Eco Certification. A Tool to establish Surf Tourism with lower Environmental Impact?

A Case Study in the Algarve, Portugal

Case Study, 2013

120 Pages, Grade: "-"



There are a number of people whom I met along the way and to whom I would like to express my gratitude for helping me in various way to finish this study.

First of all I would like to thank my parents, for my roots and the ability to do things my way.

I would also like to express my deep gratefulness to my friend and former lecturer Dr. Susanne Kuhling for her encouragement to get this thesis started at all and to motivate me all the way. The chainsaw massacre has not been necessary, you know?

In the same way I would like to thank all of my friends for their ongoing support in any imaginable ways, and especially Gina, Christoph and Krissi for lecturing, Sarah for the excel assistance and Jenny for looking over the survey results.

I also want to address to Dr. Axel Bamberger who helped in terms of identifying the research question and finding a structure for the thesis. Further I would like to thank all the people I met during my stay in Algarve for their hospitality and their friendly spirits. Bernardo Cardoso has been more than helpful in discussing the design of the questionnaires and other topics. I would also like to thank the participants of the questionnaires and interviews, especially Marta for letting me hang out on the terrace of the Freeride Surf School for so many days. I also want to express my gratitude for the special encounter with Sergio.


With the economic growth of the surf travel industry, its negative impacts on the natural surroundings in which it is taking place are rising (Bird 1993). At the same time it contributes to climate change (Buckley 2002 a, 2002 b). A growing number of surf schools and surf camps cater for younger surf tourists and offer accommodation and surf safaris especially on the south-western coast of Portugal. Besides the residential or accommodation related impacts like the use of fossil energy, waste water and other consumption related effects, transport from the camp to the surf spot by car is one of the most polluting aspects in the destination. Despite of these impacts, surfing as an activity is less destructive than other tourist action sports or motor-driven water sports. Still, vegetation damage or erosion of hinterland dunes can be caused by surfers searching access to the break as well as damaging reefs while wading through shallow water or while anchoring with a charter boat (Bird 1993). Indirectly caused impacts include the manufacturing process of surfboards or wetsuits which is highly polluting. Although board shapers as Kuntiqi Surfboards or enterprises such as Patagonia are trying to use more environment friendly material, the majority still uses foam blanks and petrochemicals (Powers, Undated). Consequently, the carbon footprint of a traveling surfer should not be underestimated (Lomax 2010, Dick-Read 2012). However, the following quotation shows that surfers are already aware of the negative environmental impacts they cause: “In my experience surfers are usually open minded to the idea that we, as humans, are affecting the climate through our carbon emissions. Due to surfing’s connection with nature, we have a vested interest in ensuring global warming doesn’t get out of hand. For example, rising sea levels will make that low tide reef you love work less often.“ (Lomax 2010, online). For surfing does not work without surfable waves, there is of course a need to focus on sustainability issues also within surf tourism. How aware are European surf tourists of the matter? If so, are they only aware or is there a willingness to actively change their very own behavior or to influence the behavior of surf tourism stakeholders so that negative impacts can be reduced? Could the willingness to pay more for an environmentally friendly operating surf camp appeal to surf camp owners to act in a more eco friendly way?

Within the last decade, surf tourism has evolved into the fastest growing branch of the global surf industry (Buckley 2002a). It is also of major economic importance for many coastal destinations. The question of the ecological, economic and sociocultural impacts of surf travel are often ignored by manufacturers, tourism planners, surf holiday providers and surf tourists themselves. The global and local effects of surf tourism, both negative like manufacture of equipment and air travel as well as positive like coast protection (American Shore & Beach Preservation Association 2011) or generating income for local communities (Buckley 2002a) need to be addressed for better planning, management and the implementation of more sustainable ways of surf travel. Critical voices have been raised by environmentalists as well as among surfers themselves from organizations such as Surfers against Sewage (SAS), Save the waves, The Surfrider Foundation, or the Portugal based Salvem o Surf. Their recent environmentalist campaigns have aimed at a wider public to inform about the negative impacts caused by recreational surfers, surf tourists and the manufacturing surf industry (Surfers Against Sewage 2012, Surfrider Foundation 2012, save the wave 2012, all online). This study focuses on surf tourism, its impacts on coastal environments and the general attitudes of surf tourists towards sustainable surf tourism offers and on how their awareness and behavior can be strengthened towards a more responsible behaver. It intended to gather and analyze data on demographics, surf related issues as well as the environmental awareness of surf tourists, and providers of surf tourism infrastructure such as surf schools and surf camps on the south-western coast of Portugal, mainly the Algarve Region. The primary objectives of this study are to determine a) if there is a general awareness of environmental issues related to surf travel among surf tourists, b) if this awareness is influencing destination or provider choices and c) if clients would decide in favor of eco certified surf camps.

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

Surftourismus als eine der wichtigsten Saulen der globalen Surfindustrie ist zu einer essentiellen Einnahmequelle fur viele Kustenregionen geworden. Die daraus entstandene Infrastruktur in den jeweiligen Regionen birgt allerdings auch einen Zuwachs an negativen okologischen und soziokulturellen Aspekten, die aber seitens der Surfindustrie, der Tourismus Behorden, der Surftourismusanbieter und auch der Surftouristen bisher nur wenig berucksichtigt werden. Kritische Stimmen hort man aus den Reihen der Surfer selbst, von Umweltschutzorganisationen und von NGOs - wie z.B. Der Surfrider Foundation oder Surfers against Sewage - welche sich mit Umwelt relevanten Themen in Bezug auf den Surftourismus befassen. Verschiedene Kampagnen und Projekte die sich mit Themen wie Umwelt- und Wasserverschmutzung sowie der allgemeinen negativen Umwelteinflusse, welche die Surfindustrie generiert wurden ins Leben gerufen, um sowohl Surfer als auch die breite Offentlichkeit fur die entstehenden oder schon entstandenen Probleme zu sensibilisieren.

Die hier vorliegende Studie befasst sich mit dem Phanomen des Surftourismus, der sich innerhalb der letzten Jahrzehnte zu einem weltweit agierenden Industriezweig entwickelt hat. Die damit einhergehenden negativen Einflusse auf die Umwelt und die Frage nach der Haltung und dem Bewusstsein der Surftouristen und Surftourismusanbieter demgegenuber bilden einen weiteren Fokus der Untersuchung. Zudem widmet sich die Arbeit der Frage, wie Surftourismus okologisch vertraglicher zu gestalten sei. Es sollte bestimmt werden, ob Surf Touristen umweltfreundlich agierende Anbieter bevorzugen und ob ein gesteigertes Bewusstsein fur verantwortungsvolleres umweltbezogenes Verhalten Einfluss auf die Auswahl des Surfcampanbieters oder der Surfschule ist. Die zugrunde liegende Idee hinter diesen Eeitfragen war, herauszufinden ob durch die Praferenz der Surftouristen fur nachhaltigere Angebote ein Anreiz fur Surftourismus Anbieter geschaffen werden kann, sich als umweltfreundlich zertifizieren zu lassen. Neben Eiteratur und Internetrecherche wurde hierzu im Sudwesten Portugals, in der bei Surfern beliebten Region Algarve eine Feldforschung durchgefuhrt. Teilnehmende Beobachtung, informelle Interviews und strukturierte Fragebogen gehorten zu den angewendeten Untersuchungsmethoden.

