This study aims to demonstrate how the spiritual, sacred, and metaphysical components of surfing empower the activity as a force for positive, personal and societal change in a community. While many surfers are drawn to surfing for its spiritual attributes, traceable to its roots in ancient Polynesia, there are many others who embrace the sport for purely non-spiritual reasons. Quantitative data was collected by the research team to show how the differing views of these two groups of surfers affect three main areas: environmental ethics, personal growth and maturation, and general community outreach. The results of the study proved all three hypotheses regarding the three main areas of focus above with statistical significance. The results will hopefully improve perceptions of the sport by those outside of surf culture, and demonstrate to local, state, and national government and civic leaders how the implementation and promotion of surf-related organizations, programs and philanthropies can greatly benefit the communities they represent. This study will hopefully inspire further study into the effects of surfing into local communities and economies.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2018


James N. Maples

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Language and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)




Final survey DONE.docx (95 kB)
Appendix A