Globally, the number of active surfers is estimated to be around 23 million. This number might appear inferior to the 256 million who play football, or what the Americans refer to as soccer. Surfers are among the best played athletes too. Revenues associated with surfing have exceeded $7.3 billion. What this shows is that surfing can no longer be ignored. In Australia, surfing has a rich history as you will learn below.
Beautiful, Sandy Beaches
The Gold Coast is renowned for its beautiful, sandy beaches. Where there are beaches, you will most definitely find massive water bodies, such as seas and oceans. Australia has these in plenty. These are just some of the reasons that have made Australia a premier surfing destination. It attracts professional and amateur surfers from all over the world. As a culture, surfing hit Australia like a ton of bricks in the 1960s, and never lost its initial allure.
High Population of Surfers
Estimates indicate that Australia has around 2.5 million surfers. Surfing has made Australia one of the most popular travel and holiday destinations in the world. Although the surfing craze hit Australians in the 1960s, the sport’s origins go back to 1917 when the country began being recognized as the “surfer’s paradise”. The country’s reputation in the surfing world went up a notch higher when one of its towns, Elston, had its name changed officially to Surfers paradise.
1960s; Surfing Craze
During the 1950s and 1960s, the massive development that took place in the Gold Coast led to an increase in surfing’s popularity in the country. The 1970s marked a period when a strong surfing industry emerged in the Gold Coast. The Stubbies Surf Classic that took place in the Gold Coast in 1977 ensured that there would not be any more doubt regarding the city’s pride of place in the surfing world. This event was the first of its kind and heralded the changes that would follow.
Contributes to Lifestyle and Economy
Today, few things compete with the contribution that surfing makes to the economy and lifestyle of the Gold Coast. The city’s surf breaks are famous around the world, thus attracting international surfers and visitors. The Gold Coast has produced some celebrated surfing champions over the years. The heavyweights of the industry have made the Gold Coast their home. National and international surfing events take place here too.
Attractive to International Surfers
Some of the best surfers around the world travel to the Gold Coast around the year to practice, visit, or participate in different competitive events. Surfing continues to thrive as a sport and an industry here because of the presence of different players. For example, the city is home to the best surf schools, surfboard shapers, tour operators, clothing retailers and surf events. The surfing industry contributes $3.3 billion to the local economy. It employs around 21,000 people.
It is doubtful if surfing would really excel if not for the support that coastal lifestyle and beaches receive. Local authorities have established a coastal management strategy that has long-term goals. The strategy ensures proper regulation of funding, infrastructure projects, and coastal management works that are currently in motion. Gold Coast is proudly and deservedly recognised as the surfing capital of the world.