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Identity, lifestyles, and brand marketing in Canadian women's surfing : an ethnographic study 2006

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I D E N T I T Y , L I F E S T Y L E S , A N D B R A N D M A R K E T I N G IN C A N A D I A N W O M E N ' S S U R F I N G : A N E T H N O G R A P H I C S T U D Y by L I S A M E R C E R H.B.K. , Lakehead Un ivers i t y , 2000 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (Human Kinet ics ) T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A December 2006 © Lisa Mercer, 2006 ABSTRACT Over the past decade, women ' s surf ing has become increas ingly popular ized in the med ia and in advert is ing as a desirable recreational act iv i ty and compet i t ive sport, and more and more Canad ian women are now part ic ipat ing in surf ing than ever before (N i ckson , 2000) . Over the same per iod, women ' s surf wear has also emerged as a popular fashion trend for Canadian gir ls and young w o m e n (Ost rowsk i , 1999) w i th the result that surf ing apparel is now a growth industry in Canada (Hami l ton et a l . , 2002). Despite these developments, however, there remains an acute lack o f research on these trends i n women ' s surf ing. There are very few studies on the development o f women ' s surf ing and no studies cou ld be found that have looked at surf ing as a fo rm o f consumpt ion in a consumer society inf luenced by brand market ing. In an effort to help fill this gap, this study drew on pr ior work in consumer research by Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) and in sports subcultures by Wheaton (2000), and analyzed the relat ionship between women ' s surf culture in Western Canada and the market ing activit ies o f the Canad ian surf wear industry. Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) examined the interplay o f subcultures and market ing among Har ley-Dav idson motorcyc le owners, and Wheaton (2000) studied the l ink between identity and sport and leisure l i festyles in a w indsur f ing communi ty . M y thesis research combined their two frameworks us ing an ethnographic approach and examined the impact o f reta i l ing and market ing on the growth o f women ' s surf ing, on surf culture, and surf products consumpt ion. F i f teen ind iv idua ls were interv iewed f rom three different populat ions in western Canada : w o m e n surfers, surf wear retailers, and Canad ian surf brand representatives. Th rough these conversations, eight factors were identi f ied as contr ibut ing to the growth o f women ' s surf ing i n B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a : (i) changes in wetsuit technology, (ii) crossover appeal f rom skateboarding and snowboarding, ( i i i ) cultural and style inf luences f rom Ca l i fo rn i a , ( iv) increased demand for women ' s surf wear and surf fashions, (v) the growth o f compet i t ive surf ing in B C , (vi) increased med ia exposure o f Canad ian women ' s surf ing, (vi i ) development o f Canadian surf businesses, and (v i i i ) women ' s increased comfort w i th the identity o f 'be ing a surfer ' . The interviews conf i rmed that the sur f scene in Canada is less in t imidat ing and more accepting o f w o m e n surfers than many other locales inc lud ing Ca l i fo rn ia . The w o m e n surfers reported a deepening o f commitment to the surf l i festy le as they advanced in the sport and it increas ingly became a de f in ing component o f their self-identity. They also reported that their consumpt ion o f surf products contributed to their sense o f identity. The study found that surf brands have helped to fuel the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles and products into the mainstream b y expanding product offer ings and mak ing them more accessible to the general publ ic . The thesis concludes that Canadian women ' s sur f ing demonstrates features o f a subculture o f consumpt ion and may best be thought o f as a 'commodity-orientated subculture ' (Wheaton, 2000, p. 261) that is dr iven both by a deve lop ing women ' s surf ing subculture (the hard-cores) and b y the market act ivit ies (product development, women ' s wear branding, women's-spec i f ic retai l ing) o f the major surf brands. I l l T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Tab le o f Contents i i i L is t o f Tables v Acknowledgements v i C H A P T E R I I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 II L I T E R A T U R E R E V I E W 6 2.1 H i s to ry o f Sur f ing 7 2.2 H i s to ry o f Sur f ing in B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a 11 2.3 The Br i t i sh C o l u m b i a Su r f Scene 16 2.4 The Expans ion o f W o m e n ' s Sur f ing and the Su r f Wear Industry 18 2.5 The Concept o f Subculture 22 2.6 Consumer Research 30 2.7 Sport L i festy les, Identity, and Consumpt ion 40 2.8 Marke t Trends: W o m e n in the Sport Marketp lace 44 III M E T H O D O L O G Y 51 Rat ionale : 51 Sample 53 E th ica l Considerat ions 54 I V R E S U L T S : 55 Data Co l l e c t i on and Ana l y s i s 55 Interviews 55 Participant/Non-Participant Observat ion '. 58 Photographs and F i e ld Notes 59 Su r f M e d i a '. 59 Organ izat ion o f the Chapter 60 4.1 The Su r f Scene in Br i t i sh C o l u m b i a 61 4.2 Factors Fue l ing the G row th o f Canad ian W o m e n ' s Sur f ing 66 i. Changes in wetsuit technology 67 i i . Crossover appeal f rom skateboarding and snowboard ing 69 i i i . Cu l tura l and style inf luences f rom Ca l i f o rn i a 71 iv. Increased demand for women ' s surf wear and surf fashions ..74 v. The growth o f competi t ive surf ing in B C 76 v i . Increased med ia exposure o f Canadian women ' s sur f ing 80 v i i . Deve lopment o f Canadian surf businesses 81 v i i i . W o m e n ' s increased comfort w i th the identity o f ' b e i n g a surfer ' 84 i v 4.3 The Appea l o f the Sur f Cul ture 85 4.4 Ev idence o f Consumpt ion 88 Female Surfers are Commi t t ed to C o n s u m i n g Su r f Themed Products 88 4.5 Ev idence o f Subcultural Features and Cond i t ions : 90 i. H ierarch ica l socia l structuring: F r o m hard core surfers to posers 90 i i . C o r e values and loca l i zed differences 92 i i i . S e l f transformation (deepening o f commitment ) 94 iv . R i tuals 96 4.6 Sur f ing is a 'Commodi ty-Or ientated Subculture ' 98 4.7 L i n k between Identity, L i festy les , and Consumpt ion 102 4.8 D i f f us ion o f Sur f L i festy les and Products into the Mainst ream 105 i. The 'coolness factor 107 i i . The industry 108 i i i . Women-spec i f i c market ing and sales 110 iv. Ma rke t ing to jun io r consumers 116 4.9 Ro l e o f M e d i a in the D i f f u s i on o f Su r f L i festy les 119 i. Pr int med ia 121 i i . E lect ronic media 123 V D I S C U S S I O N ...121 5.1 Ref lec t ing on Trends in the W o m e n ' s Sport Marketp lace 128 5.2 Ref lec t ing on Trends in Canadian W o m e n ' s Sur f ing 129 5.3 Ref lec t ing on Sur f B rand Ma rke t i ng 131 The Ro l e o f Consumpt ion in Relat ion to One 's Identity 132 The D i f f us ion o f Sur f L i festy les in the Ma ins t ream 135 5.4 Ref lec t ing on Subcultural Theory 138 A N e w Gender Order i n Sur f ing and the Su r f Products Marketp lace 144 V I I N S I D E R R O L E 147 V I I C O N C L U S I O N S 153 7.1 Opportunit ies for Future Research 154 7.2 Study L imi ta t ions 157 B ib l i og raphy 160 A p p e n d i x I C o p y o f U B C Research E th ic ' s Board Cert i f icate o f A p p r o v a l 165 A p p e n d i x II Recruitment Letter 167 A p p e n d i x III Consent Fo rm 169 A p p e n d i x IV Ove rv i ew o f the Research Me thodo logy 172 V LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Su r f Brand Retailers 56 Table 2 Canadian Su r f B rand Representatives 57 Table 3 W o m e n Surfers 57 v i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I w o u l d l ike to extend m y gratitude to those who took the t ime to enjoy this journey w i th me. I w o u l d l ike to acknowledge the support o f the surfers, retailers, and surf brand representatives w i th w h o m I interacted throughout the course o f this research and without w h o m I cou ld not have conducted this research. I am forever grateful to m y thesis committee consist ing o f Dr. Robert Sparks, Dr . Patr ic ia Ver t insky , and Dr. B r i an W i l s o n , for be ing open-minded to m y research interests and he lp ing me prepare for this research. M y advisor Bob has remained enthusiastic throughout this process, and has cont inuous ly supported and encouraged me dur ing the hurdles I encountered a long the way. H i s guidance was instrumental to the successful complet ion o f this project. Fo r a l l those who bel ieved in me and who supported me I am most