On Oct. 27, 2014, Save The Waves staff presented the findings of the most recent Surfonomics study to the Governor of the Provincia Cardenal Caro and the community of Pichilemu. The study found that visiting surfers in Pichilemu, Chile spend an average of $186 US dollars a day while visiting Pichilemu. Based on a conservative estimated range of 10,000-40,000 surfers a year, visiting surfer expenditure contributes about $2-8 million dollars annually directly into the local economy of “surf city.”
As part of Save The Waves’ strategy to conduct economic valuations of the surf and coastline in each new World Surfing Reserve, the Pichilemu Surfonomics study was conducted to underpin the value of waves as coastal resources at the Punta de Lobos World Surfing Reserve and the adjacent areas. These statistics help support the efforts of the World Surfing Reserve of Punta de Lobos to halt coastal development projects and preserve the pristine marine environment in perpetuity.
Pichilemu is considered Chile’s “surf city,” with an economy largely dependent on surfing and surf tourism. The project included three surf zones in Pichilemu: La Puntilla, Infiernillo, and the World Surfing Reserve at Punta de Lobos. Because this area faces coastal access issues, unregulated coastal development, and a lack of waste management infrastructure, this study’s aim is to inform decision-makers of the economic contribution that surfing has on the region, and underscore the need for increased coastal protection.
The Surfonomics study was carried out in partnership with the Provincial Department of the Interior Cardenal Caro and Monterey Institute of International Studies’ Center for the Blue Economy.