SAS have launched a new campaign to get the value of our waves recognised and then protected. They rightly point out that other sports and pastimes are protected – sometimes in the planning system, sometimes by law. So its only fair that surfspots should get the same treatment, especially as they are the bedrock of the economy of many otherwise marginal towns on our coasts.
Where I live, one surfspot is protected in the draft City Plan but ironically its threatened by an offshore wind farm. Like other natural resources, getting the economic value of a wave measured is the first step to getting it protected and getting as many surfers to sign the petition and securing a debate in Parliament would be a big step forward.
But there is a potential pitfall. Putting a value on a natural resource can encourage the people who want to destroy it to offer compensation in the form of an equivalent or greater amount of money. Natural resources such as waves have to recognised for their intrinsic value as well as their economic value.