Peru just passed an amazing law, something that South` Africa should have done years ago.
According to the International Surfing Association, Peruvian president Ollanta Humala last week signed legislation for the Protection of Peru’s coastline and its surf breaks. Law 2780 safeguards Peru’s beaches from construction that may “affect the coast and its waves that are ideal for surfing”.
Can you imagine if we had done that years before the pristine shifting dunes of Cape St Francis were choked by invasive aliens planted there so developers could run rampant over some of the most pristine real estate in our beautiful country?
Imagine the point at Supertubes with a wide strip of indigenous vegetation set back from the beach to allow the dunes and vegetation, including those iconic aloes, to exist in their natural state? Instead, we built on top of dunes all over the country.
The view became highvalue currency to enrich land owners and developers, but at what cost? It cannot be calculated.
Imagine if there were no houses within 100 metres or more of the beach all along our coast, from west to east. We already have seen how storm surges, floods and huge winter storms (and these are only going to get worse as climate change turns up the heat) can wreak havoc on overzealous development too close to the shore.
Remember the huge storm of September 2001 that saw carnage along the Atlantic seaboard? A giant swell, spring high tide and storm surge devastated man-made structures all around Cape Town. In October, a report released by the City of Cape Town found that in 25 years or less, Cape Town could lose 25 square kilometres of coast from rising sea- levels and storms surges.
The risk assessment, by Coastal Coordinator Darryl Colenbrander, states that 14 locations around the Peninsula are extremely vulnerable and under threat, some of which are already seeing the effects after recent severe storms. Approximately R5 billion worth of infrastructure exists in these areas. Drastic measures are required, the report says.
Remember the mass destruction in KwaZulu-Natal in March 2007? A giant storm formed almost on top of them. It created 50 foot swell and a two metre storm surge. Add to that a big spring high tide. Carnage.
If urban planners had more foresight, South Africa would be a totally different place along the coast. Urban environments in cities like Durban, East London, PE, Plet and Cape Town would have an incredible natural park right there.
Countries, including Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, have embraced surfing by opening their doors to a range of international events.
The inaugural longboarding championships – our Simone Robb won the women’s world title – took place in Huanchaco, Peru. The bodyboard champs took place in Venezuela. The SUP titles took place near Lima, Peru.
The surfing games, won by South Africa, took place in Santa Catalina, Panama. The masters champs were held in Ecuador.
And next year looks no dif-
GO BIG: Yadin Nicol sets himself up for the tube at Pipeline on Day 1 of the Billabong Pipeline Masters this week.