List of Figures Page

Figure 1: Checking waves (in typical pose)

Figure 2: Sometimes itfeels likemore“check“ than “surf‘

Figure 3: Surfboardtypes

Figure 4: Historical Illustration ofPolynesianSurfers

Figure 5: Shaping a balsa wood surfboard

Figure 6: Kun Tiqi Surfboard

Figure 7: 'Carbon free'surf travel

Figure 8: SurfCharter Boat

Figure 9: Surfari Alentejo

Figure 10: Surf tourists on their way to the beach

Figure 11: Campervan life - Praia Barranco

Figure 12: Overview Types of Traveling Surfers and Surf Tourists in Algarve

Figure 13: Costa VicentinaScenery

Figure 14: Costa VicentinaScenery

Figure 15: MapofCosta Vicentina

Figure 16: Advertisement fortheRip CurlProContest 2012

Figure 17: SurfSpotsalong theAlgarve Coast

Figure 18: Praia Arrifana

Figure 19: SurfTourism Infrastructure

Figure 20: 'locals only'

Figure 21: Some Advice

Figure 22: Global Boarders

Figure 23: Criteria for a 'Deep Blue Surfing' Event

List of Tables

Table 1: Age Structure

Table 2: Annual Household Income

Table 3: Level ofsurfing skills

Table 4: How important is surf spot novelty for you?

Table 5: How oftendoyoutravel with thepurpose ofsurfing?

Table 6: How long do you normally stay in a surf camp?

Table 7: Do you feel affected by the negative environmental impacts of surf travel?

Table 8: Do you feel well informed about the negative environmental impacts of surf travel?

Table 9: Would you expect your surf tourism provider to educate you on environmental issues related to surf tourism?

Table 10: Do you agree with the following statement: "I expect my surf camp/ -school owner to act in an eco-friendly way within his company"

Table 11: What is more important for your destination choice? Price or Eco Certification?

Table 12: Would you be willing to pay more for certified offers?

Table 13: Location

Table 14: Category ofProvider

Table 15: Which spots do you visit most often with your clients?

Table 16: What kind of vehicle do you use to get around?

Tablel7: Do you feel well informed about the negative environmental impacts of surf travel?

Table 18: How high is your intention to invest in more eco friendly measures within your company in the future?

Table 19: Do you think surf tourists will choose an eco certified camp over a non certified?

Table 20: What do you already practise in order to act more co friendly within your company?

Table 21: What of the following would you find possible to change in your company?

Table 22: Do you feel well informed about how to perform more eco friendlywithinyourcompany?

Table 23: If yes, how long would you like to join?

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1. Introduction

1.1 Content of the Study

This work aims to gain insight into the phenomenon of surfing, the surf industry and the sector of surf tourism and how this sector can be made more eco friendly. It gathered data from and about surf tourists and surf tourism stakeholders in southern Portugal, and also about their awareness for sustainable issues that are linked to their travels and their knowledge concerning the environmental impacts of surfing. It further searches to develop or identify criteria for a possible certification for surf tourism providers on the south­western coast of Portugal and other coastal regions that provide surf tourism offers.

1.1.1 Surfing, the Surf Industry and Surf Travel

First the matter of surfing1 will be introduced including history, philosophy and industry. The global surf industry (including manufacture of equipment and apparel as well as surf travel accumulates a sum of ca. US $ 10 Billion per annum and the sector referring to surf travel and tourism is the fastest growing branch (Buckley 2002a, Powers Undated). According to Buckley (2002 a) commercial surf tourism can be divided into three categories: firstly, high-budget boat trips, that most often take place in Pacific and Indian- Pacific island destinations. Secondly, so-called 'Surfaris', where surf tourists are transported to various surf spots and have overnight stays and thirdly the fixed-site surf camps with open or sometimes exclusive access to surf breaks, accommodation and equipment included are the most prevalent for western Europe and its Atlantic coastline. Depending on context, surfing can be a sport, a leisure activity, or even a lifestyle that marks ones identity within a certain scene. What is central to the phenomenon of surfing is the shared practice to travel to the break, to perform the actual activity of riding a wave.

1.1.2 Environmental Impacts of Surf Tourism

High quality surf spots attract surfers from all over the world who don't avoid traveling long distances by car or air transport. In their travel behavior, they are nor very distinct from other tourists in the destination. Fuel emissions, accommodation related consumption such as energy and water supply and catering are known for having the most negatively influencing factors on a global as well as a local scale. The environmental impacts of surf tourism will be discussed in the context of surf camps. As Dickinson & Lumsdon (2010) argue, transportation is one of the key issues in sustainable tourism development. This also the case of the surf tourism providers in the Algarve. Insight into mitigation strategies within the global surf industry and how they can function for surf tourism is provided at the end of this section.

1.1.3 Sustainability Issues within Surf Tourism

The concept of sustainable development in general does not imply a static relationship between the tourist, the host region and the tourist infrastructure it is based on (Hall & Lew 1995). While considering sustainable surf tourism a part of the capitalist system, the concept proofs to be impractical to be applied in the surf tourism industry at this time. Since the term 'sustainability' is now widely used for 'greenwashing' or mere marketing strategies it fails to provide enough authenticity to withstand the political reality surrounding tourism development (Hall et al.1998). Realistically the future of sustainable surf tourism as a holistic concept is unsure, so it was decided to use the term 'eco friendly' or 'low environmental impact' surf tourism in this study. This decision also meets actual certification efforts. NGOs that are dealing with environmental issues related to surfing or coast protection and help to rise environmental awareness among recreational beach visitors. Attempts to establish certification schemes for surf tourism providers are still ongoing while the study was conducted. The Surfrider Foundation Europe and the San Diego based Center for Surf Research are both working on certification processes for surf tourism providers.

1.2 Research Area

The chosen research area is the 'Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina' (PNSCV) on the south-western coast of Portugal in the Algarve region. The park was declared a protected landscape area in 1988 (Trigo 2003, Cardoso 2009) with the intention to sustain a unique landscape that has not been opened to mass tourism. The area is well known for its variety of endemic species and valuable biodiversity. Surf tourists from various European and international origins visit the region for the consistent surf conditions they find for practicing the sport of surfing (Dolnicar & Fluker 2003). They are served by different types of surf tourism providers such as surf schools, surf camps or surf lodges with varying modes of operation and general information. A description of the various types of surf tourists visiting the Algarve region is provided to understand the decision made in favor of the chosen focus group. The impacts of tourism and surf tourism (environmentally, economical and sociocultural are not considered part of the survey question. Still is important to understand the context of the study subject. This information was gathered mainly through participant observation and personal interviews with local habitants, surf tourism providers and other persons of interest.

