Our Future | Turning the tide for positive climate action

Belinda Baggs is a long boarding champion and co-founder of Surfers For Climate.
Belinda Baggs is a long boarding champion and co-founder of Surfers For Climate.

Being a surfer now comes with a responsibility. Both the sport, and the culture, are at an increasing risk due to the effects of climate change.

It's something I think about as I paddle out, the thought sinking into my stomach as I push over the next wave and sit and watch them crash on the white sand.

A warm offshore wind blows dry the saltwater in my hair as I wait for the next set. The summer sun shines bright, warming my back as the cool water surrounding my legs equalises to the perfect body temperature.

It's a good morning to be in the sea. Looking toward shore I spot my son, Rayson. He's frantically paddling an oversized board toward the channel, working his arms through frothy water to make it out the back before the next set.

The waves are just two foot, a day most surfers consider almost flat, but ideal conditions for beginners. At nine years old, Rayson is riding the first waves of his life.

A set approaches, I spin and paddle, gaining momentum until the wave picks me up in its immense energy. Standing, I ride left in a dance with nature, flowing with the movements of the swell as it breaks on the sand below.

Rayson has fallen short of his race for the channel, we meet in the white water and with a big smile he spins, takes off and with a cheeky grin yells 'party wave!' It's the moments like these I live for.

It's moments like these that act as a reminder of why we must take action on preserving our coastlines and sacred places, for future generations to live out their legacy.

Every surfer in 2020 has experienced the impacts of a changing climate. Quite simply, surfing is reliant on healthy oceans and coasts.

So as climate change drives fundamental changes - sea-level rise, ocean warming and acidification - the result could be a great readjusting, and potential loss, of the world's surf communities.

Surfers for Climate is a sea-roots movement dedicated to positive climate action. Whatever your surfing ability, your identity or background, everyone has a role to play in making a difference. We need to look after the earth, the ocean and each other.

Learn by honouring first nations connection to country and mobilise a movement of wave riders to implement climate solutions on an individual, industry and systematic level.

With 2.5 million surfers making up our salty tribe here in Australia, and more than 35 million surfers spread across the globe, we can unite and turn the tide on climate action so we can all continue riding waves in thriving oceans.

  • Belinda Baggs is a long boarding champion and co-founder of Surfers For Climate.