Surf Protection, Surf Economics
June 19 2009

New York Surfers Defy Surfer Stereotype

by Chad Nelsen

Photo from: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

A recent article from the NY Times about surfer's objections of an offshore LNG facility in New York had this quote:

“Our community is both much bigger and far more diverse than people give it credit for,’’ said Chris Wade, the chairman of the Surfrider Foundation’s New York City chapter and one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest. “The average outsider who doesn’t surf has stereotypical ideas of who a surfer is and where they live and we defy those stereotypes here in New York.”

Chris is right and he's also a classic example of someone who defies the surfer stereotype - he was an infantry officer in the Marines, he has an Ivy League education, he has a Masters in History from Duke University, he's a teacher and a very active volunteer for the Surfrider Foundation.

He's also not alone and its also not only a phenomenon in New York.

A paper I wrote on the socioeconomics of surfers Trestles in Southern California had similar findings - surfers tend to be fully employed, well educated and earn high incomes. They essential reflect the communities they come from - that probably shouldn't be a surprise.

To help better understand who surfer's are, Surf First has launched a national survey of surfers to better understand their demographics, surfing habitats and economic impacts to coastal communities. You can check out the survey here.