In the ten years between 2001 and 2011 the world population of surfers has grown from 26 million to 35 million – and we’re not even remotely referring to the internet here. More surfers riding waves could mean more money flowing into surfing related industries – already in the billions of dollars. But there’s a problem. Unlike stadiums, golf courses and skateboard parks, there isn’t a way to multiply the number of big waves. So the waves have become a commodity of sorts. A recent article in The Economist noted that Cloudbreak, a much desired “monster wave” inFijiwas once accessible only to visitors at a nearby resort which charged $4,000 for a one-day stay. But the Fijian government came to the rescue with legislation that opened the beach to the public. “Newly discovered” waves along the coast ofAfricaare also leading to increased surfing related tourism to that continent.
At some surfing beaches, especially inSouthern California, competition for the big waves can be quite fierce. Locals mark territories with graffiti on nearby buildings, and visiting surfers are subjected to intimidation, and in some cases violence. Meanwhile, science promises to come to the rescue with wave making technology. Until now, wave making technology has mainly been confined to waterparks, but engineers are working to change that. Wavegarden is one company working on technology to create surfing waves on ponds, lakes and calm beaches. If they can accomplish this, almost any waterfront can become a surfing haven. And ultimately, you won’t have to go to where the waves are because they will come to you.
- Wavegarden, a perfect left-hander wave in the middle of the forest (thezigzagger.com)