“Dear entrepreneurs, managers and coaches of the surf schools of Portugal, the growth of this sector – reflected on the growth and development of its operators – is an evidence to which I’ve been witness since its beginning in 1992. From the schools operating only during 2 summer months to those which started working during the 365 days of the year, offering an opportunity to those curious about the sport and providing a wide service to their communities, those were the first steps which made Portugal a country of which we can now be proud of, with clear roots in the sport, tourism, and sea literacy. The country became richer with the action of the surf schools in those diverse areas, which eventually expressed very clearly in the current promotional efforts made by Portugal to the world through surfing.
Once again, the sea has been establishing itself as one of the main references of the Portuguese people’s identity, with the recent creation of a Ministry of the Sea being good proof of that. In fact, throughout the centuries the extraordinary achievements of our men and women of the sea, from the Discoveries to Nazaré, have been characterizing the nation and taking the name of Portugal beyond borders.
This ancestral connection with the ocean has educated and created great athletes, great surfers, and great protectors of the oceans. More recently, with the development and transformation of the tourism sector, we have had the opportunity to share this intrinsic knowledge with enthusiasts from all over the world, contributing to a greater transcultural understanding. The privileged positioning that Portugal reached in the international surf tourism market is in great part due the entrepreneurs who, long before this was a lucrative activity, chased their dreams of living of and for surfing, making it available to an increasing part of the population.
But a long way is still to go, from the issues surrounding the legislation and regulation of our activity to the consolidation of the national surfing in the areas of both tourism and sport, as well as in the stimulation of a more knowledgeable society regarding the sea and its waves.
Now that surfing has developed and the sector has radically transformed, there is a wide consensus that the resources on which it all depends – the waves – are in many cases overcrowded. Thus, it is determinant to come up with a national strategy for the management of our beaches, which considers their different users, by properly planning and regulating the commercial activities so we can witness the consolidation of the sector. As such, the search for effective solutions that help both the surf operators and the whole surfing community, has been and will continue being one of our main guiding principles, as we strive to guarantee a sustained and sustainable development, based on the balance of the sociocultural, economic and environmental dimensions.
The success of our mission will be entirely dependent on the support and involvement of our associated members, as well as of the remaining agents, so that we can become a truly sea-oriented society and thus develop activities which make us proud and transmit our long cultural heritage.
We deeply believe that unity will be the cornerstone of the solution and we will always be willing to hear everyone’s perceptions and suggestions.”
The President of the Direction Board,
João Diogo Pinto dos Santos