The forthcoming Surf Park Summit, to be held at Seven Degrees in Laguna Beach on September 13, 2013, marks the first major event within the surf industry to focus on sustainable growth. The event will bring together some of the sport’s most famous personalities, as well as leading academics in the field of sustainable tourism.
The inaugural conference is the brainchild of Dr. Jess Ponting, director of the Center For Surf Research at SDSU and John Luff, founder of Surf Park Central. Together, their goal is simple: grow the surf industry in a way that’s sustainable, potentially through the creation of eco-friendly, man-made surf parks.
The Changing Tourism Industry
The Surf Park Summit comes in the midst of two key trends in tourism industry: the growth of the Internet as the predominant research and booking platform for tourists, and the rise in demand for sustainable tourism options.
Holiday comparison sites, user reviews and social media have helped to make the tourist experience more affordable and democratic, and subsequently created space for sustainable tourism to grow. As the Centre for Responsible Travel’s 2012 report showed, sustainable tourism has entered the mainstream.
Growing the Surfing Industry
Just as market trends indicate a burgeoning opportunity for sustainable tourism, the surf industry is also ripe for more mainstream growth. For decades, companies and individuals within the surf industry have pushed for greater recognition of the sport.
As Surf Park Summit co-founder John Luff asserts, the gap between the aspirational surf market and the actual surf market presents an incredible opportunity for those within the industry. The Summit will look at whether sustainable surf parks are the answer.
In addition to their potential monetary benefits, surf parks are seen as a technological improvement for the sport of competitive surfing. Unlike unpredictable ocean waters, surf parks with computer-generated wave technology allow for consistent, standardised judging and scoring. The ability of surf parks to improve the professionalism of the sport will be another major talking-point at the Summit.
Laguna Beach, CA by AngryJulieMonday via creative commons