What Impact Does Surfing Have on the Environment?

July 11, 2022 4 min read

Surfing has been associated with negative impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems. Among these impacts is the pollution of water, the production of solid waste, and the trampling of sand dunes, which are home to birds and other wildlife. But these negative effects are not the only concerns associated with surfing. There are other concerns, such as the damage that surfing can do to local communities and the cost of real estate.

Surfing Impacts the Environment

Surfonomics studies try to quantify the social, cultural, and economic benefits of surfing. These studies consider reasons people visit a beach and the values it offers, and the impact that surfing has on the environment. For instance, giant waves are a geological phenomenon that provides an opportunity for contact with nature. These effects extend far beyond the economic and visitor benefits of surfing. Despite the environmental and economic costs of surfing, surfers often create important conservation organizations.

In the 1950s and 1960s, surfing moved from a small number of participants to become a part of pop culture. In addition to a sense of personal achievement, surfing abroad is often associated with recognition and status. Travelling is a form of symbolic capital in the surf culture, and can be viewed as an unquestioned doxa of surfing. This is because surfing has a deep connection with transport, particularly long-haul flights and car dependence.

Surfing's Impact on Local Communities

One of the most compelling findings of the study was the positive socio-cultural impact of surfing. These social benefits are related to language acquisition, increased awareness of the natural world, and community engagement. In New Zealand, for example, local communities have engaged in surfing in Aramoana Waiti and Awatere. Another finding is the contribution of local ecological knowledge to coastal management plans. As a result, surfing is not only a healthy sport for surfers, but also has a positive impact on local communities.

The economic benefits of surf tourism are largely linked to economic development, including the creation of new jobs and regional economies. However, there were also negative consequences. In some areas, surf tourism development led to income inequalities, affecting local communities. To counteract this, communities are increasingly developing policies to protect their local surf areas. While this may be beneficial in the short-term, the economic benefits of surf tourism are often outweighed by its negative effects.

Surfing's Impact on Real Estate Prices

The effect of surfing on real estate prices can be estimated using a hedonic pricing method. Generally, people who like surfing live near beaches where they can catch some waves. That way, they can save on travel costs. For example, a beach house near a surf break is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more than a home in a town that doesn't have beaches nearby.

The influx of surfing-loving millennials has also had a direct effect on the price of coastal properties. Surf-oriented communities, like Rio Del Mar, have a higher price tag than those in more suburban areas. As a result, homes near a surf break are worth $106,000 more than those a mile away. While this is still a very high price tag, it translates into massive money.

Surfing's Impact on Marine Ecosystems

In addition to its economic value, surfing has a social and cultural relevance, and it is also associated with a number of other concerns, including environmental and social hazards. Among its social impacts are accidents, including drowning, collisions with other surfers, and carcinogenic risks from excessive exposure to the sun. Furthermore, surfers' activities can damage local communities, including those who rely on the ocean's resources for their livelihoods.

Fortunately, there has been some progress in this area in recent years. Awareness of the effects of surfing on marine ecosystems has increased over the last two decades. Several responses to the issue have emerged at the international, regional, and local levels. In particular, the creation of wave reserves has increased over the past few decades. A popular example of a wave reserve is Bells Beach, Australia, which was protected in 1973 by surfers and the government. More recently, this initiative has resulted in the listing of the surfing beach on the United States' National Register of Historic Places.

Surfing's Impact on Tourism

As the sport of surfing gains popularity across the world, many countries are starting to recognize the benefits it brings to the tourism industry. The growing popularity of surfing tourism is being driven by a growing number of women travellers. The popularity of the sport has increased as more countries are introducing surfing safaris for women. It is a dangerous sport and there are many risks involved, including the risk of sea sickness and death. Climate change may also negatively affect the sport in the future.

While surfing has traditionally been a man's sport, more women are discovering its benefits. While only three to five percent of surfers were women in the 1990s, estimates of the number of women surfing today range from five to thirty-five percent. As a result, surf-wear manufacturers have developed women's-specific wetsuits and specially-designed bikinis for warmer waters. Many destinations now have dedicated surfing camps for women.

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