1.3 Methodology

Focus groups and questionnaires were used to collect data on demographic issues, aspects concerning surf travel and on sustainability awareness, surf camp clients are the focus group of the study. The focus group was investigated with the help of semi- structured interviews, questionnaires and participant observation. The survey consisted of two different questionnaires, one addressed to surf tourists visiting the area, one addressed to camps or schools operating in the Algarve. The aim of the questionnaires was to identify the first focus groups' overall awareness of environmental impacts of surf tourism. The questions were designed to find out about their attitude towards surf camps or schools certified as 'eco friendly' and if they would be willing to pay more for partially sustainable offers. The second questionnaire, that was handed out to surf tourism providers, aimed at finding out about their general awareness of surf tourism related environmental impacts and their attitude towards a more environmentally friendly behavior within their camp or school management system as well as their attitude towards a certification through e.g. the Surfrider Foundation.

2. Research Methodology

2.1 Literature Research

Previous research done on surf travel seems to be of minor interest (Buckley 2002a, Fluker 2003). Studies dealing with sustainability issues in surf tourism seem to be rare with a focus on Non European destinations (Buckley 2002a & 2002b, Ponting 2008, Powers, Undated). Existing literature focuses on various aspects like managerial and marketing issues (Dolnicar & Fluker 2003), motivation (Farmer 1992) and environmental sciences (Buckley 2002 a, 2002 b, Lazarow 2007). Surveys of Buckley (2002a, 2002b) and Dolnicar (2003) on surf tourism and sustainable development and behavioral issues and market segmentation of surf tourists will provide background information on the surfing industry and sustainability issues. While using theoretical works on the discrepancies between tourists attitudes, behavior and actions (Brand 1997; Casey et al. 2009; Wearing et al. 2002, Dolnicar 2006; Dolnicar & Leisch 2008) this study is timely in the light of a growing discontent with the negative environmental impacts caused by the surf and surf travel industry.

2.2 Methods of Inquiry

The design for the methodology was established after the main objectives of this research which were already addressed in the introduction, had been identified. In the beginning of the fieldwork, in situ observations were extremely important because it allowed to identify possible limitations of data acquisition. Through these previous observations as well as subject related literature analysis, it was easier to identify questions regarding surf tourism in the chosen research area and to formulate the content for questionnaires and interviews with surf tourism stakeholders. Those tools, along with in situ participant observation proofed to be the best method to collect reliable data from surf tourists and surf tourism providers and to meet the objectives of the research.

2.2.1 Fieldwork

Fieldwork was carried out between June and July 2012, mainly at the beaches belonging to the municipalities of Aljezur, Vila do Bispo and Sagres. The first measure was to collect addresses from surf tourism providers such as surf shops, surf camps or -lodges and surf schools in the wider research area to gain overview over the saturation rate of surf tourism infrastructure. Adding to this numbers of surf tourists visiting camps and schools could be estimated more precisely with the above mentioned information. This collection of the surf tourism providers can later be useful for further research or a possible certification process in the the southern part of Portugal. Other data collected in that first step was which of the southern and south western beaches are frequented by surf camps and schools and how the surf tourism stakeholders generally operate.

2.2.2 Identification of the Focus group

In the beginning of the survey, the focus group included surf camp tourists as well as individual travelers and surf camp and surf school providers in the study area. After the first considerations on surf tourists characteristics, the group of the surf camp visitors was identified as the most useful focus group for the questionnaires that addresses to surf tourists. Within this group it was most likely to receive answers on environmental awareness and surf camp related questions. Other types of surf tourists were more likely to give more general answers on their eco awareness or attitude towards certification. Individually traveling surfers were therefore not handed out questionnaires but informally interviewed. The second focus group was chosen to be surf tourism providers such as surf camp or surf school owners or managers.

2.2.3 Questionnaire Design

The hypothesis underlying the design of the questionnaire was that if surf tourists are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly or partly sustainable offers, this may lead to a change in surf tourism providers habits concerning the management of their businesses. The findings of the questionnaire offered answers to which criteria might be useful to consider within a certification process and which are not changeable at all or not at this time. This is important for the cooperating organizations such as Surfrider Foundation or the Center for Surf Research to consider within their certification process. The questionnaires may also provide general data of surf tourists in the Algarve region, such as their country of origin, their age or gender and their level of surfing which can later be useful for marketing issues. Two questionnaires were used in the study, one designed for surf tourists that were visiting the camps and schools and one for the surf tourism providers operating in the area. The questionnaires included closed ended questions in English and were divided into four sections each. It was thought to identify surf tourists overall awareness of environmental impacts caused by surf tourism and the willingness to change their actual behavior in that context. The information collected on surf tourists staying in a surf camp included socio demographic information about the country of origin, age and gender, further information on the level of surfing, the frequency of traveling for the purpose of surfing, their awareness of surf tourism related environmental impacts and their willingness to pay more for certified offers. The questionnaire that was handed out to surf tourism providers aimed at finding out about their general awareness about environmental impacts related to surf tourism, their actual behavior in terms of operating with a lower environmental impact and their attitude towards a more environmentally friendly behavior within their camps schools or lodges. The questionnaire for the surf camps and surf schools consisted of four sections: general information on the enterprise, and how it operates, their level of awareness of environmental issues related to surf travel, their general attitude towards a certification process and the already existing measures to keep environmental impacts low. The questionnaires employed closed ended questions whenever possible to simplify data valuation. The second part of the questionnaire for surf tourism providers was based on the guidelines of the environmental policy of the Global Boarders 'Green Wave Mission', mainly to outline possible guidelines for certification in Algarve. An initial pretest was conducted for both groups to identify possible problems within the questionnaire design. The questionnaires were handed out to a small group of surf tourists and two surf tourism providers, both managing surf camps. With the given feedback, the survey questions were then optimized.

2.3 Limitations of the Survey

The survey did not claim to provide answers on questions concerning the discrepancies between surf tourist attitudes towards environmental issues and their actual behavior (Mett 2009). Due to the narrow time window it was not possible to gain a high number of respondents, especially from surf tourists. In an very early state it was already clear that most of the surf tourists to whom the questionnaires were handed out, were beginners and visited a surf camp for the first time and had not before been dealt with the environmental issues related to surf travel. Further it was not the intention of the study to reflect on the possibilities to implement a definition of sustainable surf tourism, it rather contributes to the more realistic task of more eco friendly or lower environmental impact surf tourism.

