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Surfonomics is a term that refers to the way we understand value, from an economic point of view, of  the activity of surfing.  Why would we want to do this?


There are critics of this approach who  argue that a financial value  cannot  and should not be placed on surfing with its value being intrinsic and  extending way beyond financial calculations.  This is the same argument levelled at valuing nature.   From a detached philosophical perspective I agree.  However, the reality is  that when economic value is not placed on something it gets lost in broader calculations  and becomes invisible to policymakers and decision-makers,  making it difficult or impossible  to manage and protect. 

The methodologies associated with surfonomics can be summarised as follow:

Direct Expenditure 

Hotel Bookings


Surf Lessons 

International Contests

Webcam Business

Global Merchandise 

Non Market Economic Value 

Non use value 

  • Survey work Contingent Valuation Method

Consumer Surplus

  • Travel cost method 

Capitalised real estate 

  • Hedonomic Price Method 

From the above methods the direct expenditure and consumer surplus (travel cost method) are the most common).

For more information on the background and application of these methods see Jason Scorse and Trent Hodges chapter in Sustainable Surfing - Chapter 8.  Also  look at Dr Chad Nelson's chapter  in Sustainable Stoke - Chapter 5.1 



Surfonomics is an important component  in the Save the Waves  designation of World Surfing Reserve status - The following surfonomics reports can be viewed and downloaded from their website 


Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica, 2021

Lobitos, Peru, 2020

Guarda do Embau, Brazil, 2018

Pichilemu, Chile, 2014

San Muguel, Baja 2014

Hauanchaca, Peru, 2013

Uluwatu, Bali, 2014

Mavericks, California, 2009

Mundaka, Spain, 2008

Surfers Against Sewage have produced the report:

The Economic Impact of Domestic Surfing on the United Kingdom 

Useful Links:

Surf economics: what is the value of a wave? -

Surf Industry Manufacturing Association


Save The Waves Coalition  

BBC - The Environmental Benefits of Surfing 


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