By Daniel Alcock
During the bank holiday weekend, the Surf Rider Foundation organised an international beach clean involving surf clubs from all over Europe. The idea of this is to increase international awareness of beach contamination.
This European beach campaign is especially important for Gran Canaria because there are plenty of coastal areas which are littered with rubbish. So bad is the problem that it is a pretty hard task to select the beach which needs cleaning the most.
The beach clean in Gran Canaria was organised by Club Oleaje from the north of the island. Here there are some fantastic beaches which go relatively un-noticed by the tourist. The beaches are not usually as sandy as the beaches in the south and if they are, they are black sand. They are quite often more exposed than the beaches of the south but far less crowded and more natural. These beaches offer a far more consistent, quality wave, but also have much to offer to the non surfer - some are absolutely beautiful! Standout beaches are Bañaderos where there is a natural swimming pool and "Vagabundo" (San Felipe) which is nestled in a spectacular green valley. If you search, there are many more nice little coves and ram-sack beach bars to be enjoyed.
Club Oleaje had arranged to clean up the beach known to surfers as los Enanos and the kids from the Surf Canaries Surf club from the south went up to lend a hand. This is an account of what they found:
As on all Saturday mornings, the Surf Experience surf bus picked up the team Jack, Charlie, Tegan, Josh, Camaron and Jonas. But this weekend was different. We headed directly north to the beach "Los Enanos" a fantastic beach break but unfortunately littered with rubbish.
After meeting with the other surf club Oleaje, we set about picking up and classifying the rubbish of the beach with the whole team wearing gloves for h y giene reasons.
The volunteer turnout was poor, highlighting the fact that the level of pollution awareness on the island is way below that of other countries where beach clean turnouts were much higher.
After a morning of hard but gratifying work, the beach was left fantastic but this was only one of a number of littered beaches on the island and attitudes and a change in culture is going to be very important in years to come.
Surfers are traditionally associated with being environmentally friendly people and this is because of the compulsory link with the aquatic environment. For example, the last leg of the surfing world tour which was held in Bells Beach, Australia was operated on a carbon displacement program. This is an interesting concept whereby businesses or people alike can "offset" their CO2 usage by measuring it, then ensuring that this is replaced by a tree re-planting scheme.
At the end of the day we as surfers are not heavy, intense environmentalists with CO2 statistics and grave prophecies about the earth's demise, we simply ask for each to review their way in which they reduce, reuse and recycle their waste.
Oh yeah, and if you go to the beach, when you leave, please leave only footprints! J
School: Puerto Rico
Weight: 39 kg
Time Surfing: 5 months
The Best Thing About Surfing: Fun and doing tricks
The Worst Thing About Surfing: Having to write about it in the surf club Surf "Sessions Analysis" every week
Surf Board: 5'10" Tropical Brasil
Favourite Surf Spot: Playa Del Hombre
Best Location in the World: Pipeline, Hawaii
Girlfriend?: yes but she doesn't know it yet...
Favourite Food: Vegetable Soup
Worst Food: Spinach
Favourite Drink: 7Up
Favourite Manoeuvre: Floater, Ariel
Favourite Surfer: Kelly Slater
Favourite Music : Sound track from young guns 2 (surf video)
Other Interests: Skating
Ambition in Life?: Be the best surfer in the world