This has been brewing for longer than a fart under the bedsheets. What benefits would there be to having some representation in ‘decision making’ politics? A mole, if you like, one that surfed and understood the world from a surfers perspective? The quite simple answer is, a lot.
My ‘scrambled egg’ brain of emotions, sense and facts need to be properly formatted so I will present this article to you in a constructive manner, thus…
Why do we (surfers) need to be understood and recognised as a group of people?
The simplest of answers must dictate that we are ‘different’ as a subset of humanity. We have a different focus and drive but our needs are quite simple. There are things that would make our lives easier and things that would make our lives harder, these are little understood by the word-slinging lawmakers at present.
There is the eco-perspective, one that links us all as humans but by which also must recognize our subset. We are water users, we are actually immersed in the water for a great deal of time, the water quality and wildlife effect us more than most. There is a great need, now more than ever, for us as a race to be responsible with our usage of the ocean. Surfers (on the whole) understand that.
What is surfing worth in $$ to the world?
This is a quote from a Surfanomics article on ‘Beachapedia’ website and it’s quite enlightening:
A 2017 study estimated the worldwide value of good surfing waves to be $50 billion per year. Surfing represents a very profitable market, a growing industry, and a reason people move to coastal areas. Surfing plays a major part in the recreation and tourism strategies for many coastal locations. Any negative impact on the surfing amenity in these locations may have serious consequences for the resident surfing population, visitors to the area, the local surf industry and the entire local coastal economy.
The above info is a worth that politicians and local authorities can put on our ‘pastime’. This is a sizeable amount of money and the tax revenues on this amount should not go unnoticed.
What would benefit us and our sport in local areas all over the world? AKA what can they give back.
As far as I can see and I have said above, we surfers, our image, lifestyle and general portrayal are up there for people to use. To link your business (even in a tenuous way) to surfing means that you are going to be better off. That's just a fact. Businesses pay tax and the more you make, the more tax you pay. But where to those tax $$ go? Do they go, in part at least, back into making our life easier for us as a subset? To attract more people to make the leap into enjoying the ocean and the best feeling in the world? Sadly, in a lot of cases, this is not the case.
Getting to the point then, in areas that rely now on surf tourism, why should we not have a slice of the budget? Maybe even our opinions asked about what would make the area more attractive for surfers. It’s not rocket science, just good business sense and keeping everyone happy via real and interactive improvement. Ask us (surfers) what would improve that surf spot, what would meet our needs as ‘wave cravers’. Showers? Free Parking? Surfboard Lockers? Free Money?
Surfing is no longer a hobby that stoners do, it’s not about dropouts and van dwelling crusties (disclaimer: not all van-dwellers are crusties). People that society accepts into its ranks also surf, it’s something we want our kids to do, it’s healthy, it’s fun and most importantly (to the taxman) it makes money.
Below is the only politician we know that surfs...
I live in-betwixt two surf towns, places that rely heavily on surf tourism in the season, one has embraced the idea, given back and is now thriving, the other has not and is nearing a point were visitors are starting to notice the lack of amenities and improvements, such is the difference.
My words may make me seem like I am entitled and expect much but in reality, I am merely observing and (as a surfer) noticing the mood and change happening. I notice the comments in the water. Another thing that is worth noting is that the all the amenities or there lack of, are not going to stop people like my good self surfing but it’s not me (a local surfer) that will keep the coffers full but instead the holidaymakers that need to be wooed.
This has been a word of warning, if you take, you need to give back. Drop Mic.