Anderson, J. (2013) in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
Geography emphasises the spatial influence on human identity; however, this influence is often seen as exclusively terrestrial in nature. This paper focuses on a group of individuals for whom geographical identity is both terrestrial and littoral in constitution. It introduces how surfers’ identities are not only defined by the terrestrial co-ingredience of the shores that support their surfing activity, but also by the littoral space of the surf zone itself. However, due to advances in transport, communication and surf forecasting, surfers are increasingly global in their search for waves. The paper goes on to demonstrate the effect of this mobility on surfer identity. It outlines how mobility dislocates surfer identity from its ‘surf-shore’ moorings and produces in its place a routed but rootless ‘trans-local’ surf identity. The paper examines the tensions and contradictions that arise between these spatially divided surfing practices before commenting on how surfers’ shared affiliation to the littoral zone may offer the potential to reconcile them.