Publication Details

This paper was originally published as: Dolnicar, S & Fluker, M, Who’s Riding the Wave? An Investigation Into Demographic and Psychographic Characteristics of Surf Tourists, CD Proceedings of the 13th International Research Conference for the Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE 2003).


Surfing has grown from its beginnings as a western civilisation sport in the early 1900’s to a stage where it is now an industry worth an estimated $8 billion dollars and involves surfers travelling to both domestic and international destinations as surf tourists. However, there is a dearth of empirical academic research that has been conducted into this segment of the sports tourism market. This study makes a contribution towards understanding surf tourism behaviour by analysing the demographic and psychographic characteristics of 430 surf tourists. The most lucrative segments of the five identified, from the tour operators perspective, are the price conscious safety seekers and the luxury surfers, while the lack of crowds at surfing destinations is a common preference with all groups. Areas of future research include surf destination image and the ratio of surf tourists choosing package tours compared to being free independent travellers.