Surfing Resources

Waves for surfing are important resources for surfers and for coastal communities. Surf breaks are valuable AND vulnerable. How can we manage them better?

Isn't this just Surfology, Surfingology, Surfography, or Surf Science?

Yes. But while we work to officially formalize the discipline of The Study of Surfing via the (first ever) International Association of Surfing Research, I will continue to plug away at "Coastography" since I study other things too, like coastal access and equity. Within this broader umbrella, the kind of surf science that fascinates me is wave resource management: how we understand and manage waves (for surfing) as important natural resources.

Surfing Resource Management

This work examines relationships between local knowledge, sense of place, and resource stewardship—each of these has implications for sustainability—and the potential role of coastal resources users in management. These interdisciplinary components center around some of California's most iconic and important natural resources—beaches & waves—by engaging with the surfing community, whose local knowledge of these resources is unrivaled. I am collecting and recording their local ecological knowledge at as well as pursuing related projects investigating the value and vulnerability of wave resources.

One of the most common questions pertains to the vulnerability of wave resources to our changing climate. One of my recent publications addresses this directly:

One of the key contributions of this paper is a surf break vulnerability assessment tool:

My ongoing work and collaborations surrounding surfing resources have resulted in additional outputs, including:

Predicting the future of the coast from its past.

"Surfers are magical oceanographers." - Ricky Grigg

The year's highest tides and what they portend for waves.

Peopled Seascapes

Coasts are complex, coupled social-ecological systems; managing their diverse resources, users, and inhabitants (human and otherwise) is a challenge. Understanding the relationships between people and coastal ecosystems, including governance approaches, is an interdisciplinary challenge. As part of a collaboration with colleagues in academia and at an international, coastal conservation NGO, the Save The Waves Coalition, we drew on common pool resource theory to evaluate the effectiveness of six countries' strategies for coastal governance through the World Surfing Reserve System.

My wider interests include the human-dimensions of oceans and coasts and how they are and are not incorporated into resource management. See: