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Surf Cities conference to promote the growth of the surf industry

Surf Cities conference to promote the growth of the surf industry
February 22, 2013

Delegates to the upcoming Global Surf Cities Conference on the Gold Coast will be told that the value of the global surf industry could be as high as US$131 billion annually.

That's the finding of a Southern Cross University (SCU) Business School study conducted last year and a figure set to inspire global surf industry leaders at the conference.

With the them 'destination, innovation, and collaboration', the inaugural Global Cities Surf Conference at the Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre on the Gold Coast from 27th February to 1st March.

SCU Professor Ian Eddie believes that the task for surfing cities around the world is to establish globally competitive surf and sustainable industries as significant components of their economic base.

Professor Eddie explains "an estimate of the total size of the global surf industry is within the range from US$47 to US$131 billion annually based on a current estimate of the total population of 35 million surfers and estimates of surfer expenditure.

"This number of surfers is expected to increase significantly as surfing is adopted as both a sport and lifestyle in a large number of emerging and developing countries in Asia, the Pacific, Central and South America and around the African coast.

"Within the next decade there is potential for the number to grow by an additional 20 million participants, assuming a compound annual growth rate of around 5%.

"If this growth rate is sustained, then by the mid-2040s there will be approximately 100 million surfers globally."

Professor Eddie said there needs to be much greater attention paid to the need for this fast-growing global surf economy to be developed in a sustainable manner.

He adds "we need to work out how all these millions of future surfers can be best managed in an environment under threat from climate change.

"We must ask how cities can develop policies and practices to ensure they have a clean and green development agenda that includes ecologically sustainable coastal management practices," he said.

Professor Eddie said Gold Coast is one of the world's leading surf cities with an economic impact of the local surf industry estimated in 2009 to be $3.3 billion annually, "that's an impressive amount, but designing, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing surfing hardware and services to this emerging market will provide the surf industry with significant economic and business opportunities for growth in the coming decades."

The conference will also feature high profile speakers including UK-based environmental advisor Chris Hines; Andy Abel from Papua New Guinea Surf Tourism; Dr Jess Ponting from the Centre for Surf Research in the USA and David Byrne from Surftech International Australia.

The conference is being coordinated by the Gold Coast Surf City Incorporated, a not-for-profit entity with the objective of promoting the growth of the surf industry on the Gold Coast and the alignment of the Gold Coast as a world-leading surf city.

Top level surf city representatives from around Australia and the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Brazil and the United States will assemble to hear from internationally acclaimed speakers in the areas of surf business, innovation in surf, surf tourism, coastal management and surf city governance.

The two major aims of the conference are to establish a platform for networking among surf cities to develop globally sustainable surf industries, and to develop frameworks for international collaboration in surf industry education, employment and global career mobility.

Themes such as strategic tourism development, hard and soft infrastructure development and business and industry development will feature heavily.

The conference will also play host to the World Surf Cities Network Annual General Meeting - an initiative that commenced in San Sebastian, Spain in 2011.

The network consists of nine leading surf cities from around the world comprising the Gold Coast, Newcastle, Donostia-San Sebastian in Spain, Arica in Chile, Durban in South Africa, Ericeira in Portugal, Hossegor in France, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain and Santos in Brazil.

The Conference, which precedes the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Surf Events, will finish on the corporate deck at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro trials - a great opportunity to see the Gold Coast Surf industry in action and see some great surfing!

For more information contact Sofie Van Overmeir of Platinum Events on 02 4221 2800, E:

To register go to



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