Here’s How Many People In The World Surf:
Surfing is a sport built on variables. Wind and swell direction, swell size, waiting period, sandbanks, crowds, and all that fun stuff that makes it such an enjoyable challenge. It’s also a sport built on subjectivity, which becomes painfully apparent every time we try to attach numbers, rankings, or really, any quantifiable data to it.
So, take this with a boulder of pink Himalayan: Transworld Biz recently released their State Of Surf report, and with it, a guesstimate of how many people in the world surf.
According to the report, there were 2.70 million surfers in the world in 2015 (around 1.03m core, 1.66m casual). Which, if you’ve ever been to the Gold Coast during a cyclone swell, seems insanely undercooked.
So, how'd they get this number? According to TWB, it doesn’t take much to call yourself a surfer; Just a little something rideable sitting in the garage collecting webs, used perhaps bi-monthly, is enough. But there needs to be a measurement, some starting point, and this is what they went with:
Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) defines a ‘casual’ surfer as “anyone who surfed at least once during the year,” while a ‘core’ surfer is defined as “those who surfed more than eight times during the year.”
Which seems wildly generous at first glance. The term ‘core’ will undoubtedly fill many of your heads with a daily surfer (perhaps yourself), to whom the idea of eight times a year equaling core would be insulting. Unless you consider people who live in places like Stockholm, and surf places like Toro in the Baltic eight times a year when the wind is blowing over 10 metres per second, which is pretty goddamn core. Again, there’s that subjectivity...
Does the 2.70 estimate seem a little light?