Logo: University of Southern California

Surf Symposium

January 07, 2005 —

Tsunami researcher José Borrero of USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering and his colleagues from other institutions will address the science, economics and coastal zone management of surfing at this year’s 4th International Surfing Reef Symposium, to be held Jan. 12-14 in Manhattan Beach, CA.  

Co-hosted by USC and The Surfrider Foundation, this unique biennial conference will bring together oceanographers, engineers, coastal zone managers and surfers from around the world to discuss a variety of topics that are vital to the health and preservation of Southern California’s coastal environment.  Sessions will include natural and artificial surfing reefs, reef preservation, human impacts on surf zone environment and the economy of surfing. 

Borrero, an assistant research professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, co-organized the symposium along with Surfrider Foundation’s Chad Nelsen. Borrero is a tsunami researcher who is currently surveying the devastation in Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra, near the epicenter of the Dec. 26, 2004 underwater earthquake and tsunami. 

“Our goal in hosting this symposium is to continue a trend that began with Kimo Walker in the 1970’s,” Borrero said.  “Though still in its infancy, there is a growing interest in better understanding the science, economics and management of surfing. The purpose of this conference is to advance the scientific understanding of how waves  break; specifically the types of waves ridden in recreational surfing.”

Jose Borrero with local guides in Papua, New Guinea, surveying the effects of a tsunami in September 2002.
More than 25 papers will be presented at the conference, as well as a variety of planned presentations and discussions on such topics as existing reef projects (monitoring and performance), design and proposed reef projects, studies on natural surf breaks, and the future of surfing science, research needs and goals.
Highlights of the symposium will include a discussion of the lessons learned from the Pratte’s Reef project in El Segundo, CA, and results of four years of monitoring an artificial reef in Narrowneck, Australia.  Additional discussions will address the future of other artificial reefs, such as the reef planned for Oil Piers in Ventura Beach, CA.

The symposium will be held at the Joslyn Community Center, located at 1601 Valley Drive in Manhattan Beach, CA.  For more information or to register for the event, go to http://www.surfrider.org/reef4.

--Diane Ainsworth