A new study has found that surfers may unintentionally ingest 10 times more water than swimmers or divers, putting them at higher risk of contracting gastrointestinal illnesses when surfing in contaminated waters.
The study, which may be the first of its kind, was conducted by scientists at Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. It also suggests that because water quality at Oregon beaches is significantly better than more popular surfing destinations, such as California, Hawaii, or Florida, the risk of GI illness is lower for people surfing the frigid waters of the Oregon coast.
“While the risk for Oregon surfers is not high for GI illness, our findings suggest that surfers who spend longer periods of time in recreational waters, or who surf in more contaminated locations, are likely to be at higher risk of contracting GI illnesses,” said David Stone, an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.
The study, funded by Oregon Sea Grant, used a Web-based survey to collect voluntary responses from 520 of the estimated 12,000 surfers in Oregon. Participants estimated the amount of water they ingest during a typical recreational day, and the researchers used historic water quality data collected at six popular surfing beaches to calculate the risk of infection from fecal bacteria using enterococci as an indicator organism.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
World Wave Sites team: Ryan Seelbach, Will Henry, Greg Benoit, Chris LaFranchi, Ben Finney, Jim Moriarty, Fernando Aguerre, Rodney A. Woodstock, Sky, Miles Walsh, Lindsey Davis, Dean LaTourrette, Kara Allen, Christoph Tito Huber, Joao De Macedo, Drew Kampion, Steve Hawk, Brad Farmer, Josh Berry, Wallace J. Nichols, Chad Nelsen, Mark Massara, Len Materman
Last Friday, Save the Waves brought together an interesting mix of surfing eco-activists, industry leaders and deep thinkers to discuss proactively protecting surfing areas by establishing surfing "reserves".
Topics discussed included the importance of surfing heritage and cultural values, protecting the ocean environment, economics and the waves themselves.
Brad Farmer, of the Australian National Surfing Reserves, described the process of establishing surfing reserves in Australia like the one at Lennox, and lessons that might be applied elsewhere.
While establishing protected surfing areas is an ambitious and aspirational goal and there are many important decisions and details to be worked out, I think it is safe to say the group universally agreed that the world's special surfing areas deserve the same types of protection that our land-based recreational havens like Yosemite have.
Stay tuned for more on protecting surfing areas...
Friday, December 5, 2008
WOULD YOU SPEND 15 MINUTES, IF IT MEANT SURFING THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
We thought you would. And the good news is you can. All across the country, surfers are facing access and environmental fights that fail to consider their needs and enormous impact. While fishermen and other recreational ocean users flex big muscle in courthouses and town halls, surfers get pushed aside a 'segment group.' A minor hobby for punk kids - instead of healthy lifestyle for whole families. That's because we let them.
Despite being a 1000-year-old sport with a $7 billion industry, surfing has failed to produce the demographic and economic studies to show who we are, where we live, and what we spend. So while other interest groups bolster their arguments with impressive numbers to prove their positions, all-too often, surfers get blindsided and bowled over, unable to offer a single hard number to support their cases or save their breaks.
Not anymore. With your help, we can start to paint a true picture of who surfers are and how we behave. And every surfer who answers provides another stroke of necessary detail. All you need to do is take 15 minutes to fill out the survey. Here's some quick rules:
Answer honestly. An accurate study is our best weapon.
When in doubt, leave an answer blank. We'd rather have less info than bad info.
Pass it along to your friends.
All information is anonymous. We promise not to share the individual details for commercial purposes, but we will share the bulk data - national, state by state, and as a whole. Right here. That way, surfers, in any fight, in any coastal town - from the most precious, world-class pointbreak to the shittiest, shiftiest sandbar - can proudly walk into any town hall or business office and prove with concrete numbers that surfing is a pursuit as crucial to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in their beach town as any other ocean activity. That enjoying the ocean is much a god-given American right as protecting your beach home investment.
Maybe if we're just as selfish, aggressive and determined as we are in the water, we'll never lose another wave. And if we do, it's because we looked hard, considered it carefully and let it go for a greater good - not because someone snaked it from us.
NOW: TAKE THE SURVEY!