Amazing weather, world-class women’s surfing and the festive atmosphere saw thousands of spectators come down to the beach throughout the duration of the festival. The surf conditions were again terrific, and showcased the skills from the likes of Sofia Mulanovich of Peru, local favorite Paige Hareb, and winner Courtney Conlogue from the United States.
Sustainable Coastlines had a slightly different presence in Taranaki this year, with a stronger focus on educating people about the challenges of marine debris we face in New Zealand and around the world. The team used the Education Station as the educational hub on the beach, also moving out into the community delivering presentations to over 200 school students in the area about the issues – doing what we do best.
Not only clean-ups occurred on the beach and around the festival this year, but we also had practical activities to keep kids busy and interested. Making artwork from collected rubbish was a popular one, with lots of kids making all sorts of creations from colourful hard plastics and hot-glue.
This year we found less rubbish on the beach, which was a good sign. 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 2,850 food wrappers, 590 caps and lids, 190 parking tickets and a disturbing 500 cigarette butts. The total haul of rubbish over the festival was 56.65 kilograms, which equated to 406 litres or over 6,000 individual items removed from the coast.
We would like to extend a huge thanks to TSB Bank, Surfing Taranaki, New Plymouth District Council, Sacred Heart Girls College, Fitzroy 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.