New research from Stanford University draws on science4surfing survey data to explain:

  • why surfers develop wave knowledge for surfing, and
  • how this knowledge is important for coastal management.



The utility of surfers’ wave knowledge for coastal management.

Abstract   In the face of environmental change, managing coastal resources effectively to benefit coastal stake-holders means understanding both complex coastal processes and the needs of stakeholders. Surfers are a culturally and economically significant group of coastal resource users who, in the act of participating in their sport, can acquire deep knowledge about the coastal environment and about wave resources in particular. As the primary users of wave resources, surfers could contribute substantially to both understanding the resources themselves and supplying locally-relevant data to inform their management. This study investigates the local knowledge of surfers through two surveys of more than one thousand California surfers and promulgates, based on survey data, a formal definition of surfers’ local knowledge as “wave knowledge.” In so doing, this study makes the case that wave knowledge can be used to inform coastal management decision-making in those situations where wave resources, and thus the growing stakeholder group of surfers, could possibly be affected.

By Dr. Dan Reineman

Marine Policy

May 2016

Volume 67: pp 139-147.

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