Left Menu
Development News Edition

FEATURE-Surfing-Olympic wave riders in frontline of climate change


FEATURE-Surfing-Olympic wave riders in frontline of climate change
Representative image Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Of all the sports at the Tokyo Olympics later this year none inhabit the frontline of climate change quite like surfing.

This is why when the wave sport makes its debut on Chiba's Tsurigasaki Beach, there will be more than gold medals at stake. As well as showcasing the world's elite surfers to a brand new audience, International Surfing Association (ISA) President Fernando Aguerre says the goal will be to also highlight the growing threat to the planet's oceans.

Surfers, he says, are the ambassadors of the oceans and the eyes of the world when it comes to the health of the seas. "We are the guinea pigs of society when it comes to the what's going on in the oceans," Aguerre told Reuters by telephone from his home beach of Mar del Plata in Argentina, where the day before he took part in a huge litter sweep along some of the resort's golden sands.

"Web surfers, we live on the ocean, we literally submerge ourselves, we have ocean water into our ears, eyes, and skin. In reality, we are the perfect ambassadors of the ocean. "We see the damage and degradation that is being done."

While sewage and industrial pollution have long been a blight on the habitat of surfers, an existential threat is the predicted sea-level changes brought about by global warming. According to a 2017 study by Dan Reineman of Stanford University's School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Science faculty, 18% of California's most popular surfing breaks could be drowned and 16% could deteriorate.

A Californian climate change assessment report in 2018 predicts two-thirds of the state's southern beaches could be completely eroded by the end of the century. With sea walls and housing preventing the natural movement inland of beaches, surfers will face the squeeze, even if predicted more frequent storms whip up large waves.

"There will always be a place where the land meets the sea, there will always be waves," Aguerre said. "But when it comes to the impact of climate change on our sport we don't have a doubt about it. We see the diminishing fish, the impact of sewers, the industrial pollution, we see the erosion of the beaches and reefs.

"It's a huge challenge. If the places where waves break change, some of the greatest surfing places might disappear." LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Aguerre, who made it his life's work to introduce surfing to the Olympics, is not one to drown in gloom and describes himself as a "pro-active pessimist" when it comes to the threat the planet faces from man-made climate change. "Optimists think everything will be okay, pessimists say there's nothing we can do, we're screwed, I think we are in trouble, but it's not too late," he said.

Aguerre believes the Olympic movement under Thomas Bach's reign has woken up to sport's responsibility to lead by example. "Maybe 20 or 30 years ago the Olympic movement didn't really care much about environmental problems," he said.

"But with Bach, nobody has a doubt that what happens to the earth and the environment happens to all of us, including athletes, not just Olympic athletes, it happens to everybody. "The good thing is that surfing is going to have millions of eyes on it this year. That will give us power because people will see the passion for the ocean.

"I wake up every morning full of hope. The motto of the ISA is not all power to surfing. The motto is let's have a better world for surfing. We believe surfing has a role to play." While surfing's environmental impact at this year's Games will be minimal, the likely choice of Tahiti to stage the Paris 2024 surfing events has raised some eyebrows.

Aguerre accepts the distance is 'challenging' but says taking surfing to its spiritual roots is the right decision. "It's the cradle of the sport," he said. "We hold a Pro Tour event with more surfers there every year anyway, it's not like we're doing anything that has not been done before."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Future of Food: Technology fostering the road to global food security

Technological innovation can help address most of the pressing issues facing the world today including food security by enhancing productivity, improving financial services, managing resources, addressing environmental concerns, etc....

Conspiracy theories on COVID 19: Legislators, Scientists, and Journalists all joined the Caravan

Conspiracy theories are not new for virus epidemics. There have been conspiracy theories on HIV-AIDS, Polio Vaccines, Ebola Virus, and several other diseases as well. However, what makes the 2019 Novel Coronavirus different from others is ...

Now it’s a war, Uganda deploys army to combat locust swarms

Its for the first time after 1986, the locust swarms have attacked Uganda twice in a season. With the increasing number of countries of Africa under attack by locust swarms, the problem seems to have taken a regional paradigm. Its very diff...

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Videos

Latest News

Trump's trip demonstrates value US places on ties with India: Pompeo

President Donald Trumps just-concluded maiden official visit to India demonstrates the value Washington places on its ties with New Delhi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, underlining the shared interests and traditions that unite t...

Risk of escalation in Syria grows hourly without urgent action: UN

United Nations, Feb 28 AFP The United Nations on Thursday called for urgent action in northwest Syria, warning that the risk of greater escalation grows by the hour. The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate ceasefire and...

Bruins fend off Stars, snap two-game skid

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Nick Ritchie each had a goal and an assist as the Boston Bruins held off the visiting Dallas Stars, 4-3, Thursday night. Charlie Coyle also scored, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots in net as the Bruins s...

Spark releases Business Flexible Broadband 

Spark has released its latest wireless broadband offering Business Flexible Broadband which offers businesses the first uncapped data plan on wireless broadband in New Zealand.Available today, Sparks Business Flexible Broadband is one bro...

Give Feedback