SPY has joined forces with San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Center for Surf Research to create the SPY Optic Award for Study Abroad, a formal scholarship fund that will help as many as 10 Center for Surf Research students develop, study and implement sustainable development programs for surf tourism each year.
“We’re proud to support SDSU students in their endeavors toward developing sound surf tourism management practices,” said SPY’s Mark Marovich. “As surfers, it’s essential that we preserve the environment around us locally and abroad—a value that SPY and those at the Center for Search Research look to perpetuate.”
“The Center for Surf Research is committed to working with the surf industry to improve the sustainability of surf tourism,” added Dr. Jess Ponting, Surf Research Center director.
“A major component of our approach is providing life changing study abroad experiences. We’re driven by passion and philanthropic support and have used zero state funds to date. This partnership with SPY facilitates programs that will significantly impact the lives of our students,” concluded Ponting.
As traveling surfers continue to expand their horizons to the farthest corners of the globe, they pave the way for larger scale tourism industries that can often create a legacy of soiled destinations, disheartened and distressed communities, and missed opportunities to replace poverty with maintainable livelihoods.
Carl Kish, graduate of the class of 2012 and named “Most Outstanding Student” in the Recreation and Tourism Management program for his work with Dr. Ponting on the Guanacaste coast, represents the future of the program.
“This has been the experience of a lifetime,” said Kish, who spent time abroad at the Casa Tucan surf hotel and Safari Surf School in Costa Rica.
“I’ve realized sustainable surf tourism is possible, and I now know how to do it. I’m really stoked that SPY is stepping up so more students have a chance to do the things I did with the Center for Surf Research.”