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Surf break identification and protection in the Gisborne District

Peryman, PB
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::150404 Sport and Leisure Management , ANZSRC::050205 Environmental Management
This study investigates what is necessary to identify surf breaks and their associated values to provide for their sustainable management in the coastal environment under the RMA. Surf breaks are a finite natural resource and a source of recreation for a diverse and increasingly large range of participants. Approximately 7% [310,000] of New Zealanders are estimated to surf on a regular basis1. Surf-riding contributes to the well-being of participants by promoting health and fitness and cross cultural and intergenerational camaraderie. All this is based on a very simple experience - riding a wave, in particular a wave with the right characteristics - a “surf break”. It is said that “only a surfer knows the feeling”. Gisborne is as close as New Zealand comes to a surf town, famous for its high quality, stress-free waves (Bhana 1996; Brunskill and Morse 2004). The town is made for surfing as far as surfers are concerned; a wide range and intensity of beach breaks, points, river mouths and reefs, for big waves and small, learners to ‘crusty old seadogs’ – Gisborne has it all. The town has a number of surfboard manufacturers, retail outlets and surf ‘schools’, and is also known for the number of world class competition surfers it has produced over the decades (Brunskill and Morse 2004). The need for recognising surf breaks in policy is important in light of rapidly increasing demands influencing land and water (fresh and marine) usage and ultimately affecting the integrity of the coastal environment. Surf breaks and their users provide a unique lens for viewing these competing interests given their location in the ‘mixing zone’ – the confluence of both land and aquatic based effects on the environment. In order to recognise and protect surf breaks effectively an understanding of the values, features and characteristics of surf breaks is required. This is achieved through consultation with experts familiar with the natural qualities of surf breaks and consulting people with experience and knowledge about surf breaks. This process is illustrated through this study.
Source DOI
Copyright © Gisborne District Council
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