here to demonstrate the fragility of surfing breaks.
Integrated coastal zone management techniques are suggested as an approach to sustain recreational amenities associated with surfing breaks. Surfers can benefit from integrated coastal zone management practices that balance the coastal space requirements of various coastal user groups. This paper advocates detailed and standardized assessments of the environmental impacts that coastal activities can have on the quality of surfing waves as part of modern integrated coastal zone management practices.
Baseline information must also be collected to develop an understanding of the physical processes around a surfing break. To facilitate baseline studies, and ongoing monitoring of surfing breaks, this paper identifies the types of surfing and oceanographic factors that need to be considered. The need for regional and central governments to strategically protect surfing breaks using legislation, reserves, and coastal management plans is explored. It is recommended that further surfing research investigate ideal coastal management techniques for different resource management frameworks…