Research-based surfing literature for coastal management and the science of surfing—a review

Incorporating recreational surfing into coastal management practices is required to protect the seabed features and oceanographic processes that create surfing waves. A review of research-based surfing literature is undertaken to provide a summary of information available to assist in coastal management decision making around surfing breaks. The different categories of research-based surfing literature are identified as artificial surfing reef (ASR) design, ASR monitoring, ASR construction, ASR sediment dynamics, biomechanics, coastal management, economics and tourism, industry, numerical and physical modeling, surfers and waves, sociology, and physical processes. The majority of this research has been undertaken in the last decade, making it a relatively young research area. As a background for nonsurfing coastal researchers and managers, the characteristics of surfing waves and surfing breaks are described, referring to relevant literature. Wave height, peel angle, breaking intensity, and section length are identified as essential parameters to describe surfing waves. Existing surfer skill and maneuver categorization schemes are presented to show the relationship between surfers and surfing waves. The geomorphic categories of surfing breaks are identified as headland or point breaks, beach breaks, river or estuary entrance bars, reef breaks, and ledge breaks. The literature discusses the various scale bathymetric components that create these surfing breaks. Examples of modeling offshore wave transformations at Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, as well as the measurement microscale wave transformations at ‘‘The Ledge,’’ Raglan, New Zealand, are presented to demonstrate surfing wave transformations.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Scarfe, B. E., Healy, T. R. & Rennie, H. G. (2007). Research-based surfing literature for coastal management and the science of surfing—a review. Journal of Coastal Research, 25(3), 539-557.
Coastal Education & Research Foundation, Inc.