grateful. I am truly blessed to have a l o v i n g and understanding fami l y , and a close network o f dear fr iends. Last ly , I w o u l d l i ke to extend m y thanks to m y col leagues for expos ing me to the surf wear industry and g i v i ng me the opportunity to grow profess ional ly alongside them. Furthermore, I am most grateful to those who lead me to surf and ignited that same passion w i th in me. 1 CHAPTER I - INTRODUCTION This study analyzes the relationship between women's surf culture in Western Canada and the marketing activities of the Canadian surf wear industry. Its objectives are twofold: i) to critically examine how the marketing of surf products affects surfing lifestyles and product consumption, and ii) to describe how surf lifestyles and products, in turn, become diffused to a larger population of young women and girls. The study is intended to enhance our knowledge of the factors affecting the development of women's surfing in Western Canada and to add to our understanding of the interplay of subcultures and marketing in consumer culture, by illustrating the link between lifestyles, identity, and consumption. With the rise in popular media portrayals of women's surfing as an empowering activity (e.g., the film 'Blue Crush') and the growth of women's surfing over the last several years, it is important to be able to document the social, cultural, and market conditions and trends driving these changes. In particular, research is needed that takes account of the experience of surfing from the standpoint of women and gives voice to their points of view in addition to the points of view of the surfing industry and of men. Very few studies to date have analyzed women's surfing lifestyles generally, and none that I could find have looked at surfing as an activity of consumption in a consumer society which is influenced by brand marketing. In addition to providing a multi- dimensional research perspective, this study is also intended to provide a Canadian perspective on what is a growing global phenomenon, women's surfing. This study wi l l provide an improved understanding of women's surfing subcultures in Western Canada, the emergence o f Canadian women surfers, and the factors that are fueling the growth of the surfing apparel industry. 2 The thesis represents one o f the few studies that have focused on the impact o f retai l ing and brand market ing on the growth o f Canadian sports, and has the potential to provide insight into the role o f retai l ing and brand market ing i n the expansion o f women ' s sports more general ly. The rise in women ' s surf ing is part o f a larger phenomenon o f women ' s increased invo lvement in sports as participants and consumers. It is w ide l y documented that women are emerging as a distinct and power fu l segment i n the sport marketplace (Bradish, Lathrop, & Sedgwick , 2 0 0 1 ; B ranch , 1995; L o u g h , 1996; Shoham, Rose, K r o p p , & Kah l e , 1997; Sparks & Westgate, 2002 ; Sutton & Wat l ington , 1994). Y o u n g women , i n part icular, have become an important sub-segment for sport, sport-related products, and sport marketers (Shoham et al . , 1997). W i t h i n the women ' s sports context, women ' s surf ing has i tse l f become increasingly v i s ib le and accepted as a legit imate recreational and compet i t ive sport. Canada emerged on the women ' s surf scene w i th the development o f the nat ion 's first all-girls surf school in 1999 (N i ckson , 2000). W o m e n ' s surf wear has emerged as mainstream fashion (Ost rowsk i , 1999), and surf apparel has become a b o o m i n g industry in Canada (Hami l ton et a l . , 2002). Canad ian women ' s surf ing comprises a niche market w i th in the overal l sport o f surf ing as we l l as w i th in women ' s recreation and sports more broadly. The a im o f the research reported i n this thesis was to document the interplay o f retai l ing and market ing w i th in women ' s surf ing, surf ing culture, and surf ing products consumpt ion , focus ing on the ways that popular culture and commerc ia l culture interrelate w i th one another. A focused rev iew o f recent work on subcultures, sports subcultures and consumer culture was undertaken to assess the abi l i ty o f ex is t ing f rameworks to account for these interactions. The thesis ends up bu i l d ing on selected 3 research on sports subcultures and consumer research drawing on Wheaton 's (2000) not ion o f identity format ion through sport and leisure l i festyles and Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r ' s (1995) conceptual izat ion o f identity expression through sport consumpt ion. The rationale for this approach is contained i n part in the hol is t ic f ramework that these two perspective help to achieve. Th i s has both pract ical and cr i t ica l theoretical impl icat ions . A s Kates (1998) notes in his d iscuss ion o f the potential benefits o f comb ing f rameworks f rom socia l theory, consumer research and sport market ing to study sport, " B y b r ing ing the discourses o f consumer behavior, sport soc io logy [subcultural.theory], and sport market ing together, new research agenda and new market ing insights [can] resul t " (p. 29). The research expands on the idea o f identity format ion through sport subcultural soc ia l izat ion (Donne l l y and Y o u n g , 1988; Wheaton, 1998, 2000) , and the expression o f identity through sport consumpt ion (Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995), and h ighl ights the l ink between identity, l i festyles, and consumpt ion among women surfers. A s Wheaton (2000) notes, " T h e possib i l i t ies o f different sources o f ident i f icat ion have expanded, in part icular the increased s igni f icance o f consumpt ion practices such as sport and leisure l i festyles in the communica t ion and maintenance o f self-identity for g row ing segments o f the popu la t ion " (p. 255). Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) s im i l a r l y state, " In our consumer culture people do not define themselves accord ing to soc io log ica l constructs. They do so in terms o f the act iv it ies, objects, and relat ionships that give their l ives mean ing " (p. 59). In their terms, the relat ionships formed as a result o f " a shared commitment to a part icular product class, brand or consumpt ion ac t i v i t y " compr ise a 'subculture o f consumpt ion ' (p.43). They continue that " T h e concept o f the subculture o f consumpt ion is robust enough to 4 encompass v i r tua l ly any group o f people united by c o m m o n consumpt ion values and behav iors " (p. 59). In this context, the f o l l o w i n g research questions were proposed: H o w does the market ing o f sur f ing products impact surf-culture and its d i f fus ion into consumer culture? H o w is surf wear consumpt ion l i nked to identity format ion in female consumers? Fou r w o r k i n g hypotheses were also developed: a) Sur f wear consumpt ion is an integral part o f a surfer 's l i festyle and identity, b) Sur f brands have expanded their l ines to reach surfers, but also to reach female teens and pre-teens, c) Female teens and pre-teens use sur f wear to help construct their identit ies, and d) The net effect o f these two trends is an increase i n consumer interest in surf wear and in the surf brands market. The major i ty o f research on sport subcultures has recognized the importance o f us ing ethnographic methods to the study o f sport subcultures (Butts, 2 0 0 1 ; K l e i n , 1986; Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995; Wheaton, 1998, 2000). A s Wheaton and T o m l i n s o n (1998) suggest "It is on l y ethnographic study that can prov ide a cultural analysis that does not just focus on pub l i c discourses or texts, but explores the 'mean ing and pleasure o f these practices to those who participate in t h e m ' " (p. 270, c . f , H a l l , 1996, p. 59). The studies that faci l i tated i n shaping this research use interviews as their pr imary method o f data co l lec t ion and found this method to be quite effective i n ga in ing entry into the subculture and/or furthering an understanding o f the culture (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995; Wheaton, 2000). In Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r ' s (1995) analysis o f the Ha r l ey Dav idson subculture o f consumpt ion, the researchers interv iewed three a pr ior i groups: riders, dealers, and corporate market ing dec is ion makers. S im i l a r l y , for the context o f this study three groups were interv iewed: surfers, retailers, and Canad ian surf brand representatives. 