We'll be riding into the New Year before you know it, and with that comes new trends in the surfing world. Surf culture has long been at the apex of cool, with the idolizing of surfing style that took off in the '60s. This long-term trend is bound to continue with new tweaks, as no sport as dynamic as surfing will ever remain stuck in the past, but always looking towards the future.
Below, we've picked out 5 surf trends to watch in 2021.
1) Sustainable Surfing
Surfers spend more time on the ocean than most and tend to notice things like single-use plastic water bottles dotting the waves and washing up onto the shore and other changes. The surfing community is increasingly aware of the benefits of sustainable living and looking for brands that espouse this philosophy while still maintaining the fashion and functionality they want in products. This includes choosing sustainable brands for surfboards, clothing, and other equipment.
2) Increased Participation of Women & Girls
Traditionally male-dominated, 36 percent of surfers are now women, and that number is likely to grow in the next few years. This makes sense since surfing is more about balance and nimbleness than mere brute strength. Celebrity male surfers are now sharing the spotlight with their female counterparts. Women surfers are emerging as drivers of the sport's globalization as young girls see the surfer girl as an empowering symbol.
3) Surfing Wellness Travel
Fueled by documentaries like Endless Summer, surfers practically invented "parts unknown travel." Gone are the no-frills, down-to-basics surf camps that only the most hard-core surfer would stay in. These days, there is a plethora of surf plus wellness options in almost every location where great waves break. Locations that focused mainly on surfing now feature wellness experiences such as yoga, while resorts are adding surfing schools.
4) Inland Surfing
Wave pools are bringing surfing to landlocked areas, opening up opportunities to surf and expanding its popularity. With wave pools popping up all over the map, they are on track to become more prevalent in the coming years. However, wave pools come with some concerning environmental impacts. Just building them is resource-intensive. Sustainability issues include waste management, waste-water treatment, harmful emissions reduction, minimizing the use of toxic substances, and more. Despite these issues, this is a trend to watch.
5) Surfing as Exercise and Fitness
More people are embracing surfing due to the rising recognition of how it can enhance fitness. Paddling builds shoulder, arm, and back strength while also delivering an intense cardio workout. Balancing on the board engages the core muscles and builds leg strength and flexibility. In addition, with aerobic burst followed by rest, it is interval training and low-impact functional cross-training that you would need classes or machines to achieve. It also releases endorphins – feel-good chemicals your body releases naturally. While surfing itself will continue to gain popularity, you'll also see more surfing "fitness" classes, including indoor surf-based fitness classes, initially developed by surfers who wanted to maintain their fitness year-round.