Surfing PhD


My good friend Chad Nelsen, Environmental Director at Surfrider Foundation, has a great post at the Surf Economics blog about daily beach attendance at Trestles, in SoCal. Why the schism? Surfers have to go to work. Beachgoers… don’t. In a way, he’s kinda blogging his doctoral dissertation at UCLA, feeding us tidbits like this as he goes along.

Chad and I both hit the “glassy” ceiling three or four years ago and decided to go back to grad school for what we love most- our families, and surfing, and, you know, the deep blue sea. Now we crunch data and write papers and abstracts, and actually think we know what we’re talking about… sometimes.

I like Chad’s research alot. He’s doing for surfing what other economists have done for fishing, hiking, and scuba diving- helping to put a price on the value of nature. One of Surfrider’s big accomplishments- declaring a surf break a national monument in Rincon, Puerto Rico. How’s that for awesome? Save the waves!

7 Replies to “Surfing PhD”

  1. This is a generalized graph of surfing and beach going that is loosely based on my findings at Trestles as compared to beach going from the Southern California Beach Valuation Study (Hanemann, Pendleton, et al 2001) as well as anecdotal information from surfers.

    It does look like a tide chart!

    The tides shift about 50 minutes later each day so over a season or a year you’ll find that during some weeks and at some surf spots the tide will be a factor in the timing of surfing or in site choice for surfers. It is also important to note that some surfing spots are more tide sensitive than others. Trestles happens to be a place that can be surfed at almost any tide.

    So the influence of the tide on this graph would depend on the surf site and what time period you were describing.

  2. Trestles and South Texas have broad, sandy beaches but if this data were from were eroded beaches in New Jersey I would think tide stand was negatively correlated with beach area. Not much beach left for sunbathing at high tide! LOL.

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