United Nations Sees Surfing as a Means to International Development

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Not bad for a group of surfers.


The Inertia

What are your expectations of your next surf trip? Catch a few waves? Drink a few beers? Maybe try some local cuisine?

I bet supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals wasn’t on your list. The truth is, as well scoring some epic waves, you can be a part of an organization recognized for programs that:

  • Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

In a recent endorsement, The United Nations Office of Sport Development and Peace lent its support to WAVES for Development International’s efforts in Lobitos, Peru and beyond.

Lobitos… sounds familiar right? Well if it doesn’t, it’s a ridiculously long and perfect left hand point break in the North of Peru. Check out Lobitos local, Henry, tear up his backyard.

Despite the fantastic waves (the Lobitos point break is only one of a number of world class breaks nearby), the town of Lobitos finds itself on hard times.

Locals and concerned foreign surfers have long seen surfing as a means to return Lobitos to its former glory. However, the task of ensuring that the money surfers bring into town find its way into community improvement projects rather than pad the pockets of a few wealthy out-of-town investors is no easy task. This is where WAVES for Development comes in.

WAVES connects traveling surfers with the opportunity to give back to the communities where they are staying. From English language classes to environmental education programs, to free swim and surf classes, you can interact and engage with the Lobitos community to not only aid development in the region, but also to create closer links between surfers, the town’s residents, and grassroots initiatives.

It is for these efforts that in December of 2015, the team at the UN, namely, Wilfried Lemke, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace formally recognized the contribution that WAVES International has made towards achieving a number of Sustainable Development Goals.

So, if you’re looking to get something more than barrels and beers out of your next surf trip, check out WAVES International and see if you can lend a hand. Don’t worry, there are plenty of barrels and beers in Lobitos, as well.

For more examples of what this looks like on the ground check out the Vimeo and YouTube channels. You can follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin.

Thanks to Gary Parker, Forest Woodward, Jordan Early and Emily Rathmanner for contributing in different ways to this article!



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