A Socioeconomic and Recreational Profile of Surfers in the United States

Surfing has now evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry (SIMA, 2009) but we’ve known little about this large and growing number segment of coastal users…until now. The Surfrider Foundation, with support from Surfing Magazine, created and recently published (July 2011) the Surf-First Surfer Survey to collect a national dataset on the recreational, demographic and economic characteristics of surfers.

The following results are based on the responses from over 5,000 surfers collected from November 2008 to September 2009 throughout the US. The opt-in Internet-based survey was advertised through a number of surf forecasting websites, and Surfline attracted the most responses. So, we now have a better understanding of who we “surfers” are, our recreational patterns, and also the sense of our economic input to the local communities we visit to surf.

The results of the Surf-First survey indicate that American surfers are male (90%), with a median age of 34 years old, have a college education or above, and are employed full-time earning $75,000 a year. In addition, surfers in the U.S. make approximately 100 visits to the beach each year and spend $66 per visit. This amounts to more than $36 million spent each year in coastal communities when summed over our sampled subset of surfers.

So what do you think? Do you fit their findings?

To read the full report, check out this link: http://public.surfrider.org/files/surfrider_report_v13.pdf

Image Source: MSN.com (Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

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