Surfing in the UK: 500,000 riders in the country of Queen Elizabeth II

A new economic study has revealed that surfing is worth over £1.8 billion to the UK economy.


The first complete study on the value of surfing to the UK economy has been conducted by Surfers Against Sewage and economist Bryan Mills.

There are 500,000 surfers in the country of Queen Elizabeth II. Almost 17.5% of British surfers are located in Cornwall.

Using an economic multiplier for tourism, none having been deduced for surfing, it can be suggested that the indirect economic impact of surfing may be as much as £3.96bn (£1.8bn X 2.2) and the overall impact as much as £4.95bn (£3.96bn x1.25).

British surfers spend an annualised average of £495.21 on surfboards, wetsuits, accessories and clothes, £222.86 on car parking, £708.45 on refreshments in local cafes and bars, £587.30 on local convenience stores and £966.27 on fuel.

An average of £169 is spent on accommodation in the UK and £474 is spent on foreign travel. This reflects the fact that not all surfers travel abroad, partly due to being able to enjoy world class waves in their own country. Many respondents spent in excess of £1,000.

Although the majority of surfers are based in and around the areas most commonly associated with surfing (Cornwall and Devon), 11 surfing regions have surfer populations in excess of 10,000.

Surfers (64%) have on average higher levels of educational attainment than the wider population (27%). Surfing in the UK is not restricted to those under 30 years of age and in fact reaches out to those in their 40s, 50s and beyond.

The survey generated a total of 2,159 useable responses.