Over a week in mid August, led by ALF staff and Morotai Surfing Association team members in partnership with the Tourism Department and Planning Department of Morotai government, Locally Managed Marine Areas Indonesia, and Conservation International Indonesia we carried out community outreach to socialise surfing as a platform for empowerment, conservation, equity and sustainable development. Visiting sixteen of the now eighteen surf clubs we are establishing across villages in Morotai, we held two hour community meetings with youth and village governments to discuss ideas related to how surfing can be used in these ways and what vision locals have for their communities regarding surfing and the surf breaks out the front of their villages.
The outreach was an emphatic success, with communities, village organisations and government departments rallying together, realising the passion there is for surfing and the potential this sport has as a foundation for a sustainable future for the island.
“We can make change for Morotai’s future with collaboration and synergy that strong.” Assyura, Morotai government Tourism Department, inspired by the passion and commitment of local surfers and their communities.
The next phase, to be carried out in November and December, will involve village governments writing formal letters declaring their support for the surf clubs and the protection of waves as a natural and social resource, including the surrounding ecosystems on land and in the sea.
Approximately 25% of the three hundred registered surfers are girls. Some fo the name locals have chosen for their clubs include Jobubu Wave Hunters, Cape America (after the cape where American soldiers camped during World War Two) and Boat Sliders. Next the surf clubs are choosing names for the waves to create a local identity and ownership around the surf breaks. Yew!