Monday, June 23, 2008

Towns that Surfing Built (then Ruined?)

Fueled by the dream of finding that next perfect, secret and empty wave, some surfers are intrepid travelers who have a famous history of "going feral" for months in uncharted tropical locals. Often these discoveries remain secret for a few years before word gets out, then begins the quickly accelerating process of development. Tourism researcher Richard Bulter described this as the "Tourism Area Life Cycle" .

I call them "Towns That Surfing Built". Some towns that surfing built have become beautiful places to live and to visit where it appears that community is thriving. In others the Life Cycle takes a turn for the worst and these towns become overbuilt, polluted, riddled with crime and no longer desirable. Surfers then move on to the next place.

I am certainly not the first person to think about this...

Barilotti wrote about it in the Surfer's Journal in 2002 in an article called "Lost Horizons: Surf Colonialism in the 21st Century" and I found an article by northern-Californian surfer Dane Larson with a similar theme, "The Making of a Surf Ghetto". I am sure there are more...

We are going to make and effort to chronical the places that surfing built and discuss their trajectory and try to understand why they evolve the way that do.