The average U.S. surfer is 34 years old and earns $75,000 per year. He has studied in the university and is currently employed. These are the main results of a study developed by G. Scott Wagner, Chad Nelsen and Matt Walker.
The first national report on the recreational, demographic and economic characteristics of surfers offers interesting data on how US wave riders live and enjoy their sport. The entire report is available, here.
"Our findings strongly contradict the historic stereotype of surfers as an uneducated and unemployed fringe group of coastal users. The average surfer in the U.S. has 16 years of experience, surfs 108 times per year, and spends an average $66 per visit", the study reports.
Surfers from the USA prefer morning surf sessions and usually catch waves for 2-3 hours in the nearby surf spots. These results are limited to the 5,360 respondents and cannot be extrapolated to the larger population of surfers because of the survey methodology.
Surfing is clearly a strong empowerment tool to coastal communities, in which riders spend $36 million each year. The surf industry has connections with classic tourism activities, restaurants, local handicraft, cultural events and attractions, traveling businesses, etc.
Recently, the San Diego State University announced the launch of "The Center for Surf Research", a project that will study the culture and economic power of surfing.
It is estimated by the SurferToday Research Center that the world surfing industry (including skateboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and bodyboard) is worth over $20 billion.