My name is Merv Jefferies and I live in Nanaimo, British Columbia. I am a sessional instructor in the Tourism, Recreation, and Hospitality Department at Vancouver Island University (VIU) and currently an Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University, Victoria. I am also working at Jinhua Polytechnic University, Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality: this is my second semester in Jinhua. I also taught in South Korea for a full year.
I earned my Bachelor of Tourism Management degree at VIU and Masters of Education at James Cook University, Queensland. Prior to teaching on a more or less full-time basis I owned and operated a retail business and also worked for Tourism Vancouver Island in community development services.
I am PhD ABD at the University of Victoria and working towards my designation in the Geography Department, Faculty of Social Sciences. My surf background is a distant few years ago when I surfed in Newquay, UK in the late sixties/early seventies. Although no longer actively surfing, in my heart I am still that stoked seventeen-year old on my first board—a clunky red ‘pop-out’ that was as buoyant as a cork. I emigrated to Victoria, Canada in 1974 and my access to surf faded as I pursued a career and took care of personal and family relationships. Surfing has stayed with me ever since, though, and I still get that tingly ‘rush’ when I see a clean breaking face held up by that elusive offshore breeze…
Surfing is in its relative infancy in Canada, and from a tourism industry perspective is essentially focused on the west coast communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, Vancouver Island. Until recently, the surf sector has been overlooked, possibly because of its image as a somewhat fringe activity, by Federal, Provincial, and Community levels of Canadian Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and also by the commercial tourism sector as a viable and legitimate contributor to the tourism industry. However, Vancouver Island communities such as Tofino and Ucluelet have recognized and indeed, welcomed the economic contribution of surfing; nevertheless, the impacts of surfing are not well understood by the Canadian tourism industry. My case study is intended to clarify our understanding of the impact of surfing on small coastal communities and also protected coastal areas, specifically those situated on Vancouver Island’s west coast. Of particular interest is the effect of localism and the actual and implied conflict/violence that occurs within surfer enclaves and the impact this may have on the sustainability of regional surf tourism.