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SUSTAINABILITY IN SURF PARKS: IMPACTING COMMUNITIES, ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY

Surf Park Central: May 30, 2023

In an insightful interview recently conducted by our partners at Wavepool Mag, Skip Taylor, a Surf Park Insider Member, Summit regular, and Partner at Surf Park Management, provides an honest assessment of sustainability at The LineUp at Wai Kai on Oahu. While The LineUp currently faces limitations in sourcing renewable energy, they are actively offsetting their energy use through the Sea Trees program. Moreover, The LineUp has undergone benchmarking against the STOKE Surf Park Standard, the sole sustainability certification developed specifically for the surf park sector and has plans to achieve certification in the near future.

Skip outlines the comprehensive nature of the STOKE standard and its influence on their selection of suppliers and partners, even at the cost of losing clients who were unwilling to comply with their sustainability policies regarding single-use plastics. Since the launch of the surf park standard at Surf Park Summit 2021, STOKE has gained significant traction in the surf park industry, with numerous parks, wave generation technology companies, and suppliers of sustainable technologies becoming members.

Sustainability lies at the core of The LineUp’s brand and appears to shape critical management decisions. This approach is not just based on intuition but is supported by market research. Our 2023 Consumer Trends Report reveals that the majority of the surf park market agrees or strongly agrees with various sustainability statements related to water conservation, renewable energy, sustainability certifications, environmental activism, environmental education, and energy efficiency (see below for details). There is a notable demand for sustainability among surf park users, particularly among women, beginners, and intermediate surfers.

Furthermore, the report highlights that 91% of the surf park market sampled in the 2023 Consumer Trends Report were willing to pay 13.75% more for a surf park experience that is demonstrably sustainable, such as one with a STOKE Certification. Theoretically, a surf park like The LineUp could charge 13.75% more than a similar installation lacking sustainability credentials without experiencing a decline in demand. The report also indicates an average daily surf park expenditure ranging from $220 to $380. This means that a surf park with a sustainability certification could leverage it to gain an additional $30.25 to $52.25 per customer.

The example of The LineUp at Wai Kai on Oahu exemplifies the power of sustainability in the surf park industry. With their dedication to offsetting energy use, pursuing the STOKE Certification, and aligning with consumer demand for sustainable experiences, The LineUp is leading the way towards a more environmentally conscious future.

“Surf parks that prioritize sustainability not only make a positive impact on local communities, but also have the potential for increased profitability,” states Dr. Jess Ponting, Associate Professor in Sustainable Tourism at San Diego State University and Partner of Surf Park Central.

As the 2023 Consumer Trends Report reveals, surf park users are not only willing to pay more for sustainable experiences but also actively seek them out. By embracing sustainability, surf parks can tap into a growing market segment, enhance their brand image, and foster a deeper connection with their audience.

“So, whether you’re embarking on a new surf park project or looking to transform an existing one, remember that sustainability isn’t just an ethical choice—it’s a strategic advantage,” continues Ponting. By integrating sustainability into as many aspects as possible within a surf park, one can create a thriving business while leaving a lasting positive impact on the local communities, local economies, and the industry as a whole. The wave of sustainable surfing is here, and it’s time to ride it to success.

Read full interview at WavePoolMag.com here.

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