For the MEO Pro Portugal, WSL is teaming up with Regeneration Surf, a coalition of four incredible organizations focused on restoration and youth education and Shisiedo's Blue Project, which is dedicated to improving the health and beauty of our ocean.
In 2022, WSL continues to be committed to protecting and conserving the global ocean through the We Are One Ocean initiative and is bringing this to life at each Championship Tour event through community-led activations. One project in Portugal is turning to regenerative systems as a way to harness multiple solutions that we can find within our ocean, and the surfing community.
Regeneration Surf is pioneering innovative ways for surfers and coastal communities to engage in ocean literacy, citizen science and marine restoration - creating win-win scenarios for the ocean and humanity, starting at a grassroots level.
Regeneration Surf is a coalition of four Portugal based organizations which include; Mossy Earth, Seaforester, Zero Waste Lab, and Oceans and Flow all experts in the fields of ocean literacy education, science and marine restoration. The partnership project is designed to promote regenerative systems, both socially and environmentally, and is being coordinated by Citizens of Surf, an official United Nations Decade of Ocean Science Activity. Additional partners include the CETEMARES institute and IPLeiria Lab in Peniche.
Throughout the MEO Portugal Pro event window and throughout the year a collaborative effort from ReGeneration Surf will help connect local residents, and visiting surfers, to ways in which they can engage with regenerative thinking, feeling and doing, to help restore the ocean.
The Portuguese coastline is renowned for an abundance of world class waves, where the energy of the North Atlantic weather systems meets an array of cold-water marine ecosystems. In the area where the MEO Peniche Pro is being held, there is a rich history of artisanal fishing and a powerful convergence of coastal culture, industry and ecology. In the past, extensive kelp forests could be found across most Portuguese rocky shores. Now, these productive habitats are mostly restricted to northern Portugal with only few remnant populations in central regions. Laminaria ochroleuca, also known as the "Golden Kelp", is one of the Iberian Peninsula's native kelp species that has suffered severe declines. The reasons for the disappearance of this majestic macro-algae are numerous such as: water pollution, changes in water temperature, intense grazing pressure, increased sedimentation and extreme weather.
Kelp forests are a great example of a regenerative system. Kelps are tremendously fast growing, making them one of the most productive ecosystems on earth. These complex underwater habitats support incredible biodiversity and provide nursery grounds for juvenile fish and crustaceans. They are a powerhouse for the climate, sequestering carbon at least five times more efficiently than tropical forests, and reducing the increasing acidification of our oceans. As surfers, we may see them as a nuisance when floating kelp gets caught in our fins or leash and slows us down when we're catching a wave. What we need to understand is that these habitats are fundamental for a healthy and thriving ocean ecosystem.
Surfers are encouraged to get involved with the reforestation of Ocean Forests through ReGeneration Surf
Along with raising awareness of the need to restore local kelp habitats and piloting a project to physically replant Golden Kelp off the Portuguese coast, ReGeneration Surf partners will be offering workshops on how to incorporate regenerative thinking into other areas that might impact our relationship with the ocean, such as ocean literacy and waste management.
Regenerative thinking with Zero Waste Lab
Regenerative thinking helps us find ways to adapt and change our systems - and we need only look to nature for the best ideas. Part of this process is exploring and experimenting with new systems, finding positive feedback loops and supporting ways everyone can easily and effortlessly support the protection of the ocean to produce multiple benefits. We're talking win-win scenarios.
Zero Waste Lab is a non-profit organization which addresses both our individual responsibility in embracing best consumption and waste-prevention practices in daily life, as well as our capacity to influence others through pro-activism. Their workshops facilitate design focussed solutions to our consumption problems, and show how we can transition to be more like nature and produce no waste. They bring together people from the local ecosystem, enabling shared initiatives and helping weave of synergies, collaborations and potentialities of moving towards a zero waste system on land.
Regenerative feeling - Oceans and Flow
Regenerative feeling connects people "emotionally" to our ocean environment, and it continually renews itself with every experience. It helps them remember their ocean roots and care about the future of our ocean. With a culture of concern, we can become ocean advocates and drivers of a sustainable movement.
Oceans and Flow are an International team focused on water and aquatic movement. They have spent the last 2 years creating Programa Atlantis - an educational event featuring engaging talks, actions and workshops to promote ocean literacy, and their work has just been featured in National Geographic. They facilitate innovative journeys, deep experiences and inspiring films that combine ecotourism, adventure, well-being, art, culture, with different aquatic practices in connection with nature. Through their OCEAN Session, youngsters will dive into aquatic practices such as snorkeling and freediving, sharing the benefits of water to cultivate self-knowledge and well-being. Oceans and Flow offer an initiation to the underwater world and an invitation to feel the elements of nature, connect with the Ocean and get to know marine life. This is where regeneration meets the next generation of ocean advocates.
Regenerative doing - Seaforester and Mossy Earth
Regenerative doing is for the ocean lovers who want to go the extra step to support ocean restoration initiatives through citizen science. By participating in ocean science and research, surfers become part of the solution and help harness the potential the ocean has to combat climate change.
Seaforester is on a mission to restore the forgotten forests in our ocean. Mossy Earth enables their members to plant native trees and rewild key ecosystems while mitigating their carbon emissions. Together they are working towards reversing the alarming disappearance of kelp forests around Portugal's coastline, in order to safeguard the oceans' vital role of carbon sequestration, maintaining fish stocks and securing the planet's wellbeing. Their kelp restoration partnership aims to advance the novel ‘green gravel' method, in association with researchers at the CETEMARES & IPLeiria lab in Peniche. This process uses lab grown kelps, attached to small rocks, that are distributed across degraded reefs to reestablish new kelp canopies. By engaging surfers in the cultivation and deployment of green gravel, the project invites opportunities for citizen scientists and local marine stakeholders to become actively engaged in the restoration process.
Regeneration Surf is now an official activity for the UN's Decade of Ocean Science, with a mission to engage and involve surfers in "the science we need, for the ocean we want" by 2030. Find out more by visiting the Regeneration Surf website: Regeneration.surf and partners: Cetemares, Oceans and Flow, Mossy Earth, Seaforester, Zero Waste Lab, and Decade of Ocean Science.