6 CHAPTER II - LITERATURE REVIEW In this chapter I rev iew recent work on subcultures, sport subcultures, and consumer culture. Th i s chapter is d i v ided into eight sections that comprise the literature that is general ly or spec i f i ca l l y l i nked to the thesis topic. The sections are as fo l l ows : (1) H is tory o f Sur f ing ; (2) H is tory o f Sur f ing i n B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a ; (3) The B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a Sur f Scene; (4) The Expans ion o f W o m e n ' s Sur f ing and the Su r f Wear Industry; (5) The Concept o f Subculture; (6) Consumer Research; (7) Sport L i festy les , Identity, and Consumpt ion ; and (8) Marke t Trends: W o m e n in the Sport Marketp lace . The first section in the literature rev iew traces back the or ig in o f surf ing, its cultural tradit ions, and the emergence o f women surfers. The second category chronic les the development o f surf ing in B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a and fo l lows the inf luence o f Canad ian surf ing pioneers. Th i s leads into a descr ipt ion o f the uniqueness o f Canada 's surf scene. The fourth section focuses on the growth o f women ' s sur f ing and the expansion o f the women ' s surf wear industry. Sect ion f ive analyzes the term 'subcul ture ' and the vast amount o f literature surrounding this concept. The next port ion highl ights some o f the work done i n consumer research and draws on research done by Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) and Wheaton (2000) to situate the f ramework for this study. The seventh section analyzes the relat ionship between identity and sport and leisure l i festyles, and the inf luence o f consumpt ion on one 's sense o f identity. F ina l l y , the last area examines trends i n the women ' s sport marketplace and reports on the inf luence o f speci f ic consumer groups in the sports product market. 7 2.1 History of Surfing Sur f ing has received l itt le attention f rom socia l science scholars (Farmer, 1992), and the l imi ted academic research there is has focused ma in l y on the history o f the sport (Booth, 1995, 2001 ; Irwin, 1973; Pearson, 1979) and its role in subcultural soc ia l izat ion (Butts, 2001). Mos t o f the in format ion that is avai lable has come f rom articles in popular press magazines, newspapers and trade journals . Boo th (2001) recently publ ished an article on the history and growth o f women ' s surf ing internat ional ly wh i ch documented the setbacks and gains a long the path to increased acceptance o f women ' s surf ing. The or igins o f the sport are thought to be in the Pac i f i c Islands. Hawai ians and Polynesians were observed en joy ing surf ing i n the late 1700s (Gabbard, 2000). The first written account o f surf ing was made by Capta in James C o o k on a February day in 1778: A s his ship pu l led into Kea lakekua B a y in the Hawa i i an Islands, C o o k was amazed to see men and w o m e n r id ing long wooden planks across the face o f the immense waves. Short ly after, w i th the arr ival o f missionar ies, surf ing was nearly eradicated in the Hawa i i an Islands unt i l a rev i ta l izat ion movement was started b y Hawai ians in the early twentieth century. The missionar ies had associated the practice o f surf ing w i th promiscu i t y and gambl ing . (Butts, 2001 , p. 2) Sur f ing was introduced to Southern Ca l i f o rn i a b y Hawa i i an George Freeth i n 1907, and to Aus t ra l i a b y Duke Kahanamoku in 1915 (Gabbard, 2000). D u r i n g this t ime, surfers in Ca l i f o rn i a and H a w a i i experienced extensive freedom. B y compar ison, sur f ing in Aus t ra l i a and N e w Zea land f rom 1910 to the late 1950s was sanctioned by the Su r f L i f e Sav ing Assoc ia t ion , and was restricted to surf l i f esav ing members on designated beaches (Pearson, 1979). Ca l i f o rn i a was a centre for surfboard experimentat ion f rom 1920 8 onwards wh i l e very few technologica l innovat ions took place in the first part o f the twentieth century in Aus t ra l i a and N e w Zea land (Pearson, 1979). A l s o , noteworthy dur ing the 1930s and 1940s was the lack o f reference to women board riders. Pictures taken at the t ime conf i rmed that w o m e n were part o f the beach culture but rarely w o u l d a photograph show a woman r id ing a su r fboa rd (Booth, 2001). B y the outbreak o f W o r l d W a r II, sur f ing had become a recognized leisure act iv i ty on the Pac i f i c R i m , part icular ly in the areas o f Southern Ca l i fo rn i a , Aus t ra l i a , N e w Zea land, Peru, and South A f r i c a . In the war years W a i k i k i (Hawai i ) was the s ymbo l o f new hedonism wi th beach boys and wahines (beach gir ls) . U n l i k e Aus t ra l i a and Ca l i fo rn i a , Hawa i i preserved the pleasure-seeking culture and no restrictions were imposed on bathing costumes (Booth , 1995). Sur f ing became an organized sport f o l l ow ing the Second W o r l d W a r (Booth , 1995), and "began its trek through popular A m e r i c a n culture i n the 1950s. . .[and] through t ime a part icular demeanor, language, and look . . .developed wh i ch denote[d] membership o f the surf ing subcul ture" (Butts, 2001 , p.2). M a l i b u , Ca l i f o rn i a became a popular surf ing spot in the late 1940s and early 1950s (Gabbard, 2000). In the 1950s and early 1960s surf ing women reappeared w i th the emergence o f the l ighter, more maneuverable M a l i b u su r fboa rd developed by Joe Q u i g g in 1950 for women surfers in M a l i b u (Gabbard, 2000). In 1956, " G i d g e t " (Ka thy Kohner ) went to M a l i b u and the f o l l o w i n g year the book written by her father Freder ick Kohner , Gidget, was publ ished (Gabbard, 2000) . " A t the culture 's apogee in the 1960s, women were landlocked b i k i n i babes or, at best, H o l l y w o o d 'G idge ts ' who left the heavy surf ing to the g u y s " (Marsh , 1997, p. 44). 9 In 1954, the first international surf championship was organized by the W a i k i k i surf c lub i n Makaha , Hawa i i (Booth, 1995). W o m e n participated in this compet i t ion unt i l organizers subsequently created separate competit ions for w o m e n and men surfers (Booth, 2001). Oahu ' s No r th Shore became a surf ing M e c c a once the waves were f ina l l y r idden (Gabbard, 2000). Sur f ing styles also d ivers i f ied in the late 1950s recogniz ing regional differences. A s Boo th (1995) expla ins, " two r id ing styles emerged in the mid- 1960s. Hawa i i an surfers danced w i th waves, f l o w i n g in smooth rhythm wi th their natural d i rect ion; Aust ra l ian surfers danced on waves, ' conquer ing ' , ' a t tack ing ' , and reduc ing them to stages on wh i ch to p e r f o r m " (p. 194). Hawa i i an styles combined w i th other post- war socia l changes, such as the rise o f youth culture and car culture in the 1950s, transformed Ca l i f o rn i a surf ing. The surf ing populat ion in Ca l i f o rn i a grew rap id ly i n the midd le o f the 1950s r is ing f rom 5,000 participants in 1956 to 100,000 surfers i n 1962. Ca l i fo rn ian surf ing was popular ized i n H o l l y w o o d surf movies and w o m e n surfers were seen in Gidget (1959) and The Endless Summer (1964), as we l l as i n magazines, and surf ing demonstrations. The 1960s brought about the development o f regional and national surf associations starting i n Ca l i f o rn i a and N e w South Wa les , Aust ra l ia . In 1964, various representatives o f national surf associations together formed the International Sur f ing Federat ion ( ISF) and the first wo r l d surf ing championship was he ld that year in M a n l y , Aus t ra l i a (Booth, 1995). Surfers recognized the importance o f organized compet i t ion as be ing essential for publ ic acceptance. The ISF separated men and women into different compet i t ions, however, the rules that were eventual ly set up i n 1976 d id not exc lude women from part ic ipat ing i n men ' s events or v i ce versa (Booth, 2001). In the late 1960s, 10 compet i t ive surf ing suffered a relapse as a new generation o f surfers shunned compet i t ion and took to the waves as 'soul-surfers ' (Booth, 1995). Du r ing the second ha l f o f the twentieth century, it became increas ingly evident that females were be ing marg ina l ized in the sport and that a fraternal structure prevai led wh i ch l im i ted their socia l acceptance and access. In the 1970s, females were depicted in photographs i n non-stereotypical, athletic poses that chal lenged the gaze o f the male v iewer. However , a radical shift became evident i n the 1980s as w o m e n began to be represented as sexual objects and photographic techniques changed to embrace the sexual ized look , pose, and gaze o f fashion models . W o m e n further struggled in the 1970s and 1980s