2.4 Results

The results of the study indicate that there is a general positive attitude towards eco certified surf tourism offers among surf tourists and that they are actually willing to pay more for certified offers. Still, the perceived level of knowledge about environmental issues related to surf travel is not very high among surf tourists, which indicates that educational measures are a necessity at first hand. Many surf tourism providers stated that they would see certification as a benefit for their company and that they were willing to change their management towards a lower environmental impact mode. Educational measures on the issues were also rated as positive in that context. The results also indicate that there is a demand for eco certification programs among European surf tourism providers, as long as criteria and guidelines take account of local peculiarities and the heterogeneity of the surf tourism offers.

3. The Concept of Sustainable Tourism

3.1 Terminology

“In a literal context, the term ‘sustainability’ simply means, in one sense, the ability to maintain or prolong something." (Roe 2010, p. 37). The definition that is more commonly used since 1987 is the so called 'Brundtland Report'. According to the report, sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (WCED, 1987).

3.1.1 Sustainable Development

In March 1987, the United Nations was delivered a report entitled 'Our common future', which introduced the term 'sustainable development' by Gro Harlem Brundtland, the Norwegian prime minister. The term was worked out into a concept that bases on the following definition: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (Goodplanet 10.10.2012,). On the 1992 Rio summit 182 heads of state set up sustainable development strategies based on the report. Out of the summit emerged the 'Agenda 21', an voluntarily implemented national action plan for “the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels" (Wikipedia 10.10. 2012).

3.1.2 Sustainable Tourism

The concept of sustainable tourism has its roots in the ongoing discussion on sustainable development. It is not longer mentioned in the planning of tourism development in less developed countries alone, but has become a worldwide phenomena. (Mowforth & Munt, 1998). New Forms of tourism prefixed with 'eco', 'nature', or 'slow' are now becoming more and more marketed. This is also the case for the southern regions of Portugal that are more often referred to as a more mass tourism oriented destination (Cardoso 2008). Sustainable development, as well as its sub category 'Sustainable Tourism' have become “an essential item in the vocabulary of modern political discourse", so Mowforth and Munt (1998, p.84). It is therefore at first hand an ideological term and a useful marketing tool for governments that want to foster the tourism in their countries. As in consumerism, the term 'sustainability' is now widely used for 'greenwashing' or upgrading tourist products, be it in terms of generating more profit or because of the misunderstanding of the principles of sustainability. Not only has a whole new academic branch evolved around the subject, it is now fast becoming a major niche market in the global tourism economy. Moreover, sustainable tourism cannot be defined as a single phenomenon and includes numerous sub categories such as 'adventure', 'culture', 'wilderness', and the more widely used 'eco' tourism (Mowforth and Munt 1998). Consequently, it has to be understood as an approach or a goal. The same accounts for the attempt to make surf tourism more sustainable and at the same time is the reason for the use of the term 'eco friendly' or 'low environmental impact surf tourism' rather than 'sustainable surf tourism' as used in the study.

3.1.3 'Agenda 21'

'Agenda 21', the global action plan endorsed by the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, also called Rio Earth Summit in Brazil, addressed on its major concerns about sustainable development on tourism, which appears as a key sector of the global economic system. Tourism was exclusively mentioned as sector for potential development in countries with minor industrialization and particularly fragile environments. Second, tourism was addressed to the governments of the joining countries as a tool for sustainable development (Mowforth and Munt 1998). Nevertheless, when checking the category 'sustainable tourism' on the Portuguese Agenda 21 website, there is “no information available” (UN 2012, online). Critique on the priorities of the Agenda 21, questions the ideology of trade liberalization and relationships of power that are underlying the management of sustainable tourism and therefore make the concept vulnerable to manipulation through the industry (Mowforth and Munt 1998).

3.2 Criticism of Sustainable Development

A new attitude towards nature emerged with the rise of the Romantic movement in the late 1700s. The former western ideal of nature was that of a ordered and cultivated landscape, where wilderness was controlled and bounded (Hall et al. 1998). A new rational and scientific engagement with nature went along with Henry David Thoreau's2 interpretation of nature, where humans were a part of nature, not superior to it. The thought that the wilderness held the preservation of the world, provided a new concern towards the cultivation and exploitation of nature and added new value to the natural environment (Hall et al. 1998). As Hall (1998) states “Tourism was the driving force behind the creation of the first national parks and conservation reserves [...] and gave value to lands that were otherwise useless in terms of other forms of economic exploitation" so Hall et al. (p. 17). Despite already having a long history, sustainable development today has become “something of a catch-cry“ so Hall et al. (1998, p.13). Political disputes on how sustainability should be defined, managed and implemented also reflect the debate on how natural resources should be used best. This accounts for tourism as well as other economic sectors.

3.2.1 Sustainability and the Capitalist System

“Undoubtedly, one of the major drivers behind the manner in which natural resources are consumed, including through tourism, [...] is the contemporary global capitalist system and the values that underly it“, so Hall et al. (1998, p.23). The aesthetic and recreational value of national parks and protected areas as well as the biodiversity which can be found in those areas add invaluable benefits for mankind, and are today above all defined over their economic value. As a fact, as the natural resources generate income or any other countable economic value, the political reality weights more than the ecological reality, which makes the concept of sustainability a mixed blessing. The paradox is that in order to preserve natural areas, visitors must be granted access to those areas, which again results in a disturbance of wildlife and flora, that are in need to be protected. Hall et al. (1998) see sustainable tourism development and eco tourism as a restatement of an old problem. No matter how important the represented ideals of the concept, the political reality surrounding tourism development seems to hinder the implementation of ideal solutions. He also claims that “it is unlikely that tourism ever become truly sustainable beyond anything more than the most local of cases“ (Hall et al.1998, p.24).

3.2.2 Sustainability and the Tourism System

Recommendations, principles and objectives for the application of sustainable tourism development have been released by more than one conference on sustainable tourism and also the use of the term 'Sustainable Tourism' has become widely used over the last decades. “It has been sold at various levels as being appropriate and morally correct as well as environmentally suitable, and thus has high appeal to tourists and to decision makers in the tourism industry, in both the public and private sector" concludes Hall (1998, p.27). Overall, it has been adopted for mostly economic reasons, public relations and marketing. If labeled as 'sustainable', almost every form of new non mass tourism development, and even some forms of mass tourism gain acceptability. Normally, the cases make up for a less environmentally impacting form of tourism product but perform in an inaccurate way concerning the above mentioned sustainability concept (Hall et al. 1998). To perform truly sustainable, the comprehension of the holistic concept is crucial, but the division of development and conservation sectors in the past has led to separation, rather than inclusion in the matter. “Given the fact that at a global scale we are dealing with a closed system, clearly we cannot hope to achieve sustainability in one sector alone, when each is linked and dependent on the others", so Hall et al. (1998, p. 28). Tourism as a specific sector was not among the discussed sectors in which sustainable development should be implemented at first, so there has been much confusion and discussion on what the principles are in the context of tourism and how they can be put into practice.

