When the northeastern swells come with their onshore winds, many locals and long-time Siargao residents know that it’s time to head out of General Luna. Motorcycles convoy with loaded board racks to quiet fishing villages up north. If you stick close to the coastline, you’ll chance upon a break with no other surfer out. The waves are consistent. The water is clear. The surf is good regardless of the tide. It’s only a matter of time until motorcycles with board racks cram the northern coastline. Before that day arrives, we have to set the standards so we could all do it right.
The importance of eco-friendly tourism
Here in Siargao, we know better than to let tourism trample over the natural prestige of a place. This is why Kudo Surf is spearheading a surf management plan that will prevent and curb the ill effects of bringing in more people to a spot.
Kudo Surf is a world leader in promoting eco-friendly surfing competition materials and surf apparel, and we are determined to work with the local government to layout the appropriate steps in making the whole island of Siargao an eco-friendly surf destination.
While there is no study linking surfing to ill effects on fishing habitats, there are numerous studies that report how human waste, sewage, boating, and agricultural farming waste can kill corals and deplete the supply of fish. With the proper implementation of a surf management plan, Kudo Surf aims to promote positive tourism while minimizing our impact on our surroundings.
What is a surf management plan and who takes part in it?
Surfers and community members need to work together to carry out a successful surf management plan. Aside from preserving the environment, the locals can also benefit from the boost in economic activity in their area. Tourists will be willing to spend in local stores. Boatmen will have more passengers for quick and short boat trips. At the end of the day, these contributions can help raise the standard of living across these seaside barangays.
To preserve the eco-diversity and sanctity of Siargao’s marine territories, Kudo Surf has laid out the groundwork for surf tourism:
1) To gain extensive reach, these spots can be promoted in all the resorts in Siargao.
2) Tourists who want to go to these spots may only do so through land travel through the towns. Taking a boat from Salvacion to any of these spots will strictly be prohibited because long boat rides have an adverse effect on fishing.
3) Only short-distance boat trips will be permitted in these areas. Surfers can choose to hire a local boat for P100/person to take them to the break, or they can simply paddle out from the shore.
4) Locals are encouraged to sell food and drinks to the tourists who visit their area. By harnessing the boost in foot traffic with small enterprises, local storeowners can gain profit for their own needs.
5) Kudo Surf will assist local municipalities in doing the following:
– Implementation of a proper waste disposal system for human waste,
– Implementation of a safe waste disposal system for chemical waste from farming,
– Setting boat speed limits around fishing sanctuaries to prevent disturbances in the ecosystem.
Surfers, tourists, local government officials, fishermen, boatmen, members of the community, and volunteers need to work together to successfully implement this surf management and eco-tourism plan across Siargao. When done right, we can all look forward to a bright future for the island. If we miss our chance, we can lose the Siargao that we all love.
What can you do in your own way?
Eco-tourism is one big and important step for surf brands and local communities. Nobody wants to see another spot get burned because of improper trash disposal and mismanaged crowds. We’ve heard enough of these true-to-life horror stories in other countries. Now, Kudo Surf is seeking everyone’s help to prevent that from happening here.
As meetings with municipal mayors and other government officials are underway, here is what you can do to contribute to the cause of proper surf tourism and environmental protection:
– Use organic, natural or biodegradable soaps and detergents. The phosphates found in most commercial products are not safe for marine life.
– Do not throw sewage waste directly into the sea, whether from the shore or from a boat.
– If you see anybody dumping waste directly into the water, report the incident to the nearest coastal authority. Take note of the time, date and place of the incident.
– Do not flush household products such as cleansers, beauty products, paint, medicine, sanitary napkins, tampons, and diapers down the toilet.
– Do not use the sewage system until the floodwater is lower than the water level around your house.
The surf management plan reminds us that we have a role to embrace in the ecosystem. If we do not deal with the waste we produce, we shouldn’t expect the environment to solve the problem for us either.
Help Siargao create a positive example for many surf destinations and tourist attractions around the world. Follow our website for updates on these discussions and spread the word about eco-friendly surfing.