Surfing Economics

What is the value of a wave?

Surfing brings personal, financial and environmental benefits to thousands of communities across the world.

‘Surfing Economics’ is the body of research dedicated to the understanding of the multiple values of surfing, and how surfing demands interact with the environemnt.

Surfing is essentially free– jumping in the water, paddling and catching a wave. We do not pay to catch waves. Waves have no price. But having no price does not mean waves have no value. Quite the opposite.
Surfing is a lifestyle sport that contributes to the physical, mental and social wellbeing of millions of surfers across the world. Further, avid surfers spend thousands of dollars in equipment and travel, feeding billions of dollars into local and global economies.
At the same time, surfing can also put pressure on the natural and social environment. In many places across the world, issues such as mass tourism, unregulated urban development and waste generation have caused severe degradation of local ecosystems. Finding the right balance between the benefits and impacts of surfing requires a careful understanding and planning. 



We know surfing is valuable. But do we know how much? What is the value of surfing? What is the value of a wave? These are the questions ‘surfing economics’ is trying to answer.

Through ‘surfing economics’ it is possible to understand the financial and non-financial values associated with surfing, in a rigorous, science-based manner.  It is through such systematic understanding that coastal planning and policies can be adequately informed to take into consideration the true value of surfing.

About Surfing Economics

Surfing is more than just a sport – it is a lifestyle. Over 50 million people across the world practice surfing on a regular basis. Surfing contributes to personal well-being, social cohesion, regional development and many other ascpets that benefits surfers and non-surfers alike.

Money cannot buy happiness.
Happiness, comes in waves

Market values

Over 50 million people across the world practice surfing on a regular basis. Direct expenditure in equipment, travel and real estate contribute billions of dollars to local and regional economies.

Non-Market values

Surfing provides benefits that cannot be bought or sold, like wellbeing and social cohesion. These are often called ‘non-market benefits’. The value of these benefits may be difficult to quantify.