British surfers and their attitudes and values toward the environment

David Holland-Smith*, Aharon Love, Ross Lorimer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
185 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of British surfers toward their environment. Eight surfers were interviewed and their views analyzed using an inductive thematic analysis to explore their perceptions of the factors that have influenced their engagement in proenvironmental behaviors. The findings suggest that surfers (in this sample), while motivated to engage in proenvironmental behaviors, are also influenced by a range of factors and appear to be primarily motivated by their identification and a need to maintain their experience of that sport. This reveals an inherent dilemma. Through their sport surfers are able to observe the effects of environmental degradation on the environment (e.g., polluted water), the ecosystem, and on their personal health. However, they are also aware of the trade-offs required in pursuing their sport that may damage the environment (e.g., toxic material involved in sport kit manufacture). When questioned, surfers stated they would be unwilling to give up their sport even at the cost of the environment in which those activities are experienced. This highlights a possibly common problem among environmentally minded outdoor enthusiasts: when do personal benefits outweigh the responsibilities of environmental stewardship? The value of these findings is discussed in relation to the promotion of proenvironmental behaviors and engagement with proenvironmental groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2013


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