to organize their o w n competi t ions wh i ch s ignaled the denial o f the leg i t imacy o f women surfers (Booth , 2001). In 1974, w o m e n surfers mot ivated by Jericho Poppler formed the W o m e n ' s International Sur f ing Assoc i a t i on ( W I S A ) to spearhead the development o f a profess ional women ' s c ircuit . These events were largely Ca l i f o rn i a based and were the first to offer women pr ize money (Booth, 2001) . In 1976, W o m e n ' s Professional Sur f ing ( W P S ) was formed in H a w a i i to secure increased pr ize money and more events for women . The W P S set out to smooth relations between surfers, contest directors, and the med ia (Booth , 2001). In 1977 w o m e n competed i n f ive professional surf ing events in Aust ra l i a , B r a z i l , Ca l i fo rn i a , H a w a i i , and South A f r i c a . These f ive events crowned M a r g o Oberg , who was fifteen at the t ime, the first o f f i c i a l professional female champion o f surf ing. In the same year, M a r g o opened her surf school on Kaua i . In 1983, the Assoc i a t ion o f Sur f ing Professionals ( A S P ) took over the International Profess ional Sur f ing (IPS) and W o m e n ' s Pro Sur f ing (WPS ) circuits (Gabbard, 2000). Another s ignif icant watershed in women ' s 11 surf ing occurred i n 1986 when L i s a Anderson , at the age o f 17, turned pro and jo ined the A S P (Gabbard, 2000). W o m e n surf ing competi t ions d id not develop evenly around the wor ld . Ca l i fo rn i an and Hawa i i an surfers benefited but Aust ra l i an organizers often cancel led women ' s events and there was a lack o f interested sponsors and l imi ted pr ize money for Aus t ra l i an women . The distance to other competit ions g loba l l y and the cost o f travel hindered the ab i l i ty o f Aust ra l i an women to compete international ly. W e l l into the 1990s women ' s professional surf ing remained a poor match to the men 's c ircuit (Booth, 2001) . 2.2 History of Surfing in British Columbia The practice o f sur f ing in B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a ( BC ) dates back 40 years, and has been transformed over t ime into a un ique ly B C experience. B C has many dist inct surf ing communi t ies inc lud ing To f i no , Uc luelet , Jordan R iver , and Sombr io Beach. Jordan R i ve r and Sombr io Beach are more readi ly accessible f rom V i c t o r i a ( Sh i l l ing , 2003) whereas To f ino and Uclue let are further north on Vancouver Island and are less accessible. A s Sh i l l i ng reports, Before 1956 To f i no and Uc lue let were their o w n islands on Vancouver Island because there was no road through the saw-tooth M a c k e n z i e Range mountains and across Sutton Pass. . .Af ter 1956 there was a dusty, d i r ty and dangerous logg ing road, and in 1964 M a c M i l l a n - B l o e d e l L td . and fe l low forest-company giant, B C Forest Products L td . , bui l t H i g h w a y 4 in exchange for l ogg ing concessions f rom the prov inc ia l government. The environmental ists and the surfers among the m i l l i o n or so visitors to To f ino and Uc lue let every year owe it 12 to those logg ing companies for getting them out o f the woods and into the water, (p. 11) D u r i n g this t ime, To f ino and Uc lue le t were ma in l y f i sh ing and logg ing v i l lages and had not yet become tourist destinations (p.30). Ear l y B C surfers were a determined, invent ive group and had to improv ise materials i n order to fabricate boards to surf on as Sh i l l i ng (2003) af f i rms: One thing that characterized most surfers in B C in the early days was their w i l l ingness to surf pract ica l ly anything, f rom p l ywood to glass-over foam boards. W i t h the nearest surf shops in [the state of] Oregon, B C surfers had to scrounge boards any way they cou ld . Some early surfers tr ied to make and shape their o w n boards, (p. 60) P r ior to 1995, surf businesses i n To f ino were not commonplace . The economy at the t ime was not capable o f sustaining them. A pioneer i n To f i no ' s surf industry. L i v e to Surf, the first su r fboa rd rental business i n To f ino opened its doors in 1984 and st i l l remains i n operation today. The first International Su r f Contest in B C was he ld on L o n g Beach , south o f To f ino in 1966. The development o f the W i ckan inn i sh Inn on L o n g Beach i n 1964 and the arr ival o f sur f ing pioneers lead to the improbable development o f the To f ino and Uc lue let surf scenes. The or ig ina l pioneers who l i ved in cedar shacks and cabins a long the Pac i f i c coastl ine o f f o f Vancouve r Island introduced their ch i ldren to the sport thereby secur ing the future o f Canad ian surf ing. Ra lph Devr ies who helped construct the W i ckan inn i sh Inn was first introduced to the sport o f sur f ing by some vacat ion ing Ca l i forn ians in 1964, and he competed i n B C ' s first surf compet i t ion i n 1966 ( Sh i l l i ng , 13 2003). The f ami l y l ineage and pass ing down o f technical aspects o f surf ing can be seen in Ra lph ' s son, Peter Devr ies who took to the water at a very young age and became a sponsored surfer, compet ing in international surf ing competi t ions. Peter eventual ly w o n the Qu iks i l ve r /Roxy Summer Su r f Jam 2000 in To f i no , B C . In M a y 2003 , Surfer th Magaz ine ranked h i m 94 in the. h igh l y regarded g lobal rank ing o f the " H o t 100 " surfers under the age o f 21 in the W o r l d ( w w w . B C S A . c a c . f , Surfer Magaz ine , M a y 2003) . To f i no has changed dramat ica l ly over the years and part icular ly i n the last decade. " T o f i n o watched its f i sh ing industry die and its forests embraced by most l y urban environmental ists. L and values began to skyrocket. Cedar shacks were replaced by houses straight out o f any suburb. Wha les became a tourist attract ion" ( Sh i l l ing , 2003 , p. 66). A prist ine coast is an incredible resource for the pure pleasure o f locals and for the economic in ject ion that tourists and transient surfers provide. The town o f T o f i n o has a year round populat ion o f 1000 inhabitants but is now attracting over a m i l l i o n visitors each year. In the early 1990s there were a handful o f people sur f ing in T o f i n o ' s waters. A s Sh i l l i ng notes, the start o f the surf ing b o o m in B C began in the m i d 1990's and the late 1990s marked a s ignif icant change w i th more and more women t ry ing the sport. The ch i ldren o f B C ' s or ig ina l surfers have helped support the development o f the sport w i th the creation o f surf schools and surf businesses. Jenny Stewart (nee Hudna l l ) who owns and operates Su r f Sister Sur f Schoo l is the daughter o f J i m Hudna l l , one o f T o f i n o ' s or ig ina l surfers. Su r f tour ism is becoming an important economic contributor to loca l coastal communit ies ( Sh i l l i ng , 2003). " T h e many surfers around prov ide the service industries w i th a cheap labour force. A l s o , there is more tourist money f loat ing around, 14 more surf schools, more leisure act iv i ty , and more non-extractive uses o f w i lderness " (p. 14). S ince its incept ion i n 1993, the Br i t i sh C o l u m b i a Sur f ing Assoc ia t ion ( B C S A ) has been recognized by the Canad ian Sur f ing Assoc ia t ion and the International Sur f ing Assoc ia t ion as the govern ing body for surf ing in Western Canada and for representing west coast surfers. The B C S A aims to develop surfers w i th in B C and to prov ide them w i th the opportunity to bu i l d their sk i l l s international ly ( w w w . B C S A . c a ) . The Summer Su r f Jam is a sponsored two-day judged contest that a l lows loca l surfers to compete against an international f ie ld in the comfort o f their home break. The first Su r f Jam took place i n 1988 when the retail outlet Westbeach organized a smal l sur f contest on L o n g Beach . The locat ion changed the f o l l o w i n g year to C o x Bay and this event continues to get b igger and attract more sponsors, and subsequently; more pr ize money, more competitors and spectators. Th i s annual event showcases B C ' s top surfers and enables therri to compete in professional compet i t ion w i th pros f rom the U S . Th i s event has seven d iv is ions to accommodate a l l the different levels and forms o f surf ing. The B C S A hopes to further develop its athletes through loca l compet i t ion spec i f i ca l l y the Summer Sur f Jam and by sending its top surfers to more regional contests such as the Westport Cleanwater C lass i c i n Wash ington and a few pro events i n Ca l i fo rn ia . In the past, the B C S A focused on creating a Canad ian Nat iona l Sur f Team that w o u l d travel to