WSR Nomination Process

Published: 27 April 2021
Last edited: 27 April 2021

Each year, Save The Waves accepts one new World Surfing Reserve from surf communities all around the world. The application process requires significant work from local communities and their inquiry is based on the following core criteria: 


1) Quality and consistency of the wave(s);

2) Important environmental characteristics;

3) Culture and surf history;

4) Governance capacity and local support;

5) Priority Conservation Area


Each application is reviewed by an indepedent Vision Council made up of professionals in the conservation, business, nonprofit, and surf fields. Once the World Surfing Reserve is selected based on the rigorous criteria, they undergo the Stewardship Planning Process and the other building blocks to formally dedicate the World Surfing Reserve.


Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase

Enabling factors

  • Score highly in the WSR criteria (see above)
  • Excellent local support and capacity to carry out conservation projects
  • Excellent communication between Save The Waves and the applying World Surfing Reserve

Lessons learned

  • Local support is absolutely essential in a successful application
  • A diverse set of stakeholder involvement is needed for the program