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San Diego State University opens surfing research center

September 13, 2011 | 10:52 am

No, it will not lead to a degree in cowabunga studies.

But the Center for Surf Research, launching this month at San Diego State, will study the impact of surf tourism, particularly on coastal communities in the less-developed world.

The goal, said Jess Ponting, professor in the sustainable tourism program, is to teach surfers about the social, cultural and environmental costs of surfing.

American surfing tourism impacts 120 countries worldwide and is a $7-billion a year industry, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Assn.

"Surfers take great care of the oceans," Ponting said. "But they don't always think about the rest of their surroundings."

A trip to Peru to study surf tourism culture is set for this winter.

It all starts with a symposium on campus Sept. 17: "The Audacity of Stoke."


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--Tony Perry in San Diego 

Photo: Australian surfer Sally Fitzgibbons at the Nike U.S. Open Surfing championship in Huntington Beach in August. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press