What We Learned At The World Surf Cities Network Meeting

The WCSN is a network of motivated cities in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania that get together on an annual basis to share strategies and ideas for invigorating the local economy through surfing.

Unleash Founders John and Amy were invited to the World Surf Cities Network meeting to talk about what we look for in a location. We were wined and dined and met some soul-surfers doing great things for their communities.

Here’s what we learned:

We need to take a surf trip to Viana and New Plymouth

We met reps from Montanita, Durban, Santos, Ericeira, San Sebastian and Chile — but it was the places that we hadn’t heard of that really captured our imagination: Viana in Portugal and New Plymouth in New Zealand. From our googling they’re both spectacular, wave-rich and off-the-beaten path. Things we adore at Unleash…

Huanchaco is the latest city to be inducted into the WCSN

This town is on a roll. First a World Surfing Reserve, then a rep on the World Vision Council of Save the Waves, then an Unleash location and now a surf city! Unstoppable!

Introducing the WCSN to Unleash

Arica’s hospitality is second to none

Wine-cocktails overlooking an expansive ocean oasis, a gourmet lunch of shellfish foraged and cooked by a local spear-fisherman, they put us up in a stylish hotel on the beach and provided us with the absolute best tour guide who helped us to understand the archeological goldmine that is Arica. The entrepreneurial organizers of Arica Activa sure know how to take care of visitors.

What better location for wine sours than an ancient burial ground?

Ericeira sets the bar for a surf city in terms of commitment

Their Mayor came and wowed us all with the investments this World Surf Reserve has made in their sea-side opportunities. Including a start-up incubator and co-work space for ocean-related businesses.

Surfers and city officials make amazing baby-sitters

It’s true. We tested it out by passing around our baby Delmar at the various WCSN events. We found out that surfers who represent their cities are damn good at entertaining babies.


The soul of surfing is Brazilian (shock, gasp!)

Or at least the most soulful surfers we’ve met are. Cisco, who started the first surf school in Santos, has been a pioneer in adapted surfing in South America for more than 20 years. He and longboarding extraordinaire Bruno brought along one of his famous adapted surf boards as a gift for the city of Arica and dished up kindhearted stoke wherever they went.