Depending on context, surfing can be a sport, a leisure activity, or even a lifestyle that marks ones identity within a certain scene. What is central to the phenomenon of surfing is the shared practice to travel to the break, to perform the actual activity of riding a wave with the purpose of forward momentum (Dolnicar & Fluker 2003). Today, surfing means riding ocean - or sometimes river waves on a board usually made out of polystyrene foam, covered with fiberglass and resin. “A surfer is in a good mood when he has waves, and that's all that is to it“, so Mackert (2005, p. 67). Concluding that surfing requires ridable waves before anything else, a short description on geographical and meteorological preconditions is given in the next chapter. For a better understanding what quality ridable waves mean to dedicated surfers, a quick excursus into wave worth shipping is made at the end of the chapter.

4.1 Requirements for Surfing

4.1.1 Offshore Bathymetry

For the production of surfable waves seabed slope and offshore bathymetry have to combine with the right wave height, period and swell direction (ASBPA 2011). “The Beachbreak is the most common type of breaking waves in Europe", so Mackert (2005, p. 60). Offshore sandbars that are naturally formed in response to changing wave patterns and long shore currents are producing surfable breaks3. Many popular and outstanding European surf spots rely on the offshore sandbanks that form the breaks. Sandbars tend to undergo seasonal and constructional variations, they can be affected by large storms or beach nourishment projects4. On a so called reef break, the waves don't break on the beach but over offshore coral or lava reefs as well as over rock formations. Usually, reef breaks produce more powerful waves than beach breaks due to the sudden obstacle, that is hit by the wave, reef breaks are more dangerous than beach breaks due to the shallow water level and the danger of injuries when falling off the board but they are also the place “where the nicest waves are massproduced” and “usually break cleanly, and hollow providing great tubes” so Mackert (2005, p.60). A point break often hosts a combination from the above mentioned break forms, where the waves breaks off and along a headland into a bay. Point breaks are favored by surfers because they often produce long and clean waves and therefore offer longer rides5.

4.1.2 Swell Production

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

For surfers, the prediction or forecast of an upcoming swell can be very exciting, because it promises quality waves. If the right conditions concerning swell height, weather and wind conditions meet, the focus of the surfer is narrowed in direction of the beach as everything else gets marginal. Various websites like or now help surfers to predict wave conditions all over the world or at their most favorite spots. Still local knowledge is often necessary to find the right spot under the right conditions.

Swell waves are known as a series of surface gravity waves, that are generated by distant storms, not by local winds. All depends on high and low pressure weather systems. The more the pressure levels differ in a small range area, the stronger the wind and the higher the swell will be. For surfers, information about swell size and swell period are important because it makes a wave forecast possible. The Swell Size is known to the be the significant wave height, measured from the crest to the lowest point. The Swell Period is “the average length of time between each wave in a set“ and gives answers to the force of the waves (Wikipedia 2012, online).

4.1.3 Excursus: Special Waves

“Although a quality surfing experience is highly subjective and dependent on the location and experience of the surfer, it is recognized within the surfing community that specific surfing locations offer more consistent, quality surfing conditions” (ASBPA 2011, p. 2). Most high quality surf spots are referenced by names, that include features of the way the wave breaks, how it feels to ride it or refers to a headland sight. Best known examples from overseas are a huge hollow wave called 'Banzai Pipeline' on the north shore of O' ahu, Hawaii (Wikipedia 2012, online), 'Cloudbreak', which breaks off a reef in Tavarua, Fiji or 'Uluwatu' which means “the place of the living dead in balinese” (Young 2008, p.127) which refers to a local legend concerning suicides off the cliffs near a temple that overlooks the surf spot. The naming of quality waves also show the relevance of these areas to surfers when the right conditions converge (ASBPA 2011).

4.1.4 Surfboards

Modern surfboards differ in shape and therefore, in function. Longboards, are about 8ft to 13ft long, with a square tail and a round nose. Those boards were common among surfers in the early days and they were used in smaller, not so powerful waves. With the challenge to perform more maneuvers on bigger waves and some experiences in the shaping room6 the use of so called Malibu Boards around 6,7ft to 7,8ft long became more common as an alternative in different wave conditions. Shortboards range from 5.10ft up to 6.4ft in length, are sharpnosed, thinner, lighter and for that, more performance orientated than other board types such as Malibus or Longboards, which are longer, thicker, more voluminous and roundnosed and make up for a more relaxed ride (Mackert 2005; Ponting 2008). For a long period of time, shortboards where the most commonly use type of board because of the ability of more technical maneuvers but there seems to be a rediscovery of the retro type boards and styles today, which explains the considerable numbers of Longboards, Fish Boards and other old school board types in the water. Figure 3 shows a variety of modern surfboards.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3: Surfboard Types (Harveysurf 2012, online)

4.2 History of Surfing and Surf Travel

4.2.1 The Birth of Surfing

The first appearance of people riding waves for pleasure in a standing position has been traced back to Fiji, Hawaiian and Polynesian islands in 400 A.D. (Young, 1983; Lazarow 2007; Ponting 2008). Especially on Hawaii, surfboard riding evolved to a point were it became incorporated in religious and social parts of the Hawaiian culture7. The first encounters with surfing from a western perspective date back to the reports of Captain Cook after his voyage to the Hawaiian Islands in 1778 (Young 1983). With the arrival of the first Christian missionaries on the Hawaiian islands, surfing was restricted because of its immoral connection to leisure and Christian values (Young 1983). As the influence of the Christian church began to decline, the Islanders started surfing for leisure once more, followed by Europeans and Americans who had made Hawaii their home. Famous American writer Mark Twain is known to be the first surf tourist on Hawaii (Reed 1999) and in a letter home he describes the natives favorite activity and his own experiences with surfing8.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

With Hawaii becoming a major tourism destination at the beginning of the 20th century, surfing was used as a marketing tool. Surfing demonstrations were held in California by Irish Hawaiian surfer George Freeth in 1907 and by Duke Kahanamoku, Olympic swimming champion of 2012 on a promotional tour in Australia in 1914 where the surfing phenomena began to spread first and found its first dedicated followers9. Surfing boomed in California between World War I and World War II, because compared to the rest of the American mainland the state provided ideal beaches and breaks for practicing the sport.

