Surfing Economics

What is the value of a wave?

Australian Surf Survey Results

Our latest study shows that recreational surfing contributes, at a minimum, A$2.7 billion to the Australian economy every year. Surfers also report important gains in mental, physical and social wellbeing from the sport.

These figures add weight to the argument that surf breaks are valuable natural assets that deserve formal recognition and protection, especially when at risk from pressures such as overcrowding, coastal erosion and water pollution.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated. Thank you to the ANU and Surfing WA for their generous support.

See full results in A national assessment of the economic and wellbeing impacts of recreational surfing in Australia and interactive data platform here

‘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 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 demands 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 surf breaks and their surrounding areas, what can be referred to as ‘surfing ecosystems’.

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.

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.