Surfers are catching on.

It’s getting crowded out there. For example, Outside Magazine’s Ben Yeager nailed it when he wrote,

“If you build it, surfers will come.”

Of course, they will. It seems like every day there are more and more surfers in the water. This is happening at your home break and your favorite surfing spot abroad. As the sport of surfing grows, and as lineups become more crowded, a harsh reality is starting to settle in. There are very few new surfing waves being created or discovered to keep pace with the rapidly increasing amount of surfers on the planet. Welcome to the state of hyper demand.


Popular surfing spots will continue to get more and more overcrowded.

In economic terms, to remain at equilibrium and keep everyone happy, as the demand for surfing waves goes up, the supply for surfing waves must also increase. Therein lies the problem. The number of surfing waves is not going up. This makes surfing waves a finite resource of sorts. Due to overcrowding, these resources are becoming a depleted or even exhausted resource. Notwithstanding, the supply of surfing waves is stagnant or even diminished if you consider the waves lost to coastal development. Rough waters may be ahead.

Hyper Demand
Excerpt from Outdoor Magazine’s Artcles “If you build it, surfers will come.” Photo by Outside Magazine


It all boils down to the law of supply and demand.

As demand increases and supply remains stagnant, the gap between supply and demand continues to increase. The economic term for this gap between supply and demand is price. Of course, surfing waves are essentially free. However, surfers will ultimately have to pay the price of increasing demand. Dropping in on each other, paddle battling, showing up an hour before sunrise to a crowd, parking lot altercations, lineup altercations, and bullying are all examples of paying the price of increasing demand. It gets even worse.


High-quality surfing waves are in hyper demand.

All of the examples mentioned before are indicators proving that supply is not keeping pace with demand. When the demand for surfing waves has reached the point to where people stop enjoying surfing, then a state of hyper demand has been breached. It’s scary when this happens but it’s a sad reality for many of us.

Business models usually are on the lookout for indicators of markets in a state of hyper demand. These are the markets that have the best potential for success if one could only satiate the gap. In the case of surfing, the only way to fill the price gap is to make more waves. For us surfers, this means that we should all start demanding more surfing waves. Simple economics show us that if more surfing waves are supplied, and the demand is met, then we should all see a lot more smiling faces. In surfonomic terms, if they build it, we will surf it. η



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