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Nonprofit Spotlight: Waves for Development

WAVES for Development believes that surf travel should benefit the people and communities where it happens.  WAVES for Development uses surfing to make the world a better place through Education & Environmental programs that develop Peruvian youth into healthy & empowered adults. Surf Voluntourism programs engage travelers and transforms their views of the world and of themselves. WAVES hosts community-based educational programs that promote Environmental Conservation, Sustainable Tourism, Social Entrepreneurship, Life Skills/Healthy Living, Cultural Exchange and Understanding.

Current Project: Marine Reserve in Northern Peru


In collaboration with Peruvian fisherman unions, municipalities and other partner organizations including Inka Terra Association, WAVES for Development aims to create a protected marine reserve area in northern Peruvian coastal areas.


The project is a defined area where three ocean currents converge in the tropical Peruvian Sea, including the ‘Banco Mancora’ providing unique biodiversity and ecological productivity. Coastal Peru relies economically on both artisan and commercial fishing.


Marine reserves are essential to protect marine environments from overfishing, mining, pollution and disposal of waste. Marine reserves can help fisheries by giving marine species opportunities to live longer and the ability for populations to increase in size. Ultimately, a large network of marine reserves can protect habitats and can even reverse the current trend of global fisheries degradation.


WAVES is grateful for the generous support of 1% partner businesses Wai SUP and Sundippers. The municipal government hasn’t officially ‘signed on’ to the Marine Reserve concept, but the Local Fisherman’s Union has.


In collaboration with a variety of local actors, a Local Municipal government decree has declared the beaches and dunes surrounding Lobitos an ‘Intangible Zone’ to be protected. Identifying the area for environmental protection will limit construction and activities that negatively affect the ecosystem and natural geography of the area. The area to be protected is home to over 35% of all marine species encountered in the entire Peruvian Ocean.

Challenges WAVES Has Faced

Bureaucracies can be slow moving, but WAVES and its partners are committed to this important project that will best protect the marine areas and also set a precedent within Peru for future marine reserves.

Call to Action

WAVES always welcomes any kind of financial support, in-kind donations, WAVES Corps volunteers, and independent volunteers! Follow our blog for current happenings on the ground at and consider donating on our website

What Does Success Look Like?

In total, the project aims to create a marine reserve in northern coastal Peru stretching from Punta Capones south to Talara to include an area of 7813,85 square kilometers. Protection of the waters and marine area is essential for healthy livelihoods and economic success of coastal communities in northern Peru, including potential increases in tourism.

Contact Dave Aabo, Executive Director of WAVES for Development International,, (518) 339-2142 with any further questions.

 “As surfers we have an unique relationship with the ocean. Creating a Marine Reserve in Northern Peru will be beneficial for those with a stake in the ocean’s health – including surf tourists, fisherman and of course, the flora and fauna that live there.”    – Dave Aabo, Executive Director WAVES

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