Even the sporadic downpours couldn’t dampen the class of women’s surfing at the New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival at Fitzroy Beach, Taranaki. The level of women’s surfing is rapidly evolving and the tricky conditions made the exhibition of speed, power and flow all the more impressive. The final battle between the Australian super-grom Keely Andrew and the Hawaiian seasoned professional Coco Ho was a nail biter, with Keely Andrew securing the win as the heaven’s opened at the final horn. Keep an eye out for this young surf star!
Sustainable Coastlines was there all week, educating people about the challenges of marine debris we face in New Zealand and around the world. The team were positioned right in he thick of the competition village set up by the surf lifesaving club, and gave presentations to passers by, as well as to over 250 school students in the area about the issues, all the while having a lot of fun doing it – basically doing what we do best!
Lots of clean-ups occurred on the beach and around the festival this year, but we also had practical activities to keep kids busy and interested. Face painting got all the kids excited and we had dolphins, mermaids and anchors splashed on faces and arms around the whole festival. Chocolate fishing was a huge hit again this year with the young environmentalists learning responsible ways to enjoy and look after the coasts they love.
Aside from event litter, we were very interested in the frequency at which certain items turned up on the coast. Common items that Sustainable Coastlines find around the entire country were also widespread on the Taranaki coast. These included 200 food wrappers, 142 caps and lids, 50 parking tickets and a disturbing amount of cigarette butts. The total haul of rubbish over the festival was 10 kilograms, which equated to 120 litres or 1,225 individual items removed from the coast.
We would like to extend a huge thanks to New Zealand Home Loans, Surfing Taranaki, New Plymouth District Council, St John’s Bosco Primary School, and all the organisations that made the New Zealand Surf Festival such a memorable success.
An enormous thank you also goes out to the local folk of Taranaki for hosting an event of this nature, and accommodating the people associated with the event. Overall, we thought the event was run very smoothly and were pleased to again see sustainable initiatives incorporated into an experience where this beautiful coastline is shared with a worldwide audience.