compete i n the wo r l d surf ing games. The wor ld surf ing games are held every two years and can be dubbed the ' O l y m p i c s ' o f surf ing w i th teams f rom al l over the wo r l d meet ing in various locat ions for the ten day event. B C S A successful ly entered 15 its first fu l l Canadian Team at the games in B r az i l i n 1994. The team traveled to Hunt ington Beach, Ca l i f o rn i a in 1996, to Portugal i n 1998, and then back to B r az i l in 2000. M o r e recently, a key focus o f the B C S A is deve lop ing B C talent at both the professional and amateur levels loca l l y . The B C S A have proved successful in their efforts and the increased popular i ty o f the Summer Su r f Jam is evidence o f the increased support i n deve lop ing loca l talent and encouraging the younger generation to compete and secure the future o f Canad ian surf ing ( w w w . B C S A . c a ) . F o l l o w i n g a g row ing trend wor ldw ide in the commerc ia l i za t ion o f surf ing, surf schools became c o m m o n place around the area o f To f i no . In order to establish a code o f conduct, surf school guidel ines, and surf instructor qual i f icat ions for surf schools operat ing w i th in the Pac i f i c R i m Nat iona l Park boundary, the B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a Assoc i a t ion o f Sur f Instructors ( B C A S I ) was developed in 2002. Th i s associat ion is dedicated to tra ining and cer t i fy ing surf ing instructors and coaches and ensuring that a standard o f safe and eff ic ient surf instruct ion is maintained. A group o f dedicated surfers formed the B C A S I as surf schools f lour ished in B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a , and unt i l 2002 d id not have to operate under spec i f ic rules and regulations w i th regard to l i ab i l i t y insurance, surf instructor qual i f icat ions, equipment standards or m a x i m u m instructor to student ratios. B C A S I upholds the highest standards for the industry so that increased commerc ia l iza t ion does not lead to negl igence and qual i ty issues. The B C A S I seeks to make the industry safer and more effect ive by standardizing instructor tra ining and sur f school operations ( w w w . B C A S I . c o m ) . 16 2.3 The British Columbia Surf Scene The surf is unique i n B C , and thick wetsuits are required for the i c y Pac i f i c waters (N i ckson , 2002) , that crash onto spectacular beaches backed up against old-growth ra in forest. The surf scene in B C tends to exhibi t loca l ized group norms that are dist inct f rom other geographical locat ions, and even though west coast riders are part o f g loba l sur f ing culture, they share traditions that are unique to their situation (Pearson, 1982). Sur f ing in Canada is a year-round pursuit and the c l imate and temperature o f the water makes for a truly Canad ian experience. " Y o u need a wetsuit to surf here. C layoquot Sound, where surf town T o f i n o is located, can get four metres o f ra in a year, and the waves here are best in the w in te r t ime" ( Sh i l l ing , 2003, p. 11). To f i no and Uclue let have an average water temperature o f 8-11 degrees Ce l s ius ; whereas, Jordan R i ve r and Sombr io Beach have an average water temperature o f 5-6 degrees Ce ls ius ( Sh i l l i ng , 2003). A s E l izabeth N i c k s o n (2002) describes her experience a long the shores o f Pac i f i c R i m Nat iona l Park, " the ocean out here is immense ly power fu l , grey, and th ick w i th salt.. .on this section o f coast" ( p .AL8 ) . The best surf ing condit ions result f rom winter storms. A s Sh i l l i ng notes, Winter t ime is real ly the on l y t ime you can re l iab ly surf Sombr io or the Jordan R iver , both o f wh i ch depend on winter storms for suitable waves. . . A huge wave in T o f i n o . . .wou ld be ten feet.. .with an average wave about three-to-five feet h igh . Mos t waves at Sombr io or Jordan R i ve r are in the three-to-five feet range. Bo th Sombr io and the Jordan R i ve r prov ide consistent waves. The surf at To f i no is a 'beach s u r f - ever changing. The waves at Jordan R i ve r are formed by a point break waves that f o rm in reaction to a l andform and are, therefore, 17 consistent. The waves at Sombr io are formed b y a reef break, wh i ch also produces consistent waves. ( Sh i l l i ng , 2003 , p. 16-17) Jordan R i ve r and Sombr io Beach are less accepting o f beginner surfers. These locations are most l y male-dominated and exhibi t a l oca l i sm that makes it d i f f i cu l t for outsiders. " Jordan R ive r st i l l has a well-earned reputation for a locals-only attitude.. .Because so few people surfed Jordan R i ve r in the early 1970s, a heightened sense o f entitlement and ownership developed among the c lubb ies " ( Sh i l l ing , 2003, p. 37). " L o c a l i s m is not unique to Jordan R iver . It is encountered i n many surf spots around the wor ld . What is hard to understand is w h y it exists in B C , where there are few surfers" (p.39). U n l i k e Jordan R iver , l oca l i sm and a negative v ibe have never been part o f the surf scene in To f i no . It might be due to the w ide expanse o f the beach or perhaps because To f i no is an actual town. Jordan R i ve r was a company town, sparsely populated, where l i tt le sense o f commun i t y was able to develop. It is , in a sense, unc la imed territory that a bunch o f outsiders made their own . In To f i no , on the other hand, there is a sense o f be long ing to a commun i t y without the loca l i sm. ( Sh i l l ing , 2003, p. 43) A s a result, To f i no has become a popular surf destination for female surfers and is a year- round home for a substantial number o f surfers. M o s t w o m e n first experience the sport i n the more accepting waters that surround the area o f To f i no . 18 2.4 The Expansion of Women's Surfing and the Surf Wear Industry Even though, women have been surf ing profess ional ly for decades, on l y recently has surf ing gained increased v i s ib i l i t y in the med ia and in the sports product marketplace (Hami l ton , Locke , Perry, Ressnier, Smi th , and W i l l i a m s , 2002). A decade ago a w o m a n who wanted to learn to surf wou ld not have felt we lcome. The exis t ing surf stores d idn ' t carry wetsuits, board shorts, rash guards, or other products designed for w o m e n surfers. I f any women-speci f ic products existed dur ing this t ime, there were not many. The first women-only surf shop 'Water G i r l ' opened in 1995 in Encin i tas , Ca l i f o rn i a and the owner I lona W o o d started a min i-revolut ion i n the surf wear industry (Gabbard, 2000) . Female surfers want ing to find women ' s products w o u l d not have a prob lem in the late 1990s onwards as women ' s surf gear began to appear everywhere. Th i s may have been an indicat ion that surf ing l i ke other extreme sports was becoming more gender neutral (Ost rowsk i , 1999). In the second ha l f o f the 1990s women ' s surf ing experienced a rapid growth i n popular i ty . A s Boo th (2001) af f i rms, The industry is en joy ing unprecedented economic prosperity on rising consumpt ion o f high-fashion c loth ing and accessories w i th surf ing monikers . One indicator o f the b o o m i n g industry is the purchase o f leading surf wear manufacturers b y mult inat ional companies - L igh tn ing Bo l t and H a n g Ten by Pac i f i c Dun lop , and M a m b o by G a z a l Corporat ion [and Hur l ey International b y N ike ] - and the pub l i c l i s t ing o f other major c lo th ing and equipment companies, inc lud ing Qu iks i l v e r and B i l l abong . (p.3) Th is t ime around the women were the ones he lp ing to br ing the sport back (Marsh , 1997). Changes i n technology, such as l ighter boards and the comeback o f long 19 boards helped open the sport to women . It is estimated that currently one-third o f Aus t ra l i a ' s two m i l l i o n surfers are female (Booth, 2001). Board-Trac, a Ca l i f o rn i a research f i rm that special izes in action sports recently reported that 1 6 % to 2 2 % o f the 2.4 m i l l i o n surfers in the U.S are female, and the percentage o f women surf ing every day has more than doubled in the past three years" (Gonza lez , 2002, p. 63). S ince the 1970s women have penetrated many sport ing spheres (Wheaton & Tom l i n son , 1998). In many different realms o f sport, w o m e n are be ing recognized as a distinct and power fu l target market. A s R o b C u m m i n g s (1997) points out: A s imi la r scene is be ing p layed out from Mon tauk to M a l i b u as more and more women drop into that exc lus ive men 's c lub, the fraternity o f sur f ing . . .the real groundswel l i n the sports popular i ty is be ing generated