4935-161 Viana do Castelo
Eurosurf Adaptive 2019Viana do Castelo, Portugal
First European Adaptive Surfing Contest
Held from May 20 – 26, 2019, on the beach of Cabedelo, in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, the European Adaptive Surfing Championship (EASC) was the first European contest for elite adaptive surf athletes which also featured senior classifiers from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA).
Founded in 1989, the Surf Clube de Viana (SCV) was the first surf school in Portugal and the non-profit association now manages the High Performance Surf Centre of Viana do Castelo, which is an energy efficient venue that hosted and supported the EASC.
With a volunteer tree planting initiative, solar powered-stage, awards infusing local cultural heritage, and a carbon neutral footprint, the EASC served as a platform for surfers of all abilities to showcase their skills, stoke, and stewardship.
Sustainability ManagementSection Performance - 74%
Naturally, as an adaptive surfing event, the EASC made sure the host venue and competition site were accessible to all competitors and attendees. For the alternative competition site, there was no infrastructure for individuals with physical disabilities, but the organization built a new sidewalk to connect to the main access route, which they gifted as another wheelchair accessible beach in Viana! Event organizers coordinated logistics and risk management plans with local lifeguards leading up to the event and representatives from the local hospitals were on-site to help with health and safety services as needed.View Criteria
Utilizing the STOKE Sustainability Management System template, the Surf Clube de Viana and event organizers were able to create their sustainability plan, set targets, and orient volunteers efficiently. In order to gauge how effective their initiatives and education were, the surf club partnered with a team of researchers at the local university—Management and Leisure School of Viana's Polytechnic Institute—who surveyed all attendees at the end of the event to measure their understanding of the EASC’s sustainability projects and their overall satisfaction with the event to verify the accuracy of claims and promotional materials. This helps mitigate greenwashing and guide organizers to make adjustments for the next event.View Criteria
- 1.6.5 Accessibility & 1.8.1 Emergency Response
- 1.1 Sustainability Management System | 1.4 Visitor Satisfaction | 1.5 Accuracy of Promotions
Social and Economic Impacts ManagementSection Performance - 70%
The EASC included various benefit initiatives for the local community. The Surf Clube de Viana (SCV) organized a fair centered around sustainability in the High Performance Surf Center for underprivileged youth from a local school. "Projeto Terra" was an opportunity for the students to sell projects they created in school with all revenue from the fair contributing to the sustainability education programs. Medical professionals provided free physiotherapy services for participants and all activities with local students were organized around the #BeActive campaign—a European Erasmus project to promote the practice of regular exercise in youth. Also, the SCV organized free surf classes for people with disabilities from the community, in partnership with the national association's local chapter (APPACDM). Furthermore, the venue hosted an exhibit of surf photos of the African ex-colony of Portugal—S. Tome and Principe—for a project where attendees and competitors could donate surf gear to kids in S. Tome.View Criteria
In line with the event’s ethos of making surfing, competition, and community accessible for all, the EASC offered discounted and sponsored surf experiences for people with disabilities and low-income qualifying competitors and residents. A tour of the event was organized for a group of underprivileged youth from local impoverished communities where aluminium water bottles and regular surf classes were offered to all through the High Performance Surf Center.View Criteria
- 2.1.1 - .2 Community Development: Education & Health
- 2.7 Equal Access
Cultural Heritage Impacts ManagementSection Performance - 59%
Prizes and special awards were made of recycled paper and represent the "Cabeçudos" (the big heads), which are hand-made characters that reflect a cultural tradition of Viana.View Criteria
The SCV took great pride in hosting Europe’s first adaptive surf contest. Beginning with the opening ceremony, all of the participating nations paraded through the city center and concluded with a sand pouring ceremony from each country’s home beaches followed by a performance by their local Portuguese traditional music association.View Criteria
The SCV is a steward of surf heritage in the region and took every opportunity to educate athletes, families, and staff/volunteers about Portuguese surf history, the surf club’s legacy as part of its 30-year anniversary, as well as local cultural heritage with books and interpretive signage throughout the venue. Seminars with sustainability experts were featured throughout the event outside of competition. The High Performance Center is working on becoming an international hub and R&D center on adaptive surfing and surf therapy, with multiple international thought leaders on the subject coming before, during and after the event to establish partnerships and create research projects.View Criteria
- 3.5.2 Incorporation of Culture - Design
- 3.5.1 Incorporation of Culture - Operations
- 3.4 Interpretation
Environmental Impacts ManagementSection Performance - 92%
The solar powered stage (no generators), close proximity to the competition site, and local tree planting initiative helped reduce the event’s emissions significantly. As for unavoidable emissions resulting from grid power used at the High Performance Center, non-composted food waste, jet ski fuel used to keep athletes safe in the water, as well as athlete and staff travel, the Eurosurf Adaptives partnered with the Plantar uma Árvore organization to become a carbon neutral event. The tree planting restoration project is in a wildfire-stricken area only 1.5 hours away from the event in the Serra do Alvão region (https://plantarumaarvore.org/).View Criteria
Although the event organizers could not find a local composting solution in time, they focused on reducing the event’s waste stream at the source and only produced 100 liters of trash while diverting 350 liters of recycling over the course of five competition days. Aluminum water bottles were offered to all athletes and participants. Drinks and meals were made locally and served in reusable glass containers to create #plasticfree lunches which was a requirement of vendor contracts enforced by the EASC staff through the STOKE Sustainable Supply Chain Toolkit. On top of all this, the Eurosurf Adaptive donated excess food to a local food bankView Criteria
In addition to monitoring all water consumption and energy use within the energy-efficient High Performance Surfing Center, the surf club partnered with a local solar contractor (Ertec) to install rooftop solar panels on their repurposed shipping containers on the beach. This solar initiative made it the first surf event in Portugal where the competition podium was powered with 100% renewable energy!View Criteria
Beach cleanups are common practice for the surf club, but the EASC wanted to create a special project in celebration of World Biodiversity Day during the contest window by planting autochthonous trees at the High Performance Surf Center. This was done with local students as part of the #BeActive campaign. Interpretive signs detailing the native species along with environmental tours of the property and path to the beach engaged attendees on the importance of biodiversity even further.View Criteria
- 4.4.1 Emissions Reduction
- 4.1.1-.4 Supply Chain Management | 4.4.4 Waste Management
- 4.2.1 Renewable Energy
- 4.4.7 Biodiversity Conservation
Commitment to a Sustainable Future
As the first adaptive surf contest in Europe, we are honored to be the world’s first STOKE Certified adaptive contest.
Utilizing STOKE’s resources and the sustainable events criteria, our team was able to add on to our already strong event agenda in a way that made EASC sustainable for our community, culture, and environment. This will be the first of many Eurosurf Adaptive contests—in looking forward, we strive to achieve the following:
- Strengthen zero waste initiatives including adding a composting solution for food waste.
- Continue to be as inclusive as possible and seek creative ways to infuse more of our beautiful culture and community here in Viana.
Many thanks to all of our partners, sponsors, and volunteers for making this inaugural event such an incredible experience!
Surf Clube de Viana