“Wars have always sped up the pace of technology” so Young (1983, p.61) and the search for new technologies for warfare also contributed to the development of surfboard building, the search for waterproof glue in World War I and the outcome of fibreglass, resin and styrofoam in World War II have contributed to surfboard design up to today. But it wasn't until Gordon Clark, a chemistry graduate refined the mixture of the chemicals and became the world's largest foam blank supplier, better known as 'Clark Foam'10. Boards got shorter, thinner and lighter, as the foam blanks began to replace the balsa wood11, which was beginning to be difficult to get (Young 1983, p.75). After World War II surfing gained more and more attention and the development of the industry began to grow rapidly. Lighter Materials for board design, the invention of wetsuit and leash12 through Jack O' Neill around I960 and in 1973 (Mackert 2005, Baumann 2011) improved beach access and infrastructure made surfing affordable for the broader public. Hollywood movies13 such as 'Gidget' and the very popular 'surf music' gave surfing a boost from an imagery of dropouts and drug users into mainstream culture (Lazarow 2007, p.21). It soon became incorporated into mainstream culture, as the surf industry started to cultivate the aesthetics of a clean and healthy extreme sports image (Mackert 2005).14

4.2.2 The Dawn Patrol -Emerge of Surf Travel

With the rising popularity of the auto mobile, and the growing numbers of surfers in the waters at the well known spot surfers were now able and eager to drive further up and down the coast in search of uncrowded and unridden waves. It “seemed that around every bend there was a new surfing spot to name and try out” (Young 1983, p.84). The ultimate trip for young Californian surfers in those days was Mexico. In Australia, where modern surfing came to life a bit later than in the USA, just as in the fifties in California, surfers

started to search for potential undiscovered waves along the coast. “The search for the perfect wave was full-on in this period", so Young (1983, p.93). It is still going on today, as traveling to quality breaks is crucial to surfing because “continually waves break in the correct form on every point and beach in the world at the right time: the trick is being there.” (Young 1983, p. 167). Surf travel, that in the very beginning started with independent surfers exploring and searching for quality breaks and traveling to new surf spots, has now become a commercial tourism industry with surf specialized travel agents, pre-packaged surf tours, surf camps and resorts.

4.4 The Global Surf Industry and Surf Tourism

4.4.1 Surfing Today

With the emerge of new board designs and the rise of competitive surfing around the seventies, surf travel got more common, for competitions had to be held in quality conditions to extinct the “luck factor” in poor surf (Young 1983, p. 109 ff). With the set up of the International Professional Surfers' Association in 1976, professional surf contests were held all over the globe and the existence of new surf spots was recognizer by more and more surfers. With the beginning of the 80ies, the market potential of the surf industry was undoubted and like other sporting activities like skateboarding or snowboarding that emerged out of a subcultural scene it followed the code from niche or subculture to a fashion trend (Mackert 2005). Following Orams (1999), surfing has become its own sport and includes both recreational and competitive aspects. It is organized by its own governing body, the International Surfing Association (ISA) and a professional world tour competition circuit is organized by the Association of Surfing Professional (ASP). Both the ISA and ASP are sponsors for surf contest venues at beaches throughout the world for professional15 and amateur surfers (Tantamjarik 2004). According to Young (1983), there are not to many differences between surfers then and surfers today because the majority of surfers seems to belong to a “unique tribe of nomads who have wandered this planet in search of ridable waves since the beginning of this century” (p.189).

4.3.2 Surf Tourism as a Part of the Global Surf Industry

The sector of surfing tourism has grown fast proportional to the expansion rate of the global surf industry to an estimated minimum of US $250 million annually. Not included are the large numbers of people that do not travel with the purpose of surfing but stay at a surf camp or take surf lessons during their travels, assumes Ponting (2008). Evidence for the growing popularity of surf tourism can also be found in a rise in surf schools, surf resorts and camps, charter boat trip providers at a local, regional and global level (Ponting, 2001, Buckley, 2002a, Fluker 2003). As Buckley (2003) remarks, the majority of surfers travel as part of the mainstream tourism industry, which makes it hard to determine economic and ecological impacts. In means of transportation and accommodation the impacts resemble those of other tourism branches.

4.3.3 The Role of the Media

“The history of surfing tourism is intrinsically linked to the history of surfing itself and the relationship between surfing related consumerism and the surf media”, so Ponting 2008, p.33). The content of a surf magazine consists to a fair amount of reports of surf spots or countries that have been visited by surf journalists or independent surfers. Just recently, the articles concerning environmentally or sustainability issues have begun to rise in numbers. The printed images of perfect waves16 in the described destinations seduce surfers to travel to new destinations and contribute to the development of new surf locations (Ponting & Wearing, 2003). Tantamjarik (2004) also claims that “Surf destinations are formed as a result of numerous surfers flocking to that location to surf the area's main attraction: its waves” (p.34). Actually the total of surf related media is one big travel advertisement. Most of the featured articles are travel reports from far away destinations. The authors of those articles most often tell their travel tales to the reader. Definitely more travel stories than interviews, maneuver techniques, etc. Today, also mainstream media portraits surf travel as “an adventure set in tropical locations with pristine beaches” (Tantamjarik 2004, p.3).

4.4 Environmental issues in the Global Surf Industry

As surfing has now evolved into a worldwide sports and lifestyle orientated phenomenon, with dedicated followers on almost every continent on the planet, the global surf industry accumulates a sum of ca. US $ 10 Billion per annum. (Buckley 2002). “These numbers show the large economic impact that surf can have, but fail to derive meaningful estimates of the environmental harm the industry causes”, so Mach (2009, p. 17). The sector referring to surf travel and tourism is the fastest growing branch of the global surf industry that is mainly based on the manufacture of surf equipment such as surfboards and wetsuits, adding to this, boardbags, pads and leashes. In addition surf style apparel companies such as 'The Big Three' of surfing Billabong, Quicksilver and Rip Curl contribute eminently to the profits. (Buckley 2002, Ponting 2008). As the industry grows, the contribution to environmental damage is also rising. The environmental impacts referring to the different sectors of the surf industry can be divided into: global and local, direct and indirect impacts. So far, man-made impacts of climate change cannot be understood in total but the existing holistic picture of increasing feedbacks that affect our planet also include affects on surfing habitats such as waves, clean oceans, marine critters,coral reefs as well as ecosystem flora and fauna like plankton or kelp (Sustainable Surf 2012). Sea level rise, ocean acidification and ocean warming are indirect perils that add to the more direct human impacts that affect coastal environments like over-fishing, marine pollution from plastic trash and oil spills, to name just a few of the global impacts. The answer on the question how how surfing could be affected by climatic changes is given by Sustainable Surf, a non profit organization from San Clemente: “Caused by the melting of glaciers, ice sheets, and the thermal expansion of the ocean, sea levels are expected to increase 4-6 feet in the coming century. This will result in the loss and destruction of many surf breaks world-wide, because while projected sea level rise happens on a 100-year timescale while the geologic processes that form surf breaks happen on a 1000-year timescale.” (Sustainable Surf 2012). On a local scale, erosion of hinterland dunes caused by surfers searching access to the break by car or by foot as well as damaging reefs while wading through shallow water or anchoring with a charter boat can be stated as the most direct negative impacts (Bird, E. 1993, p. 11). Indirectly caused negative environmental impacts of the surf industry include the manufacturing process of surfboards or wetsuits. Both essential items to modern surfing, they produce highly polluting by products, that are known to harm the environment in various distressing ways.

