Saturday, November 26, 2011

THE GLOBALIZATION OF SURF CULTURE AND ITS IMPACT IN DESTINATION MANAGEMENT


Surfing is more than sport. It has its spiritual side like kung fu, its own culture like any other art movement; it is a way of living and often a synonym of fashion and lifestyle perceived by the society worldwide.
The shaping of the surfing culture started decades ago and today is lived not only by surfers, but also by larger groups who identify themselves with surfing sport culture without ever standing on a board but you can actually find in every corner of the earth branded surf clothing even if the closest surf spots are thousands of miles away.
We may exaggerate and call it the “globalization of surf culture” which made surfing more popular and a very profitable business. Actually, one of the ways to continue protecting our waves is to make them profitable, and Supertubos in Peniche, Portugal, is an example of how surfing came above other economical interests. Supertubos is now one of the greatest surf breaks in Europe and a World Tour Event bringing thousands of people to this small fishing village which is now in the map of surfing like never before. Only with its first event, Peniche was mentioned more times in the press than in the past 50 years together.
The visibility of surfing made also possible organizations like Surf Riders Foundation, Save the Waves Coalition, Surfers against Sewage and World Surfing Reserves just to name a few, along with many anonym individuals to shout out loud to the world environmental atrocities from happening.

The surf culture cool, positive, sustainable and dynamic attitude is now used for marketing purposes by many other businesses, like car and insurance adverts, or even bank loan campaigns and the use of broadband in mobile phones. Actually, these businesses are some of the major sponsors of today’ surfing.
Many coastal destinations are also managing their brand in association to surfing not only because of the surf tourism, which in many fishing villages happen to be not a niche but one of its main tourism markets. Modern coastal resorts often use surf as way of promoting a fashionable, dynamic and cool image and consequently sponsorship of surfing events became an important item of public and private sector’s marketing budgets. Surfing events have now many forms from purely surfing competition events to surf music festivals, photo exhibitions and film festivals where surf is the main theme.
This transformation of surfing was possible due to the increasing number of surfers in the planet that get together also with non surfers to celebrate surfing as a cultural phenomenon, where cool music, art and surfing express sessions are taken.

About the author

Surf'inn Surf Camps network
Surf’inn is a branded network of surf camps that has been giving advice to both public and private sector on how to establish surf marketing campaigns, conducting market studies, developing strategies and feasibility analysis to leverage a surf positioning.
Surf’inn is also extending its global presence by operating with the best suppliers for accommodation and surf classes.

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