by ordinary women - women who are do ing things w i th surfboards that G idget never dreamed of. (p. 19) A c c o r d i n g to C u m m i n g s (1997) w i th the in f lux o f women , the sport is changing in innovat ive and unpredictable ways, and is attracting the attention o f marketers, retailers, and non-surfers g loba l ly . A number o f condit ions throughout the 1990s contributed to a new surf ing culture that is more accepting o f women . Boo th (2001) ident i f ied the f o l l ow ing condit ions as ma in contributors to the growth o f women ' s surf ing: the rev iva l o f l ong boards, the emergence o f new role mode ls , resolut ion o f women ' s surf ing style, a shift i n attitude regarding the market ing o f female sexual i ty, a rev i ta l ized professional women ' s tour, and new products dedicated to female surfers. A l t hough long boards have been cr i t i c ized for be ing heavy to transport, they are more buoyant and stable mak ing it easier for w o m e n to stand up and catch waves. In 1997 and 1998 K a h l u a sponsored the women ' s pro tour and 20 increased the pr ize money avai lable to women surfers. In 1995 Sur f ing magazine added Sur f ing G i r l as an annual insert and in 2000 s ix editions were produced. S im i l a r l y Aust ra l i a ' s Surfer L i f e began a two page supplement cal led C h i c k and in 1998 an independent magazine was launched. L i s a Anderson became recognized as a role mode l for women surfers and was credited w i th g i v ing women authority i n a male-dominated subculture. A s a professional surfer, L i s a Anderson won four consecutive Assoc i a t i on o f Sur f ing Professionals ( A S P ) wo r l d titles between 1994 and 1997 (Booth, 2001) . The number o f w o m e n part ic ipat ing in surf ing has cont inued to rise (Os t rowsk i , 1999) and it is apparent that a smal l but persist ing market now exists for w o m e n des i r ing to learn to surf as evidenced by the opening o f gir ls-only surf schools (Gonza lez , 2002) . In 1996, Izzy T ihany i opened Su r f D i v a the first a l l-women's surf school in L a Jo l la , Ca l i f o rn i a (Gabbard, 2000) , and the first gir ls-only surf school opened in 1999 on the west coast o f B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a (N i ckson , 2002). Sur f ing competi t ions for w o m e n were also on Canada 's beaches and waters. K e y brand manufacturers in the surf industry have sponsored these events on Canada 's west coast. A c c o r d i n g to Hami l t on et a l . (2002), surf wear is now a $2.4 b i l l i o n industry and growing . The two biggest companies, B i l l abong and Qu iks i l ve r , in 2002 were already expect ing " the i r l ines o f g i r l s ' board shorts, T shirts and other apparel to soon meet or beat earnings f rom boy ' s l i nes " (Hami l ton et a l . , 2002, p. 54). Th i s is an ind icat ion that the market growth o f sur f ing apparel has been dr iven in part through the expansion o f female l ines. Establ ished surf wear manufacturers and new independent labels have been des ign ing brands spec i f i ca l l y for women . Ost rowsk i (1999) indicates more than one quarter o f Qu iks i l v e r ' s sales come f rom its gir ls R o x y d i v i s ion . R o x y wh i ch produces 21 surf and snowboard clothes for women started in 1994, and sales, escalated f rom $ 1 m i l l i o n the first year to an estimated $128 m i l l i o n in 1999. In targeting the untapped market o f female surfers, Qu iks i l v e r was at the beg inn ing o f an upsurge i n the surf industry (Ost rowsk i , 1999). Du r ing this per iod, surf wear also shifted into mainstream fashion, especia l ly among Generat ion Y gir ls (Ost rowsk i , 1999). He id i Ba r tho lomew, director o f market ing and design for B i l l abong Aus t ra l i a has commented on the l ink between surf apparel, surf l i festyles, and self-identity for the G e n Y market. She states that " G i r l s are embrac ing the l i festyle, the who le surf ing exper ience. . .Even gir ls who have never caught a wave l i ke wear ing the f loppy , casual c lo thes" (Hami l ton et a l . , 2002, p. 53). The widespread popular izat ion o f surf style has even made its impact i n the prair ie, land-locked town o f Ca lgary . A Ca lgary store owner attributes the appeal o f sur f ing w i th the " fasc inat ion w i th al l things Ca l i f o rn i a (n). . .we wanted to epi tomize everything about Ca l i fo rn i a , but i n C a l g a r y " (K l a f fke , 2002, p. B5) . The pattern o f consumpt ion that results, o f m i x i n g surf wear fashion w i th other elements o f teen and pre-teen fashion fits w i th L u r y ' s (1996) descr ipt ion o f the adopt ion o f l i festy le trends. She writes, " . . . wh i l e on l y a smal l m inor i t y o f young people may have adopted the complete ensemble o f subcultural style, large numbers are seen to have drawn on selective elements, creating their o w n meanings and uses f rom t h e m " (Lury , 1996, p. 194). Recent f i lms have also contributed to the rise in popular i ty o f sur f ing l i festyles and surf fashion. Gonza l ez (2002) comments on this not ing that, " H o l l y w o o d has p i cked up on the trend; D i sney ' s L i l o & St i tch and Un ive rsa l ' s B l ue C rush , both o f w h i c h celebrate female surf ing, may make r id ing the waves even more popu la r " (p. 63). A s 22 Izzy T ihany i , founder o f the Su r f D i v a surf school for gir ls states " E v e r y l itt le g i r l who sees [B lue Crush] is go ing to want to s u r f (Hami l ton et al . , 2002, p. 52). The increased popular i ty o f gir ls surf ing, i n turn, has inf luenced brand marketers to target this demographic segment in their market ing campaigns w h i c h contributes to the popular i ty o f surf wear w i th this group. A s Ost rowsk i (1999) has observed, many teens are more fascinated b y extreme sports (skateboarding, surf ing, and snowboarding) than b y j o c k sports ( footbal l , basketbal l and baseball ) . These teens m a y participate in the activit ies or share in the l i festyle associations and identity o f the sports b y purchas ing branded apparel. A s Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) indicate, " Subcu l tu ra l l y created styles may be shared or imitated b y a much larger audience or market peripheral to the core subculture and may even become imitated and commerc ia l i zed for mass consumpt ion " (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995, p. 43). Booth (2001) has cautioned, however , that " commerc i a l i za t ion also threatens to undermine the cultural tenets o f sur f ing . . .whi le w o m e n consumers o f sur f products promise the industry unprecedented economic prosperity, they also pose a threat to the very cultural authenticity on wh i ch the industry depends" (p. 16). 2.5 The Concept of Subculture The term 'subcul ture ' has been used in increas ingly contradictory ways b y sport socia l theorists and requires a br ie f explanat ion in context. A s Crosset and Bea l (1997) state, " W i t h i n sport ethnography, the term subculture has been employed so broadly that the term has lost much o f its explanatory power " (p. 73). Ethnographies o f sport subcultures have often exaggerated cultural resistance and posi t ioned sport subcultures as 23 opposi t ional to the parent culture (Crosset & Bea l , 1997). The term subculture is often construed as synonymous w i th deviants and their activit ies, and the pref ix ' sub ' is sometimes interpreted as be ing infer ior to mainstream values. For the purposes o f m y research, I shift away f rom w h o l l y opposi t ional elements and examine the l ink between consumpt ion, identit ies, and subcultural theory in the emergence and growth o f the women ' s surf ing industry in Canada. A s Pearson (1979) suggests " A subcultural norm may be different f rom the ' n o r m ' o f the parent culture or o f another subculture and yet be wi th in a tolerable range o f behav ior [and therefore not ' dev i an t ' ] " (p. 20). D o n n e l l y ' s (1981a) def in i t ion o f subculture most adequately captures the women ' s surf ing commun i t y for m y purposes. Donne l l y (1981a) defines a subculture as " A co l lec t i v i t y o f groups and ind iv idua ls who possess c o m m o n cultural characteristics and who interact w i th each other, or who have the potential to interact w i th each other either direct ly or symbo l i ca l l y (i.e., through such med ia as magazines and newsletters)" (p. 570). S im i l a r to other subcultures, sport subcultures may be dist inguished as subsystems w i th in the dominant culture, and characterized b y a different set o f norms, values, bel iefs , and symbols (Leonard II, 1991). a. Youth Subcultures Scholars