Nick Sadrpour and Dan R. Reineman, 2023. “The impacts of climate change on surfing resources”, Shore & Beach, 91(1), 32-48.
Access Shore & Beach Vol. 91, No. 1
ASBPA members have access to a full digital edition of Shore & Beach. Become a member now to get immediate access.
The impacts of climate change on surfing resources
Nick Sadrpour (1,2)* and Dan R. Reineman (3)*
1) California Sea Grant, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego;
9500 Gilman Drive La Jolla, CA 92093-0232 USA — Sponsor
2) GHD, 2305 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106 — Present affiliation
3) Environmental Science & Resource Management Program, California State University Channel Islands;
1 University Drive Camarillo, CA 93012 USA
* These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
Surfing has increased in cultural, social, and economic importance through the last century and is now globally significant. Predicated on the natural phenomenon of ocean waves interacting with coasts, surfing’s future is threatened by Earth’s changing climate. This paper provides a comprehensive review of physical processes, including swell generation, wave breaking, and coastal dynamics, relevant for the locations — surf breaks — where surfing occurs and the myriad mechanisms through which each can be affected by a changing climate. We propose an organizing framework for these impacts characterizing them based on their mode of action as direct versus indirect, as well as by their magnitude, and conclude that some impacts (such as sea level rise) may threaten some breaks but on more protracted timelines, whereas other impacts (such as coastal armoring implemented in response to climate change) may pose more immediate, existential threats. This framework underscores the importance of local environmental knowledge of a given surf break for understanding its susceptibility to climate change and informs a Surf Break Vulnerability–Climate Change Assessment Tool (SurfCAT), designed to enable improved wave stewardship by local resource managers and stakeholders in the face of a changing climate.
Supplemental Online Materials for this manuscript are available here: https://doi.org/10.34237/1009110