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World - Surf economics: what is the value of a wave?

Surfing is a free recreational outdoor activity with approximately 35 million participants worldwide.

In search of perfect waves, surfers travel all around the world and engage with thousands of coastal communities all-year-round.

The concept of surf economics - also known as surfonomics - has been used by environmental, surf-related non-governmental organizations (NGO) like Save The Waves Coalition and Surfrider Foundation to evaluate economic benefits derived from surfing.

The analysis always takes into consideration the increasing number of harmful coastal developments and pollution events that threaten surf spots.

Surf economics quantifies the economic benefits that surf tourism brings to local communities while simultaneously addresses and promotes the need for a coastal conservation mindset.

Surfonomics applies natural resource economics to better understand the economic value of waves and surfing to coastal communities and the consumer surplus that surf breaks provide to millions of surfers.

The cost-benefit studies applied to surf tourism are not new, but the first systematic analysis of waves' value got its first public impact in 2001.

Chad Nelsen, the CEO of Surfrider Foundation (2016-), teamed up with his colleague Ken Lindeman and Duke University economist Linwood Pendleton to develop a quick economic assessment for a condominium project that would destroy the waves in Rincon, Puerto Rico.

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