Determining leisure qualities associated with surfing
The marine activity known as surfing has been alluded to as one of the most historically practised sport activities in the world, with millions of surfers practising the sport worldwide who travel to worldwide surf destinations in search of the perfect wave. Due to the impact of surf tourism and surfers' motivation to engage in this marine water activity, it is necessary to understand how surfing developed, the demographic profile of surfers and their motivations as well as their destination preferences. Further research is necessary concerning South Africa as a surf destination because there are many elements concerning the South African surf tourism industry and South African surfers that are yet to be identified. With South Africa being an idyllic surfing spot and with an increase in the number of surf competitions hosted in the country together with the positive impact these surfing events have on the country, this study can be considered important. The primary focus of this research was to scrutinise literature to identify and determine the leisure qualities that are associated with South African surfers. To achieve this aim, the following objectives were set: To conduct a historical analysis of surfing, from where the sport originated to how the sport is perceived today, and a literature review concerning surf tourism. To analyse literature concerning leisure so that leisure as well as leisure qualities could be conceptualised. To assess the perceptions and motivations as to why South African surfers take part in surfing and the associated leisure qualities. To draw conclusions and make recommendations to the organisers of surfing competitions, DMOs, tourism government agencies and other tourism role-players with regards to surf tourism in South Africa based on the leisure qualities that are associated with South African surfers. This was achieved using a quantitative research method by means of self-administered questionnaires, distributed to 401 surfers at the surfing hotspots in South Africa. The data from the questionnaires was captured in Microsoft Excel and further analysed by making use of SPSS. The descriptive results revealed that the surfers of South Africa consider the feeling of enjoyment whilst surfing, the contribution surfing has on their wellness and the feeling of renewal after having gone surfing to be important factors motivating them to surf. The surfers also indicated that they regard the abundance of good waves, the natural quality of the environment, and the surf destination being secluded and unspoiled as important aspects influencing their surf destination preferences. A factor analysis revealed that there are three leisure qualities that are associated with South African surfers. These leisure qualities included: 1) Intrinsic benefits, 2) Group affiliation and socialisation and 3) Personal surfing competence. The comparisons (by means of ANOVAs, t-Tests and non-parametric correlations) between the surf motivational factors and the demographic characteristics of surfers (age, total number of years surfing, types of surfers, competitive surfing vs. recreational surfing and the annual average expenditure of surfers) are unique to this study and significant differences were identified. The highest number of significant differences was identified between the different types of surfers. The results of this study can be used by organisers of surfing competitions, DMOs, tourism government agencies and other surf tourism role-players to emphasise in their marketing strategies the leisure qualities associated with South African Surfers and also to incorporate the factors that surfers regarded as important concerning their motivations and their destination preferences. The results provide an image of surfing as a tourism activity in South Africa and support the surf tourism industry of South Africa.