Assessing a wave’s worth with Surfonomics

Economic valuation studies show the value of surf spots

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 December, 2014 – Surfonomics is the fashionable term for conducting economic valuation studies for specific surf spots and coastal communities. Using the’ travel-cost method’ and obtaining direct expenditure data from local and visiting surfers.  Surfonomics demonstrates the economic value that a surf break brings to a local community.

Using the academic framework of natural resource economics, Surfonomics studies have a strong conservation value by providing policymakers with economic data in support of coastal protection.

Pristine coastline and quality surfing waves have an enormous social and economic value – a value that is often underestimated by political leaders and businesspeople. Save The Waves’ Surfonomics studies are helping to change that.

Mundaka, Spain – Save The Waves commissioned an economic study in 2007 on the value of the surfing wave in Mundaka, Spain, to the local economy, through Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. It’s a comprehensive study that factors in tourism revenue as well as local surf industry revenue, including the annual Billabong Pro contest held there every October. Click here for a summary of the results.

Maverick’s, California – In 2009 Save The Waves initiated a joint study in conjunction with the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) at Stanford University and the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, on the economic value of Maverick’s. Utilizing progressive travel cost models to calculate the value of the wave and area to visitors, the study estimates the positive economic, social and cultural benefit generated by the world-famous break. Click here for a summary of the results.

Uluwatu, Bali– Starting in June of 2013, Save The Waves teamed with Conservation International and The Center For The Blue Economy to initiate an economic valuation study based on the direct expenditures of surfing tourists at Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia.  The goal of the study was to gather data to support local management of the marine and coastal resources of Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula.  This ongoing study helps quantify the true value of the world-class left-handed reef breaks at Uluwatu.

Conservation International Indonesia also added a qualitative aspect to the economic valuation to assess user satisfaction of travelers to the Uluwatu area.  Conservation International plans to use this information to inform the Indonesian Government on how to best manage the pending Marine Managed Area around the Bukit Peninsula. This Surfonomics study also provides economic data to support the long term conservation of the Uluwatu World Surfing Reserve..

Huanchaco, Peru -In August 2013, Save The Waves Coalition, The Center For The Blue Economy (Monterey Institute of International Studies), and Desarrollo y Gestión Costera initiated a year-long Surfonomics study in the coastal community of Huanchaco, Peru. The economic valuation of the Huanchaco coastline and waves will provide empirical economic data to quantify the dollar value of surfing in Huanchaco and also provide policymakers with data to support the protection of the coastline.  The data produced from this study will reinforce the inherent value in protecting the Huanchaco World Surfing Reserve.Desarrollo y Gestión Costera is the study implementation manager and oversees the survey delivery in Huanchaco.

Punta de Lobos, Chile  – Save the Waves Coalition is excited to initiate their newest Surfonomics study in Pichilemu, Chile, commissioned by the Provincial Department of the Interior Cardenal Caro.  Punta de Lobos is a newly approved World Surfing Reserve  and boasts an iconic left-had break that combines various wave sections for over 800 meters. This surf break is considered Chile’s “surf city,” with an economy interwoven with surfing and surf tourism. This study will quantify the non-consumptive use of this natural resource and provide economic data in support of long-term protection.

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