4.4.1 Manufacture of Surf-Equipment - Surfboards

The industrial production of surfboard blanks releases considerable amounts of greenhouse gases into the ozone layer and other toxic chemicals enter the environment either through the water cycle, by vaporizing in the air or through untreated disposal onto landfills (Powers, Undated; Surfscience 2012, online). Although many board shapers recently are trying to find alternative materials, the majority still uses polystyrene foam blanks and petrochemicals such as fiberglass and resin, an adhesive chemical that bonds the fiberglass to the surfboard foam blank (Kluba, pers. Comment [17.06.2012], Powers, Undated, p. 22). One of the most toxic chemicals used for blowing the PU foam is Toluene Diisocyanate or TDI. The risks for health and environment was the main reasons to shut down Clark Foam, a major surfboard blank producing enterprise in December 200517 (KunTiqi Undated, p.5). Fibereglass and resin are the two other main materials used in a board shaping process as “fibreglass forms the hard, waterproof shell over the foam. Glassing a surfboard entails applying fibreglass fabric to a shaped blank with liquid resin and sanding once dried to make the board smooth” (Powers Undated, p. 26). The sanding process creates fiberglass dust which again is causing severe health risks to the person working with it without respirator (Kluba, pers. comment [17.06.2012]). In addition to all the energy needed to mass-produce it, fiberglass must be be treated with toxic metals like chromium, and after shaping and glassing the blank, polyester resin is used to harden the fiberglass. Styrene has recently been established as a carcinogen (Sullivan 2007) and in addition, is very energy consumptive in the making (Powers Undated). Schultz (Undated, p.4) estimates the creation of one six-foot locally hand shaped PU surfboard to release 380 pounds, or 172 kilograms, of carbon dioxide, based on a Life-Cycle assessment, which includes the material extraction, material processing, manufacturing, use, and disposal of the board. Roughly ¾ million surfboards are made a year with a carbon footprint of around 220,000 tonnes (Decarbonatedsports 2012, online), and according to Powers (Undated) the manufacture of wetsuits for surfing in non tropical waters is just as harmful as surfboard production.

4.4.2 Manufacture of Surf-Equipment - Wetsuits

Wetsuits are made out of synthetic rubber called polychloroprene and other highly poisonous crude oil based substances like butadienes, carbon blacks and metal salts like magnesium oxide which are produced through extensive mining and transferred into polychloroprene in petrochemical plants (Copeland, 2008) Methods for creating the polychloroprene are extremely resource intensive and require massive manufacturing plants. The production creates extensive carbon emissions and depends on non-renewable fossil fuels and finally result in significant amounts of Greenhouse gas (Powers Undated, p.39). Another way to produce polychloroprene is out of calcium carbonate, also called limestone, a non-renewable resource which is mined from mountains with heavy machinery (Copeland, 2008). Copeland (2008) explains that the creation of Polypropylene from raw-material sources create the worst part of a wetsuits environmental impact. Other components such as nylon or polyester fabric create less but still worrying negative environmental impacts. Another aspect that adds to the unsustainable nature of wetsuits is the fact that most factories are based in Asia, where emissions are mostly unregulated and working conditions are still unacceptable in terms of child labor, work hours and wages paid are among the lowest on the planet (Powers Undated).

4.4.3 Manufacture of Surf-Equipment - Apparel

The casual beach outfit worn by surfers around the globe includes a brand T-shirt, shorts, and rubber sandals18. ’’Surf clothing is no longer only a matter of function, but a question of what style can be marketed as hip.” (Powers Undated, p. 42). As well as wetsuits, surf clothing is often manufactured in Asia or other developing countries. The garments are typically made of non fare trade cotton which is known to be one of the most water and pesticide dependent crops of the planet (Claudio 2007). The harvested cotton is being shipped to China or other Asian countries where working conditions are still lacking European standards and often cause major socio-cultural and socio-economic inequality. The finished products are then again shipped to surf shops or shopping malls all over the globe. As Powers (Undated) states “the footprint of this clothing, including gas, water, and labor is enormous. If it’s still unclear, surf apparel companies are probably the biggest contributors to environmental problems involved in the surfing industry, aside from the habit of travel.” (p.42).

4.4.4 Surf Travel

Information about the consequences of surf tourism is still limited to studies like those of Buckley (2002 a & b), Murphy & Bernal (2008) and Ponting (2008). Examinations of the impacts of surf tourism on pacific island destinations or the Basque village Mundaka, indicate that increasing numbers of surf tourists at remote or pristine destinations have resulted in a range of environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts19. Other studies show, that transportation is by far the most environmentally unfriendly part of surfing culture and transport in the tourism sector contributes to global warming to a great extend (Holden 2008). To illustrate the point, not only tourists need to be transported but also goods that are distributed in the global tourism system. Consequently, Powers (Undated) states “The only reason surf travel has a smaller impact than the manufacture of surfing equipment/clothing is because surfers don’t travel as often as surfing products are shipped globally. But either driving everyday to check the surf or flying to Indonesia for a surf trip, the Greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, and resources it takes to build and operate vehicles are environmentally overwhelming” (p.51). Dick-Read (2007) even generalizes that “Surfers will think nothing of driving for hours to check every spot looking for the best wave for the wind, swell and tide conditions. Flying to the far side of the world for high-quality waves is simply seen as essential to the authentic lifestyle”.

4.5 Mitigation Strategies within the Global Surf Industry

4.5.1 Rethinking the Manufacture Process

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Powers (Undated) notes that “There are always unintended consequences when a system is changed, or a landscape is altered. We can only strive to minimize lasting environmental consequences by treading lightly where we notice fragility. In fact, this should be used as an intergenerational concept; most environmental consequences will not manifest overnight. Included in this concept is an overall respect for limits - that nature does not have bottomless barrels of oil, inexhaustible amounts of trees, or limitless usable water and so we must be careful about depending on them as though they are renewable” (p.7). For surfboard and wetsuit manufacture, a life-cycle analysis is an important step for the production of sustainable products20. For a surfboard, the life cycle is usually more cradle-to-grave, than cradle-to-cradle21. Although they can be recycled, it is practiced rather rare. The life cycle assessment of a surfboard needs to look at “the oil and chemicals used for materials, the non- renewable energy needed for manufacture, the gas used to transport it, and the threat it poses to the environment when thrown away” (Powers, Undated p. 8). The same counts for the production of wetsuits and surf clothing.

Other attempts towards more sustainable ways of surfboard manufacture is the use of alternative materials like balsa wood or bamboo, for the full corpus of the board or at least the topping (Kun Tiqi 2012, Kluba, pers. Comment [17.06.2012]).

