Bashing stereotypes is what surfing is intent on doing in the modern era. Say good-bye to when surfing was thought of as a mere adrenaline-rush trip and say hello to a lucrative-business magnet, as the San Diego State University launches the world’s first Center for Surf Research.
Today’s power phrase is “surf tourism.” Surf tourism goes beyond waves and surfboards as statistics show that the surf industry is worth billions annually. Unfortunately, surf destinations, especially in less-wealthy countries, are ill equipped to deal with such a huge market. To deal with similar issues and more, the San Diego State University launches the world’s first Center for Surf Research. The Mission Times Courier provided a great overview of the project here. To set the stage, here’s a brief quote from the article.
Surf tourism is a rapidly expanding trend throughout the world’s surfable coasts. According to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association the American surf industry is worth approximately $7 billion annually and surfing and surf tourism impacts coastal environments in nearly 120 countries. Yet impoverished coastal communities in the less developed world have become unprepared and sometimes unwilling hosts to travelling surfers with different cultural norms and values.
According to Dr. Jess Ponting, professor in SDSU’s Sustainable Tourism program and director of the CSR, too often surf destination communities shoulder major social, cultural and environmental costs while seeing relatively little economic benefit. “Surfing is such an environmentally aware activity. Surfers take great care of the oceans,” Ponting said. “But they don’t always think about the rest of their surroundings. We want to teach students about sustainable surf travel, to conduct research into sustainable surf tourism management, to provide support for surf tourism operators looking to go green, and to support surf tourism destination communities.” Read the entire article here.
As the San Diego State University launches the world’s first Center for Surf Research, you can expect other centers on surf research to pop up soon. Where was this field of study when I was in school? I can assure you, if this had been an option I wouldn’t have a journalism degree today!
Check out the center’s official Web page here.