By Sarah Yeap
While surfing is seen as a part of Australia's identity, many have used this as a lucrative business opportunity. This being the case, some surfers feel that surfing is no longer considered spiritual and as a surfers entity, but that it is being transformed into a money making process. This essay will be talking about how tourists and foreigners have affected the surfing lifestyle as the industry has attracted a large population to the beach, therefore, making it very difficult for surfers to continue their carefree lifestyle. Waves are being 'stolen', and surf rage is becoming more of an issue due to the overpopulation at the beach. Furthermore, industrialization has drastically changed the surf culture. Many ancient traditions have no longer been seen in this modern day of surfing and his has cause numeral surfers to feel that surfing has lost it's meaning.
Surfing has gained popularity rapidly and many companies have ceased the chance to turn it into a multi-million dollar franchise. Shops such as Billabong, Ripcurl and Quiksilver are well-known for their beach fashion and surfboards. These shops have made non-surfers join the trends of the beach and show them they didn't need to be surfers to dress like them. However, this too might cause a problem amongst 'real' surfers. Being very territorial, surfers do not like how these companies are making money off them as before this boomed the industry, surfers were frowned upon back in the day. Some surfers have even boycotted these brands as they feel that these firms are being very hypocritical and even blame them for ruining the individualism of surfing. Surfing was also an escape from reality for most people, especially during the World War. Surfers created a special bond with each other during the hardships of war, constantly longing for freedom. “I think the notion of mateship among that World War II generation was very, very strong and it found expression in places like surf life saving clubs.” (Waterhouse, 2009) Even then, society continued to shun them as surfers just wanted to surf and hence, disregarded the life saving clubs which were highly respectable at that time. They were perceived as lazy for spending all their time at the beach and for not working at all. “We weresomewhat ostracised from the main body of the club... They’d regard us somewhat as alot of bums.” (Woods, 2009)
Companies have transformed this carefree lifestyle into a hectic business, however also giving surfers the opportunity to become recognised professional surfers. Often, many jobs are offered to these surfers for endorsement deals for surfing brands such as Billabong. 'Billabong is the highest selling surf label worldwide and is the core brand of Billabong International Limited which has grown to include; Element, Von Zipper, Honolua Surf Company, Kustom, Palmers Surf, Nixon, Xcel, Tigerlily, Sector 9 and DaKine brands (Santi 2008, 6).' This large company helped to introduce more people to venture into the sport, creating a wider market for the surf industry and the surf craze did not stop there. Additionally, surf movies were made to capture audiences and to take them on the journeys and adventures surfers experience. 'Surf movies ignited an explosion of interest. These movies truly opened America's eyes to surfing as a pastime. As a result the nation was hooked.' (Club Of The Waves, 2013) Many surfers were asked to contribute to documentaries, or were paid to act in surfing movies. This also continues to give surfers or actors recognition and fame, creating many different business opportunities for them. Surfing companies do not only make money from selling clothing, surfboards and movies. Sales in surf magazines have also escalated over the years, showing that more and more people are enticed into this trendy scene. Advertisements have also played a major role in boosting of the sport. Many businesses have started due to just one…