Jeremy Lemarie is a Teaching & Research Temporary Attaché in Sports Management & Sociology at the University of Paris-Est MLV. He is the editor of the Surf Blurb online magazine. For over 10 years, Jeremy has done research on the global expansion of surfing, and has spent 3 years in California and Hawaii interviewing entrepreneurs and business owners in the surf industry. After completing his PhD in Sociology, Jeremy published his book in 2018 entitled: “Surfing: A History of Gliding.” In this work, Jeremy focuses on the cultural history of Hawaii and the United States. While living in the U.S., Jeremy served as lecturer in anthropology of tourism at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, and was a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego. As an instructor in France, he taught Management, Marketing, Sociology, History and Cultural Anthropology in six universities, including the Sorbonne University and Sciences Po Paris. Currently funded by the Fondation de France, Jeremy is conducting research on public consultation in the French Basque Country for the RECITS program.
This study examines the commodification of the surfing culture for tourism purposes in Huntington Beach (HB), Surf City USA®, since the early 20th century. Arguably, the city of HB in Orange County holds a central position in surf tourism development. Hosting pioneer board manufacturers, surf retail shops, and notorious sports events, such as the US Open of surfing, HB is the birthplace of some global organizations, including the Association of Surfing professional (ASP), now known as the World Surf League (WSL).
After discussing previous works on tourist area life-cycles, this research applies the lefebrvian ‘rhythmanalysis’ approach to point out cycles surf tourism development between 1900 and 2018. According to Lefebvre, rhythms are natural and social successions of events (i.e. processes) that repeats over time as cycles, thus reproducing natural and social orders. In respect with this literature, this study demonstrates that commodifying and marketing modern surfing for tourism purposes has been continuous and cyclical since the advent of this physical activity in the early 1900s in California.
This work is based on archival research of regional newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, as well as on twenty semi-structured interviews taped between 2010 and 2018 with the main stakeholders of surfing marketing and city branding. Stakeholders include elected local government officials, local surfers and residents, members of non-profit t organizations, board members of tourism businesses, as well as a global brand president of an action sports company.
Results show that stakeholders have continuously promoted surfing through three marketing cycles, lasting four decades each. Each new cycle, beginning in the 1910s, the 1950s and the 1990s, tapped into the same cultural values, which are leisure time, suburban lifestyle, individual success, and family gathering. At all times, the prevalent imaginary was capable of combining a variety of economic visions within the framework of an imagined genuine and authentic surfer town.
Such understanding of surf tourism development leads to the question whether similar cycles and spatiotemporal formations can be traced in other sports tourism spaces, such as in Waikīkī, Hawaii with surfing. These assumptions could be supported by long-term observation that would identify cycles of sports commodification, associated with societal developments of higher scales.
For more information on the conference please see https://surfconf.sdsu.edu/