Surfing in Virginia

Virginia has sandy beaches next to the ocean. Virginia has a "fetch" where wind can blow over thousands of miles of ocean, just like Hawaii and California. The shape of the ocean floor off Virginia is too gentle to generate the big waves for which Kauai and Malibu are famous, but Virginia has hosted the East Coast Surfing Championships for over 50 years, making it the "oldest continuous-running surfing competition in the country."1

The sponsors of the event, the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), have expanded the surfing championship weekend into a week-long event with land-based activities, including skateboarding and BMX biking. The city has contributed $10,000 annually for marketing, and in return the East Coast Surfing Championships has generated $1.2 million in taxes (plus over $14 million in economic activity in the area) at a time when few tourists normally visit Virginia Beach. The president of the Virginia Beach Hotel-Motel Association noted the economic impact in 2014, after the city doubled its fees for providing services such as police patrols and trash collection:2

Thatís typically a down time for us and the ECSC [East Coast Surfing Championships] fills lots of rooms.

The city decision to double fees in 2014 was part of an overall increase for the over-500 events scheduled each year, reflecting increased costs for city services. The Jaycees responded by threatening to stop sponsoring the East Coast Surfing Championships, because the fee increase (from $40,000 to $77,000) would increase the costs to host the event by over 7% and absorb the profits generated for charity.

References

1. "Surfing championships may be in trouble," The Virginian-Pilot, January 28, 2014, http://hamptonroads.com/node/704485 (last checked February 1, 2014)
2. "Surfing championships may be in trouble," The Virginian-Pilot, January 28, 2014, http://hamptonroads.com/node/704485 (last checked February 1, 2014)


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