Conservationists work to save Chile’s cherished waves from development

Global Business

Conservationists work to save Chile's cherished waves from development

World renowned surfing venues can bring millions of dollars to small communities who otherwise wouldn’t benefit from tourism. That’s why Chile’s Conservationists want to preserve the waves.

CCTV’s Owen Fairclough has more.

Conservationists work to save Chile's cherished waves from development

Conservationists work to save Chile's cherished waves from development

World renowned surfing venues can bring millions of dollars to small communities who otherwise wouldn’t benefit from tourism. That’s why Chile’s Conservationists want to preserve the waves.

Conservationists say beachfront development is threatening access to the Pichilemu region’s world famous breaks.

Developers are accused of illegally blocking access to the beach not just for surfers, but commercial fishermen.

“You have to reach agreements with the owners. Often authorities can’t afford to compete financially and can’t always pass the legislation to turn these areas into national parks,” Roberto Cordoba, the mayor of Pichilemu said.

Surfonomics, as the Conservationists call it, is the economic benefits for great surf breaks and the impact of either losing access to them or losing the wave altogether.

A 2014 study found surfing can bring up to $6.5 million a year to Pichilemu, where the average monthly wage is around $1,200.

Ramon Navarro, a professional surfer, helped raise a quarter of a million dollars to buy and protect a strip of Pichileum’s coast from development.

He was hoping the region’s growing global popularity will compel the government to protect all of it.



Nik Strong-Cvetich on protecting surf spots
For more on the protecting surf spots and its commercial pressures, CCTV America’s Owen Fairclough spoke to Nik Strong-Cvetich, the executive director of Save The Waves Coalition. It’s campaigned for surf spots like Punta de Lobos to be protected from development.