The identity of surfers and the surfing industry is intimately connected with romantic conceptions of nature linked to the ocean. Representations of surfers, such as those from deep ecology, recent scholarly work, the Surfrider Foundation, and within countless surfing media sources tend to include a keen sense of environmental awareness and developed environmental ethics. To investigate the surfer-environmentalist connection, specifically aiming to uncover if surfing inspires environmental action, we question Florida surfers about how nature plays into their surfing experience and how surfing may influence their roles as ecological actors. Using a two phase, mixed methods approach, we find that surfers generally self-identify as ecologically aware and socially active for environmental protection, reflecting the popular representations of the surfing community. In contrast, analysis of respondents' activities reveals lifestyles often incongruent with environmentally progressive ideologies and practice.


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pp. 157-170
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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