Today marked the day when Playa Hermosa de Garabito, Costa Rica was selected as the first World Surfing Reserve in Central America. This selection was based on the quality of the wave, the ecological importance of the area, and the support of the local community to protect this beach from pollution and over development.
Representatives from Save the Waves, the non-porfit who created the guidelines for a surfing reserve, the World Surfing League, Costas Verdes (who do tree plantings along the coast), the Surf Conservation Partnership, Conservation International, and Jaco Impact all were on hand to celebrate the achievement and thank the community for their support. Guest speakers included the tourism director for Garabito and former Costa Rican woman’s champion Lisbeth Vindas. Thank you videos were sent from World Championship Tour competitors Brisa Hennessy and Carlos Muñoz. Carlos grew up less than 10 minute’s drive from the break and has honed his powerful carves and air game in the powerful beach break.
The event began as children from the local elementary school performed a dance and sang the national anthem. Parents from the community sold snacks and gifts to the attendees in the school’s plaza. The directors of each of the mentioned contributing organizations gave a short speech emphasizing the importance of protecting the beach for tourism, for the natural habitat, and for future generations of surfers. And after the ceremony the crowd followed a live band down to the beach where a monument was presented as well as a small plot of land to be built into a playground for kids.
Playa Hermosa will join the growing network of World Surfing Reserves across the globe including Malibu, California; Ericeira, Portugal; Manly Beach, Australia; Santa Cruz, California; Huanchaco, Peru; Bahia Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico; Punta de Lobos, Chile; Gold Coast, Australia; Guarda do Embaú, Brazil; and Noosa Heads, Australia.