OK, look. I need a big fat disclaimer right up front. I’m completely biased. I am a long, looong way from objective on this matter.
Last year I started the Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University. It’s the first research center in the world to focus on the sustainability of surf tourism. We’ve staged conferences attended by more than 500, and had interns and alumni at surf destinations in Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Indonesia. We’ve developed a sustainable surf tourism certification program and study abroad trips to surf tourism destinations. I firmly believe that surf tourism can facilitate student learning and be a driver of local economic and social development without negatively impacting the environment or local cultures. In fact, I believe well managed surf tourism can support environmental conservation.