SURF CULTURE: Surfers flock to Noosa Main Beach.
SURF CULTURE: Surfers flock to Noosa Main Beach.

Noosa surf survey to figure surfers

THIS has to be one of the most favoured student survey gigs ever.

University of the Sunshine Coast students are hitting the beaches to survey surfers from near and far as they research Noosa's renowned surfing scene.

The information will build the most comprehensive picture to date of the economics, culture, attitudes and aspirations of people surfing in the Noosa World Surfing Reserve, research chief investigator Javier Leon said.

"I was surprised to find that there's no real baseline data relating to surfing in Noosa,” Dr Leon said.

"There's a lot of interaction between Noosa's surf culture and the rest of the world but there's not been a systematic study of the cultural, social and economic impact.”

Students from the new "surfonomics” subject will be collecting the data as part of the fieldwork component of their Geography of Surfing course, with the results to be available publicly and presented during the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

They hope to hear from a broad spectrum of surfers from a range of backgrounds, including locals and visitors, both on the beaches and online.

The survey will cover four broad topics: the individual; their surfing efforts; expenditure in the region; and motivation.

"For example, we know many people leave Noosa on a good surf day because the surf is too crowded,” Dr Leon said.

"I know people from Noosa who won't go to Noosa when the surf is good because you can't even park, and yet, on those same days, people will come from Sydney and beyond.”

Since the 1960s, Noosa has increasingly gained an international reputation as a surfing hotspot, with one of Australia's few north-facing beaches offering protection from onshore winds.

The survey, which started on Monday, will run for eight weeks and is also available online.

Results will be presented at the Surf and Sustain- ability Day on March 7 at The J Theatre as part of the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

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