Photo by Noah Sparkman

Photo by Noah Sparkman

Standup For Others | Save the Waves

By: Rebecca Parsons

Save the Waves is an nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the coastal environment with a focus on the surf zone. In addition to other projects, Save the Waves added an annual film festival in 2008 to raise money and spread environmental awareness. Festival director Trey Highton recently shared some big projects the organization is working on, as well as the best way to get involved.

For someone who’s not familiar, can you tell us a bit about what you do at Save the Waves?

We work to create a world where waves and coastlines are cherished and protected. Utilizing a unique combination of protected areas, economics, and direct action, Save The Waves partners with locals to preserve their coastal resources and in turn strengthen their communities.

What are some big projects you’re working on right now? 

We currently have a campaign to stop Donald Trump from building a seawall around his golf course on Doughmore Beach, Ireland. (Following this interview, Trump International Golf Links rescinded their proposal). In Save the Waves' hometown of Santa Cruz, we've been working with our partners to pinpoint the causes of high levels of bacteria at Cowells beach and have implemented netting along the wharf to keep pigeons and seabirds from roosting. Our Bahia de Todos Santos World Surfing Reserve is also successfully working to protect one of Baja Norte’s best waves, Tres Emes, from an ill-conceived industrial lobster processing plant that will damage the wave and nearby beaches.

What is the Save the Waves film festival? 

The Save the Waves Film Festival, founded in 2008, is the only international environmental surf film festival in the world. Our selection committee, comprised of professional athletes, filmmakers, photographers, and academics, view submissions from around the world to curate a program that is as remarkable visually, as it is environmentally eye-opening. We strive to make our viewers starkly aware of the crisis state our oceans are in, but also leave them feeling empowered as individuals to not just save the waves, but our oceans and this planet.

How can people get involved?

Becoming a member is the best way to show your support of STW’s mission. People can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook, let us know if there are any issues in their local beach communities, or take a trip to one of the World Surfing Reserves and enjoy the hard work we’ve been doing. If you really want to get your hands dirty,  pick up a few pieces of trash every time you get out of the water. Lastly, check out the STW website for new internship openings. We’re always looking for hardworking, dedicated folks with a passion for keeping our oceans clean.

Anything else?

It can feel really overwhelming at times when hearing about the Great Barrier Reef dying off and statistics about there being more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050. Yet not losing hope is the most important thing to remember. Human behavior got us in to this mess, but coordinated and enlightened human behavior can and must get us out of it.


How Save the Waves stopped Trump’s seawall in Ireland

Join the cause and become an official member of Save the Waves.

The impacts of climate change on your favorite watering hole.