3 ways how Climate Change is coming after your surf spots

Norbert Ferenczi
27 of October 2023
3 ways how Climate Change is coming after your surf spots

At the moment this title might be misleading since “Climate Change” is not really just doing things on his own because from one day to another he started to hate surfers. Even if it would happen this way we could not blame it. After all, we are responsible for our climate’s drastic changes.

The main reasons how surfers and the entire humanity made climate change so pissed that now he is furiously gonna destroy our beloved surf spots is generating power by an unsustainable way, cutting down forests, using transportations on a big scale,  our food production for agriculter and using too much of everything , wasting food, wasting energy equals an unhappy Climate Change who now comes after your surf spots in 3 ways. 

1. Killing corals:

Warmer waters also can stress the coral reefs that often help shape the most reliable surf breaks.

Recent studies estimate that half the world’s coral reefs are dead and nearly all could die within 30 years and we are responsible for a huge part of this damage. 

Corals are foundation species and the reefs that they make are found in only 1% of the world’s oceans. Unfortunately, Climate Change threatens reefs all over the world.

 We pump millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. An amount that increased more than 50% since the 18th century. The ocean absorbs about 30% of what we pump out. The result is a warmer climate, warmer water and oceans that are becoming increasingly acidic. The result…weaker corals. Corals are home to a special kind of algae. Overly warm water stresses the corals , causing the algae to abandon their homes. When the algae leaves , so does the corals’ color. This is called coral bleaching. Since the algaes are an important energy source, the corals have a much harder time of getting the energy they need to live.

2. Rising sea level

Scientists predict that sea levels could rise up to six-feet by 2100.  An increase this large will swallow beaches—impacting public access, beach recreation, and healthy ecosystems. Unfortunately surfing will bear the brunt of rising seas.  In areas where the seafloor is sandy and flat (a beach break), the wave may break further inshore, thus changing the size and shape of the wave. Areas where the seafloor is uneven and rocky (a reef break), higher sea levels will inundate the reef, leaving less area for the wave to break and increasing the possibility that the wave might not break at all.  

In fact, just three-feet of sea level rise will render most breaks unsurfable. As sea levels rise, the daily tide range will significantly change, making low tides and high tides much higher in the future.  The change in tides means surf breaks that are best at low tides could disappear altogether. Depending on how much sea levels rise, keep in mind six-feet by 2100, surf spots around the world are at great risk.

Climate change and rising seas are drowning our waves. By 2050 it’s estimated that 80% of California’s surf spots will disappear due to sea level rise, as most of polynesian islands.

3. Irregulates wind patterns

From the University of Oakland a new modeling happened just by observing the changes of the wind patterns. Climate Change is going to increase the wave height in the west coast and decrease on the east coast of New Zealand . This is happening because of certain changes of the wind patterns. The wind tends to circulate over the atmosphere with a specific pattern and as the globe increases its temperature this pattern should change and shift slightly towards the pole and this will change the wave characteristics too.  It can also happen that we will be  experiencing different wind directions from the ones we got used to season by season. We expect much bigger and more powerful waves during the winter months and a significant decrease of wave height for the summer months. 

Now the question is. Could we stop in some ways the vicious Climate Change or is it just gonna come and destroy our surf spots no matter what. The good news is that we can still be friends if we change a few things in our daily life. Save energy at home. Consider walking or using bikes. Eat more vegetables, shop responsibly. Reduce, reuse and recycle instead of always buying new products. Speak up and inspire. The smallest move of you can make a big change on the other side of the world.

Make friends with Climate Change and surf forever our beloved waves!