Exclusive Interview with Save the Waves Film Festival Director

Save the Waves is an incredible organization created by surfers, for surfers. Their mission is simple: protect and preserve the coastal environment with a focus on the surf zone. With many projects underway and numerous success stories under their belt, Save the Waves added an annual film festival to the agenda in 2008 in an effort to bring environmental awareness to more individuals and raise money for their causes. Here, film festival director, Trey Highton, shares some big projects the organization is currently working on as well as how to get involved.

For someone who’s not familiar, can you tell us a bit about Save the Waves and what you do?

We are working to create a world where waves and coastlines are cherished and protected; surfing provides a proactive vehicle for long-term coastal conservation. Utilizing a unique combination of protected areas, economics, and direct action, Save the Waves partners with locals to preserve their coastal resources and in turn strengthen their communities.

What are some big projects you’re currently working on?

We currently have a campaign to stop President Trump from building a seawall on Doughmore Beach, Ireland, to ironically protect one of his golf courses from rising sea levels. In STW’s hometown of Santa Cruz, we have been working with our partners from the city and Surfrider Foundation to pinpoint the cause of high levels of bacteria at one of our most popular surfing beaches, Cowells, and have implemented netting along the wharf to keep pigeons and seabirds from roosting. This has already led to a near 50% decrease in bacteria levels in recent tests and we are excited to move this beloved beach off of California’s “Beach Bummer” list next summer. Our Bahia de Todos Santos World Surfing Reserve is also proactively and successfully working to protect one of Baja Norte’s best waves, Tres Emes, from an ill-conceived industrial lobster processing plant from damaging the wave and nearby beaches.

Saving the waves for generations of surfers to come.

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