inf luenced by the B i r m i n g h a m Center for Contemporary Cul tura l Studies have focused on the analysis o f youth subcultures. A notable cultural studies analysis o f post-war youth subcultures in Br i ta in is Hebd ige ' s (1979) Subculture: The meaning o f style (Crosset & Bea l , 1997). S ince the 1950s new youth groups have 24 emerged in wh i ch consumpt ion played an integral role i n their existence (Bocock , 1993). A s Lu r y (1996) notes: There is now a long and we l l-known history o f youth subcultural styles, f rom the teddy boys and the mods , to the skins and punks, to hip hop and rave, wh i ch has occupied the attention o f sociologists , journal ists , and mus ic and fashion commentators al ike, (p. 193) Hebdige (1979) based his analysis based on the punk and reggae subcultures present i n Br i ta in dur ing the m i d 1950s to m i d 1970s. Hebd ige examined the l ink between the predominant ly w o r k i n g class youth subcultural styles and the styles o f the sizeable b lack immigrant communi ty . H e suggests that we should be " interested in subculture- in the expressive forms and rituals o f those subordinate groups -who are alternatively d ismissed, denounced, and canonized; treated at different t imes as threats to pub l i c order and as harmless bu f foons " (Hebdige, 1979, p. 2). L u r y (1996) proposes four ma in condit ions that have contributed to the emergence o f post-war youth styles in B r i ta in : i) the tradit ional per iod f rom dependent ch i ldhood to independent adulthood has been greatly lengthened in modern industr ia l societies, i i ) youth became a s ignif icant consumer market, i i i ) socia l and pol i t i ca l changes such as the breakup o f tradit ional hous ing patterns and the increasing employment o f women and iv) Amer i can iza t ion (popular culture) o f B r i t i sh cultures. H a l l and Jefferson (1976) i n their analysis o f B r i t i sh post-war youth cultures point out that " O n e o f the ma in functions o f subcultural style is to define the boundaries o f group membership as against other g roups " (p. 180). The meanings that subcultures create often stand in oppos i t ion to the accepted meanings o f the major i ty - to the 25 "dominant social-cultural o rder " (p. 12). S im i l a r l y Hebdige (1979) suggests that the construct ion o f a style that deviates f rom the interests o f the dominant groups in society signals a refusal against the preva i l ing ideologies. Th rough the expression o f style subcultures chal lenge hegemony, wh i ch Hebdige , d raw ing on H a l l (1977), defines as: A situation i n w h i c h a prov is iona l a l l iance o f certain social groups can exert total soc ia l authority over other subordinate groups, not s imp ly by coerc ion or b y the direct impos i t ion o f ru l ing ideas, but b y w inn ing and shaping consent so that the power o f the dominant classes appears both legit imate and natural, (p. 16, c . f , H a l l , 1977) Hebd ige (1979) adds that " T h e tensions between dominant and subordinate groups can be found in the surfaces o f subculture - i n the styles made up o f mundane objects wh i ch have a double m e a n i n g " (p. 3). Through their appearance subordinate groups appropriate certain objects (e.g. safety pins, tubes o f Vase l ine , scooters, tampons, plast ic clothes-pegs), and these objects s ign i fy the presence o f difference f rom dominant groups and are a s ign o f forb idden identity, or may be a source o f value to those who ho ld them as markers o f identity (Hebdige, 1979). L u r y suggests that " T h e homologous coherence o f youth subcultures is created through the process o f br ico lage - the process in w h i c h objects acquire new mean ing through recontextual izat ion (1996, p. 197). B o c o c k (1993) adds that a l though youth groups use " . . .specif ic consumpt ion patterns as a way o f mark ing a boundary between peer group membership and outsiders. . .group boundaries are much more fluid than under condit ions o f moderni ty ; people do not feel that they be long necessari ly to the same socia l status group, or even the same ethnic group, into wh i ch they were b o r n " (p. 80). 26 Hebd ige ' s (1979) essential point is that these 'dev iants ' (p. 19) v iolate the socia l order, and are detached f rom the norm through their de f in ing characteristics o f mus i c and style. Hebdige further reveals that each subculture in Br i ta in is a normal response to a part icular set o f socia l c ircumstances dur ing that t ime per iod. The deviant behav ior o f youth subcultures is understood as a col lect ive reaction o f youth themselves to structural changes that took place in B r i t i sh post-war society (Hebdige, 1979). A key f ind ing in this work is that style and patterns o f consumpt ion can serve as means for construct ing an identity. In B r i ta in , the first male youth group who emerged w i th a dist inct ive sense o f identity was the teddy boys. A s Bocock (1993) acknowledges " T h i s identity was constructed, i n large part, around a dist inct ive pattern o f consumpt ion , that o f Edwardian-style c loth ing, a special hairstyle, and a taste for r o c k ' n ' r o l l m u s i c " (p. 100). S imi l a r l y , Hebdige (1979) c la ims that the m o d style attempted to compensate for the mundane predictabi l i ty o f the wo rk i ng week " b y exerc is ing complete dominat ion over his private estate - his appearance and choice o f leisure pursu i ts " (p. 91). Through style, youth i n Br i ta in have created an alternative identity for themselves: a sense o f otherness (Hebdige, 1979). Hebd ige (1979) acknowledges that it is on l y a matter o f t ime before subcultural signs (dress, mus ic , etc.) become mass-produced objects for mainstream fashion. " In every successive subculture there is a cyc le leading f rom oppos i t ion to de lus ion , f rom resistance to incorpora t ion " (p. 100), and both the market and the med ia p lay a role in the cont inuat ion o f this cyc le . L u r y (1996) argues that the last authentic youth culture was punk wh i ch emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. " Y o u t h subcultures," she writes, " can no longer exist in today 's commerc i a l l y predatory env i ronment . . . they no sooner 27 emerge than they are swa l lowed who le by contemporary consumer cu l ture" (Lury , 1996, p. 198). Th is works provides a useful br idge to sports subcultures, many o f wh i ch are also youth-driven. In this context, sports subcultures can be conceptual ized as groups who demonstrate c o m m o n identities and aff i l iat ions w i th each other based on the l i festy le condit ions o f their act iv i ty and its cultural s ymbo l i sm wh i ch are both rooted in the consumpt ion o f consumer products in a consumer market economy. In such an environment, product and brand s ymbo l i sm matters, as do the sport and group's identit ies. b. Sports subcultures Kates (1998) has proposed that " O n e o f the most interesting branches o f both the sport market ing and consumer research disc ip l ines - f rom both theoretical and manageria l perspectives - is the study o f subcultures whose socia l organizat ion revolve around various brands or ac t iv i t ies " (p. 26). In the literature on sports subcultures, the process o f subcultural soc ia l izat ion has been l inked to identity format ion (Donne l l y and Y o u n g , 1988; Wheaton, 1998, 2000) , and the expression o f identity through sport consumpt ion (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995). Wheaton (1998, 2000) examined the role o f identity in the case o f w indsur f ing subcultures, and her research out l ined the array o f gender relations i n the sport. Bea l (1996) discusses the alternative def ini t ions o f mascu l in i ty and its effects on gender relations that are manifest in the subculture o f skateboarding. In her observations o f the skateboarding subculture, she acknowledges the lack o f female part ic ipat ion i n the sport. The predominant ly male participants 28 ident i f ied the lack o f a strict formal structure, f reedom o f self-expression, emphasis on part ic ipat ion and co-operation, and the abi l i ty to chal lenge their o w n phys ica l l imi ts as mot ives for their involvement i n the sport. The male skaters also ident i f ied the phys ica l nature o f the sport, lack o f female participants, and the lack o f peer support as barriers for females i n the sport (Bea l , 1996). Beal (1996) reported that " B o t h the males and females have internal ized the dominant ideo logy o f sport as a male socia l ro le . . . A n d as l ong as females are judged b y a standard o f mascu l in i ty in a patriarchal society they w i l l a lways be ma rg