World Surfing Reserve push for Jeffreys

2015-07-02 06:01
Professor Andrew Short from Australia, chairman of the National Surfing Reserve in Australia. 

Professor Andrew Short from Australia, chairman of the National Surfing Reserve in Australia. Photo: CHRIS DE VOS

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JEFFREYS Bay is set to become the first World Surfing Reserve (WSR) in South Africa, and possibly one of only a handful of surf destinations around the world to receive WSR status.

Following a meeting led by world-renowned expert and author Professor Andrew Short from Australia, chairman of the National Surfing Reserve in Australia, a local committee will be formed to begin community consultation and assimilate the application for WSR status. The committee will include representatives if Kouga Municipality, Jeffreys Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association (JBRA), JBU and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

If successful, the shores from Secrets to Albatross will join Manly-Freshwater - the historic birthplace of surfboard riding in Australia - as the only WSR on the African continent.

Garth Ford from the JBRA, says: “The area might be extended to include the Kabeljauws estuary and Nature Reserve, as well as the dune and beach areas leading to the main beach and Kitchen Windows.

“Nothing major will change, except that these areas will be given recognition and will be better managed and conserved with local involvement and participation.

“We would also like to prevent the removal of reef life from the rocks along Supertubes to Kabeljauws, in order for the reef to recover properly for permanent growth and perpetuity.

“The whole process will take up to one year.”

WSR are ‘iconic’ places of intrinsic environmental, heritage, sporting and cultural value, according to Short. The concept of WSR is for all people to be able to enjoy, understand and protect special coastal environments of universal value of the surfing world.

“Key points in the criteria are quality and consistency of the waves, a place considered sacred by the international surfing community, and a history of recognition as a prime surf location by national and international surfers,” says Short.

“Jeffreys Bay ticks all the boxes.”

According to Kouga municipal spokesperson, Laura-Leigh Randall, the municipality is not yet in a position to comment on the impact of having Supertubes declared a World Surfing Reserve.

“It is a great initiative, but there are both pros and cons.

We are in the process of conducting further research, including meetings with the various roleplayers, to determine whether it is a viable option and in the best interest of the Jeffreys bay community as a whole,” says Randall

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