Thursday, February 16, 2012

World Surfing Reserve Manly-Freshwater Beaches Chosen...

One of the epic curls you'll find at the Manly-Freshwater World Surfing Reserve. Photo:

Kelly Slater named to officially declare Australia’s first ‘World Surfing Reserve’

February 16, 2012 – A century after the first surf board hit the waves on Australian shores at Manly and Freshwater beaches in Sydney, this historic site will be enshrined as Australia’s first World Surfing Reserve (WSR).

World Surfing Reserves recognize and help protect the finest surfing sites in the world, inspired by UNESCO’s World Heritage model recognizing outstanding zones of universal value. Manly-Freshwater will become only the third WSR to be declared in the world to date.

Kelly Slater, WSR Ambassador and 11-time world surfing champion from the USA, will officially declare the WSR honour at a civic ceremony on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at Manly Beach. It will be the first time Slater has undertaken such a duty outside competition, as he has stated that ‘Australia has the world’s best beaches’ and rates many waves among his ‘favourites’. The Sydney event will also mark the Centenary of surfing in Australia. Governor Marie Bashir will also attend the ceremony.

“I'm very stoked to be working alongside WSR to lend a voice and help ensure we honor and recognize the beaches that have brought all of us the lifestyle we love so much,” said Slater.

The ceremony will officially establish this 4 km prime surfing coastline as a World Surfing Reserve, joining other iconic surfing locations already enshrined including Malibu, California (2010) and Ericeira, Portugal (2011).

Proven to be the ‘birthplace of Australian surfing’, with the earliest surfing activities conducted in the late 1880’s, Manly and Freshwater beaches in Sydney are iconic. Surfing has helped mold the unique culture of Sydney, the largest city in Australia, combining the vibrant and cosmopolitan character with a natural coastal lifestyle.

“Manly hosted the first World Surfboard-riding Championship in 1964, which was won by Australian’s ‘Midget’ Farrelly and Phyllis O’Donnell. Since those days, there has grown a long list of locals, including surfers and surf lifesavers, who have won national and world championships,” said Mayor of Manly Jean Hay AM and Chair of the Local World Surfing Reserve Steering Committee.

The history that Manly-Freshwater encompasses is a vital part of Australia’s heritage:

•       It was the site of Australia’s first legal daylight bathing in 1902
•       It hosted the first known body surfing contest in 1908
•       It was the launch site of Australia’s first official surf patrol boat
•       The first surf board riding was performed here in 1912
•       Freshwater hosted Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku in Australia’s first ever surfing demonstration in 1914

"This spot marks the genesis of surfing in Australia, a sport, pastime, industry and culture emblematic of our nation’s image,” said Brad Farmer of World Surfing Reserves. “Surfing in Australia has come of age after a century, with Kelly Slater encouraging coastal users to think about the real value of these irreplaceable resources. This is a historic moment for all Australians and their long and patriotic love affair with surfing and beaches,” said Mr Farmer.

In addition to its cultural and historical significance, the coastal and marine environment of the Manly-Freshwater World Surfing Reserve provides habitat for an important ecosystem. The Reserve boasts one of the largest resident populations of protected weedy sea dragons and a number of threatened and protected species including the eastern water dragon lizard, the grey nurse shark and little penguins. Additionally, more than 160 species of fish have been recorded in the waters of the Reserve.

“What better spot than Manly-Freshwater for a World Surfing Reserve?” remarked Mayor Jean Hay AM. “This place has it all, and I’m delighted to see it get the recognition it deserves.”

“Manly-Freshwater can now take its rightful place in the history of world surfing. Manly-Freshwater is where surfing started its journey as one of Australia’s national obsessions,” said Michael Regan, the Mayor of the Warringah Council which also has jurisdiction of the Manly-Freshwater beaches.

About World Surfing Reserves
World Surfing Reserves (WSR) proactively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and their surrounding environments around the world. WSR is an initiative launched by Save the Waves Coalition (USA) in 2009 in conjunction with National Surfing Reserves (Australia) and other partners.

For more information: 

Service in the Sun 1957 edit from Gary Crockett on Vimeo.

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