Save The Waves Coalition announced the release of its first Surfonomics study, to measure the economic value of the surfing wave at Mundaka to the local economy. Mundaka is a town whose economy relies heavily on surf tourism, and in 2005 the wave was temporarily lost due to river dredging for a large ship-building project.

“A beautiful surfing wave like Mundaka is truly a world treasure,” said Save The Waves executive director Dean LaTourrette. “This study provides evidence of not just the environmental value of a Mundaka, but of the economic value as well, reinforcing the notion that it and other spots like it need to be protected.”

The study, entitled “The Impact of Surfing on the Local Economy of Mundaka, Spain,” was conducted by graduate student Melissa Murphy of the Univesity of Oregon’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, with the help of Maria Bernal from Autonoma University Madrid, and was commissioned by Save The Waves Coalition.

Summary of Key Findings:

1) At higher visitation levels, surfing and the wave at Mundaka has an estimated positive economic impact of up to $4.5 million per year to the local economy – in a town of approximately 1,900 people. (Based on visitation levels of 40,000 per year.)

2) Surfing at Mundaka adds up to $1.5 million in annual personal income to the local population, and supports up to 95 jobs.1

3) A majority of survey respondents claimed they would no longer visit Mundaka if the wave there were significantly degraded.

4) Local businesses estimated that up to 40% of their customers are surfers or surf spectators, and that the loss of business due to the degradation of the wave and the cancellation of the Billabong Pro contest could be as high as 50%. (Based on informal interviews with local businesses.)