Ramon Navarro, Chile. Photo: Patagonia
Ramon Navarro, Chile. Photo: Patagonia

Punta de Lobos Saved…Forever

Iconic Chilean wave named a World Surfing Reserve

Even in this challenging world, good news happens. Crazy, but it’s true.

Like just this week. Punta de Lobos, the beautiful, powerful, majestic lefthander along Chile’s coast, was named a World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Waves Coalition, blocking development on the point that may have harmed the wave and the sea life that call it home.

A donor group composed of Patagonia, the Marisla Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Waitt Foundation and nearly 1,000 individual and small donors worked together and bought the land overlooking the break, turning it over to the local non-profit Fundación Punta de Lobos. A local philanthropist had actually purchased the property a few years back and held the land in trust until the local community was able to raise the funds to buy it back. For years, development threatened the sensitive and breathtakingly beautiful land. Builders coveted the pristine ocean views and threatened to erect private condos and hotels, blocking access and forever changing the character of Punta de Lobos.

Patagonia was involved early on, as Punta de Lobos is the home of one their most visible team riders, Ramón Navarro. The company’s “Fisherman’s Son” project—a book and film—chronicling Navarro’s life around Punta de Lobos and the fishing and surfing community surrounding the break helped fund efforts to preserve the place.

"This was an ambitious goal with a lot of peaks and valleys along the way. We are incredibly proud to be able to achieve this first important conservation milestone and officially add Punta de Lobos to the World Surfing Reserve roster", said Nik Strong-Cvetich, Executive Director of Save The Waves.

“While traveling, I saw many similar coasts around the world that had been polluted or were scarred forever by out-of-control developers,” Navarro wrote in an essay for Patagonia. “I saw places that were pristine before, but had already been ruined. I realized the coast that I loved so much was also under threat—from pulp mills, sewage pipelines, dams, and senseless development.”

It’s under threat no more, Navarro. Congratulations.

For more, check out Save the Waves’ website.