4.5.2 Rethinking Marketing

For the companies and the individual consumer, acting sustainable or eco friendly has to pay off, or at least generate advantages. For the industry, in terms of sale volume and cash flow, for surfers in terms of an healthy ocean environment and eventually, quality of life. As Powers (Undated) claims “Surfers will expect the same performance standards, cost, and availability of sustainable alternatives that they get from conventional ones. If a shift toward sustainability involves a step down in performance for a step up in price, it’s not going to attract a lot of surfers. Overall sustainable alternatives do not presently exist in the surfing industry. However, the need for reducing the environmental impact of surfing can not be ignored. Rather, it’s a challenge for the surf industry to invent new ways of accomplishing the same ends.” (p.16). On the manufacturer side the consumer demand is the most driving factor to generate more sustainable performance, for it offers business advantage. For the companies have the financial resources to change the products, it is important to convince the consumer to decide in favor of sustainable or green products. For 'passion and youth' are the main selling concepts that drive the surf industry (SIMA 2009, online), it might be hardly displaced by 'eco', 'green' and 'sustainable', because marketing messages mostly address to leisure and hedonism instead of conservation and responsibility towards the environment. But, to use Powers (Undated) words “where do the surfing image and the environmentally conscious consumer meet? Dedicated and distinctively 'green' consumers are a target market of their own. But how to appear to 'green' surfers?” (p.17). SIMA also organizes Boot camps and fairs were 'green' brands and products are exclusively being discussed and where industry executives and marketers meet on ecological issues (SIMA 2012, online).

Many brands established in the surf industry are offering eco friendly products, but still, mainly in the clothing sector. Brands like Volcom or Rip Curl have produced eco friendly board shorts or else but the products still suffer customer demand. As Powers (Undated) states “Surf brands establish a style, or image, by the way they market their products”


1 The English word 'Surfing' for this thesis means surfing waves, not the German equivalent windsurfing.

2 Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862), author of Walden. Life in the Woods, contributed immensely to early environmentalist and transcendentalist ideas. In 1845 he moved into a hut in the woods at Walden Pond for two years to experiment on living with and off the natural environment surrounding him, questioning the sustainability of the industrialization and the capitalist system (Wikipedia 2012)

3 As explained in the 2011 ASBPA White Paper: “If appropriately oriented relative to the angle of wave approach, the offshore bars will refract waves enabling them to break along the sandbar in a peeling fashion with a continuously distinct breaking point and rolling shoulder (unbroken portion of the breaker). In addition, a sloping bottom along the length of the sandbar is typically needed to ensure an adequate length of ride for the surfer, as opposed to an abrupt change in seabed slope which can cause the wave to close out (collapse on itself)” (ASBPA 2011, p. 3)

4 The Example of Praia Castelejo shows that the sandy part of a beach can disappear completely after big winter storms, leaving only the rocky bottom behind. “It did not affect the surfing too much but the beach restaurant suffered from less customers” (Rui, local surfer, pers. Comment). In French Le Gurp, Huge Boulders that are dumped one km offshore to help protect the coastline break waves over 5ft before they reach the sandbars. So Le Gurp is known for smaller waves when everywhere else it gets too big (Maurice, surf instructor, pers. comment [10.08. 2012]).

5 Famous examples are Bells Beach on Australian south coast, Malibu, California, up to 2 km long Chicama in Peru and Coxos in North Portugal (Wikipedia 2012, online).

6 A shaperoom is the place where a surfboard shaper produces surfboards out of wood, bamboo or polystyrene foam, tops it with resin and fibreglass. Small shapers often experience with shape and size, materials etc. Some shapers are very famous and oftenproduce surfboards forbig companies.

7 Special beaches and surfboards were reserved for the ruling class, whereas the common people surfed drfferentbeaches on shorterboards (Young 1983: 19)

8 “In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen...would wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its family crest and himself upon the board, a here he would come whizzing by like a bombshellL.I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right, and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself. The board struck shore in three-quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me”(Twain 1872, in Finney and Houston 1996:101).

9 Ten year old Claude West, who, with a bit of practice, won the Australian surfing championships from 1919 to 1924 introduced the surfboard as a handy tool in water related rescue work (Young 1983, p.19; 47)

10 Clark Foam, founded in 1961, was the premiere and monopolistic surfboard blank supplier on the planet, who had used polyurethane as the material for his blanks for decades was forced to shut down on December 5, 2005 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. ( 2012).

11 Balsa wood is now again used by shapers such as Kun Tiqi who imports the blanks from Peru where he works together with a local family (Kun Tiqi 2012).

12 Elastic and resilient leash that is adjusted on the end of the surfboard and on the other end, worn around the surfers foot or calf and assures that the board stay around after falling of the board (Mackert 2005).

13 The release of Bruce Brown's (1966) movie, The Endless Summer, which documents two surfers'journey to various surf spots around the globe and follow the meteorological summer, was followed by a rise in surf travel inthe late 60s (Young 1983).

14 'Dawn patrol' is an expression used for surfers that appear on the beach in the early morning hours to benefit from wind conditions and empty spots.

15 Professional surfers such as ten times world champion Kelly Slater, who again won a first place title at the 2012 'Rip Curl Pro' in France, hold million dollar sponsorship contracts with surf brands such as Quicksilver, Billabong or Rip Curl.

16 'The Search for the perfect wave' is a credo shared by many people involved in the surf industry, such as surfers them self and the surf related media. Videos or magazines include numerous advertisements for surf holidays in far away destinations. Desires are constantly fueled through high definition pictures of perfectly peeling waves in front of lush tropical scenery, the, coastlines covered in snow or in 'muddy Indian waters' (Bleakley 2011).

17 The Closure didn't have an impact on a more environmentally aware production process. Instead of using new materials and standards, the industry but moved overseas to countries with more relaxed environmental standards like China, meaning even more shipping miles and more TDI” so Powers (Undated, p.24).

18 For the colder regions, a Hooded sweater and a relaxed fitted pant made of denim or cotton are the common dress code. What was seen as a drop out outfit by mainstream culture has now become itself mainstream culture

19 As foreign-controlled surfing tourism enterprises generate an imbalanced wealth distribution at destinations as the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia. (Ponting 2008), Reed (1999) even speaks of surfing tourism as a potential destructive kind ofNeocolonialism.

20 A life-cycle analysis or life cycle assessment, also known as ecobalance, and cradle-to-grave analysis is a method to calculate or assess the environmental impacts caused by the difference manufacturing stages of a product. These include the productions steps raw material extraction, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. (Wikipedia 2012, online)

21 “Put simply, it is a holistic economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not only efficient but also essentially waste free” (Lovins 2008, pp. 38-40)

Excerpt out of 120 pages


Eco Certification. A Tool to establish Surf Tourism with lower Environmental Impact?
A Case Study in the Algarve, Portugal
The University of Applied Sciences in Eberswalde
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ISBN (eBook)
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2087 KB
Tourismus, Eco Certification, Zertifizierung, Nachhaltiger Tourismus, Sustainable Tourism, Surf Tourismus, Surfen, Portugal, Algarve
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Carolin Segebrecht (Author), 2013, Eco Certification. A Tool to establish Surf Tourism with lower Environmental Impact?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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