Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Surfers come in all ages, shapes and sizes...

© Kymri Wilt/Mira Terra Images

On February 6, 2008, California Coastal Commission held a 14-hour hearing and voted to deny the construction of a Toll Road through San Onofre State Beach.

I attended the hearing along with thousands of others - many were surfers, many were environmentalists, and all were passionately professional about making their voices heard. There were CEO's, attorneys, moms with toddlers, commuters, activists, teachers, and all walks of business professionals, male and female, who took the day off work to give testimony or support. The definition of a stereotypical surfer was blown right out of the water. Surfers come in all ages, shapes and sizes. However, most of the signs, t-shirts, websites and promotional advertising seemed targeted to an outdated punkish youth subculture and did little to embrace today's real-life surfer - someone like myself (self-employed, vegetarian, wife, mother, homeowner, hybrid-driver, world traveller, photographer, etc.).


Monday, May 12, 2008

Life Cycle of Santosha?

In 1980 a tourism researcher Richard Butler developed a well regarded model called the Tourism Area Life Cycle that describes the evolution of the economy of resort regions. Here are the stages and how they might apply to surfing.

1. Exploration: A secret spot is disovered, no amenities, must "go feral".

2. Involvement: A few locally-run camps and a few concessions are established

3. Development: A well defined tourism industry is developed with advertising the destination

4. Consolidation: Tourism become a dominant feature of the local economy

5. Stagnation: Tourism growth slows and carrying capacity is reached, the area is no longer a new hotspot, maybe its overbuilt

6. Decline or rejuvination: Decline results as tourists choose other destinations, rejuvination typically requires attracting a different kind of tourist.

The consequences of this cycle seem to be a big factor is the evolution and environmental proection of surf destinations around the world.

Here's a book on the topic...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Peru. Surfing the next wave of.... surfing

Intrepid surfer having been traveling around the globe looking for the next undiscovered surf spot since Bruce Brown's 1966 classic Endless Summer.

Surfers are often the pioneers of coastal areas. They start as secret spots, become popular amongst surfers and then trigger a wave of tourism. As a result surfers have become a very popular coastal tourism marketing tool. Enter Peru.

In Peru.....surfing has swept the nation recently in a pop cultural frenzy. On the wide boulevards of Lima, billboards are covered with the fresh-faced ranks of Peruvian surfers endorsing cellphones, beer and soft drinks. Surfing contests are all the rage.

Read the NY Times article....

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Economic Impacts of Space Coast Surf Contest


With an estimated 100,000 spectators and 200 surfers packed into this resort town for the 44th annual Easter Surf Festival, expect crawling traffic, limited parking and a continuous beach cleanup.

Because it's Easter weekend, beachside hotels also are loaded. "We can attribute a couple thousand rooms to that event," said Rob Varley, executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism.

He called $2 million a very conservative estimate of how much the surf festival pumps into the local economy, considering hotel expenses, meals and what day-trippers spend.

Read the Florida Today article....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Negative Surfer Stereotype Bares Itself in NJ?

Last Sunday, the NY Times published an article on the increasing trend of clothing optional vacations. Apparently, the town of Ocean County township in New Jersey plans to buck that trend.

The township recently passed an ordinance that prohibits changing your clothes unless you are in a closed structure, regardless of how discreet you are. Surfers feel that the ordinance is directed at them due to prejudice against the old stereotype that "surfer's are trouble".

Read the article here