Surfonomics is the science of saving surfing waves.

Ports and Marinas are big business. Shipping terminals are big business. Facilities to offload Liquefied Natural Gas and Crude Oil require a lot of space. Most activities in these industries take place along the coast. As coastal development continues, surfing waves must also compete for space along the shores. To compete with large economic engines such as shipping and energy, surfing waves must prove their monetary contribution. The practice of accessing the economic value of a surfing wave is known as Surfonomics.

Nowadays, people acknowledge that surfing waves are valuable to coastal communities. Like geysers, rivers and waterfalls surfing waves are marvelous natural resources. Because surfing waves are natural resources, they are susceptible to over usage, depletion and in some cases destruction. Thank goodness many groups exist today for the sole purpose of protecting surfing waves from development.


The First Peak Project is not a development project.

The First Peak Project is part restoration project; part enhancement project. The First Peak Project is all about restoring a lost surfing wave by making the existing jetty better. This principle of improving something that already exists is similar to installing solar panels on the roof or your home. Another example would be converting your front yard into an ocean-friendly garden, allowing indigenous fauna and flora to thrive in their natural habitat.

Surfonomics protects surfing waves from development. Technically, Surfonomics is not a tool designed to value a restoration project. However, we believe Surfonomics could provide us insightful guidance in the evaluation of First Peak. If Surfonomics assigns an economic value to an existing surfing wave were that wave destroyed, the inverse statement must be true. If someone restores a surfing waves, the economic value of the new wave must be comparable to a lost wave of the similar scope and scale. For example, Trestles is worth $26 million dollars each year to the economy of California. If someone erects another Lowers (which would be awesome), Surfonomics tells us the new wave should be worth approximately $26 million dollars every year.


In the Surfonomics Category, we’ll explore the potential economic benefits of restoring First Peak.

In Part One of our Surfonomics review we’ll visit Southern California’s premier commercial surfing engine, Trestles. The brilliant research done at Trestles helps frame the underlying principles of Surfonomics, such as introducing the term consumer surplus, to the study of saving waves.

In Part Two we’ll venture north along the California coast to Mavericks. A behemoth in the big wave arena, Mavericks is only ridden by a handful of the world’s craziest surfers. However, on a measure of economic contribution, Mavericks rivals even the likes of Trestles. The Surfonomics of Mavericks brings principles to the table such as branding and tourism. Is is fascinating how these factors contribute to the intrinsic value of waves.

Following the Mavericks study, in Part Three, we’ll explore the economic elephants in the room: Marketing and Advertising. World-class surfing waves have proven themselves time and time again to generate global interests. Additionally, the internet has shrunken the world and made global advertising and marketing impacts readily attainable. That is, if and only if you’re courageous enough to tap into it.

In Part Four we’ll discuss the economic unmentionables associated with restoring a surfing wave. Precisely as the name presumes, these benefits are unmentionable and rarely included in Surfonomics. In the interim, we’ll refrain from mentioning the unmentionables until it’s their turn.

Finally, we’ll sum it all up. In Part Five, we will synthesize a preliminary economic evaluation of First Peak. This economic survey will incorporate the philosophies presented in the past four posts. We’ll include best and worst case scenarios. According to Surfonomics, what is restoring First Peak worth?

We’ll also apply the age old venture capitalist adage to our study. Whatever dollar value we assign to restoring First Peak, we’ll double it. Whatever the total economic benefit of restoring First Peak happens to be, we’ll cut it in half. By doubling our costs and cutting our benefits in half, will First Peak’s restoration be economically viable?  η



The Surfonomic truth is in the eyes of the surfer.

Regarding restoring a surfing wave, what economic indicators are most important to you? Leave us a comment below. We value your opinions, so please value our comment policy.