ina l i z ed " (Bea l , 1996, p. 219) However , Anderson (1999) i n her analysis o f the construct ion o f gender i n the emerging sport o f snowboard ing suggested that " U n l i k e most organized sports [ footbal l , basebal l , basketbal l ] , snowboard ing is emerging in a context o f women ' s sport part ic ipat ion and is not automat ica l ly considered a mascul ine pract ice" (p. 59). He ino (2000) analyzed the l i fe cyc le o f snowboard ing as a new sport, and found that there is a l i festy le spec i f ic to snowboard ing that is resistant to the dominant sport o f sk i ing and the socia l values that sk i ing represents. He ino (2000) suggests that the " m e d i a have appropriated the image o f youthfu l rebe l l ion in snowboard ing and commod i f i ed i t " (p. 176), result ing in a s imi lar d i f fus ion o f snowboard ing culture to non-snowboarders as noted in the case o f sur f ing ment ioned prev iously . A g row ing body o f research on sport subcultures has focused on gender relations and soc ia l izat ion and acceptance w i th in sport subcultures (Anderson, 1999; Bea l , 1996; K l e i n , 1986; Leonard II, 1991). The importance o f commitment and demonstrat ing prof i c iency in the sport has also been analyzed w i th respect to negotiat ing, renegotiat ing, and sometimes subvert ing the contemporary gender order (Wheaton & T o m l i n s o n , 1998). 29 Y o u t h sport subcultures also demonstrate a unique style that contributes to identity format ion among the youth invo lved . A t the beg inn ing o f snowboard ing, snowboarders found their cultural roots in surf ing, skateboarding, and the "gans ta " (Anderson, 1999). " T h e popular i ty o f the hip-hop look, and its appropriat ion by suburban youth f rom its urban or ig ins a l lowed for an easy j u m p from skateboard and surf ing style to snowboard s ty le " (He ino, 2000, p. 178). ' S ty le ' becomes mob i l i z ed as a means to demonstrate group membersh ip and to d ist inguish authentic members f rom the 'posers ' , e.g. a non-surfer p l ay ing the role o f a surfer (see Anderson , 1999). A poser often adopts the "manner isms, attitudes, language, and styles o f dress, speech, and behavior that he or she perceives to be characteristic o f [core] established members o f the subcul ture" (Donne l l y & Y o u n g , 1988, p. 223), but is dist inguishable f rom a neophyte who shapes an identity through the consumpt ion o f goods to assist i n his or her soc ia l izat ion into the subculture. Marketers f o l l ow the changing styles o f youth culture and adjust their brands accord ing to current market trends. In essence, brand marketers, advertisers, and promoters can learn a great deal f rom the 'authentic ' hard-core members o f the group. A l l styles that take fo rm in the mainstream arise f rom the subculture itself. " T h e creation and d i f fus ion o f new styles is inextr icab ly bound up w i th the process o f product ion, pub l i c i t y , and packag ing w h i c h must inev i tably lead to the d i f fus ion o f the subculture 's subversive power . . . [They feed] back into h igh fashion and mainstream fash ion " (Hebdige, 1979, p. 95). A c c o r d i n g to Wheaton (2000), this u l t imately means that the subculture is a subculture o f consumpt ion. A s she writes: 30 The surfing subculture...is a 'commodity-oriented subculture' in which consumer capitalism is essential to its inception and growth.. .Surfing supports 'two fundamentals of American capitalism, consumerism and individualism'. . .This expansion of capital is particularly evident in the commodities linked to these activities such as equipment and clothing, (p. 261) Surfing style has fed directly into mainstream fashion. Boardies, hoodies, Reefs, bikinis, and surf branded merchandise adorn store shelves. Meanwhile, youth are fueling the industry, attempting to fashion an identity out of their purchases. 2.6 Consumer Research In order to more clearly specify the importance of consumption in contemporary sport subcultures it is useful to draw on some of the work that has been done in consumer research. For example, Bennett (1999) drawing on Maffesoli's concept of tribus (tribes) applied the framework of neo-tribes to an empirical study of the contemporary dance music scene in Britain. According to Maffesoli the tribe is "without the rigidity of the forms of organization with which we are familiar, it refers more to a certain ambience, a state of mind, and is preferably to be expressed through lifestyles that favor appearance and form' (Bennett, p. 605; c.f, Maffesoli, 1996). Bennett criticizes the subcultural theories developed by the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) , and argues that "The concept of 'subculture' is unworkable as an objective analytical tool in sociological work on youth, music and style" (p. 599). Bennett indicates that "The term 'subculture' is also deeply problematic in that it imposes rigid lines of division" (p. 603), and implies that subcultures "exist outside of the mainstream" 31 (p. 604), or in essence that they are inherently deviant. H e writes that the term 'subcul ture ' becomes " a convenient 'catch-al l ' term used to describe a range o f disparate col lect ive practices whose on l y obvious relat ion is that they al l invo lve young peop l e " (p. 605). A c co rd ing l y , the concept o f neo-tribes was introduced as an alternative theoretical mode l for the study o f youth. These groupings are characterized by f lu id boundaries and floating memberships and " a l l ows for the shi f t ing nature o f youth 's mus ica l and sty l ist ic preferences and the essential fluidity o f youth cultural g roups " (p. 614). M u n i z and O ' G u i n n (2001) i n their rev iew o f neo-tribal ism further emphasize this fluid nature o f these groups and ment ion that " they fo rm, they disperse, [and] they re-form as something else, ref lect ing the constant sh i f t ing identities o f postmodern consumers " (p. 414) . Th i s research is ident i f ied as a possible means to describe youth groups di f ferent ly than us ing subcultural theory. The concept o f neo-tribes is effect ive for ana lyz ing the youth dance mus ic scene; however , for the purposes o f m y study, it does not capture the sem i - permanent nature o f the socia l group o f women surfers I wanted to study. Bennett 's analysis o f l i festyles is important to m y study therefore ma in l y because o f its connect ion between identity, l i festyles, and consumpt ion. M u n i z and O ' G u i n n (2001) f rom their o w n part introduced the concept o f brand commun i t y as a f ramework for understanding consumer behavior. A brand commun i t y is def ined as " a spec ia l ized, non-geographical ly bound commun i t y based on a structured set o f socia l relationships among admirers o f a b r a n d " (p. 412). U n l i k e marg ina l ized subcultures, brand communi t ies embrace aspects o f the surrounding culture's ideology. M u n i z and O ' G u i n n (2001) used ethnographic and computer-mediated environment data to explore the brand communi t ies o f Ford B ronco , Mac in tosh , and Saab. It is important 32 to draw attention to the core components o f commun i t y wh i ch essential ly are the de f in ing characteristics o f a brand commun i t y as ident i f ied by M u n i z and O ' G u i n n . The first element and most important component o f commun i t y is a 'consciousness o f k i n d ' def ined as "the intr ins ic connect ion that members feel toward one another, and the col lect ive sense o f difference from others not in the c o m m u n i t y " (p. 413). The other two components o f commun i t y are shared rituals and tradit ions, and a sense o f mora l responsibi l i ty . It is suggested that brand communi t ies are i n fact largely imagined communit ies . M u n i z and O ' G u i n n (2001) postulate that "These communit ies may fo rm around any brand, but are probably more l i ke l y to fo rm around brands w i th a strong image, a r i ch and lengthy history, and threatening compet i t i on " (p. 415). B rand communi t ies can be benef ic ia l to marketers i n that they can pos i t ive ly affect brand equity and actual ize the relat ionship value o f a brand ( M u n i z and O ' G u i n n , 2001). The concept o f brand commun i t y is an important addit ion to the study o f consumer culture, however , its formal characteristics, as def ined by M u n i z and O ' G u i n n impose several l imitat ions. It is suggested that members o f a brand commun i t y t yp ica l l y are intensely devoted to a brand, oppose compet ing brands, and possess a shared consciousness. These brands often have a r i ch h istory and tend to preserve the tradit ional meaning o f the brand ( M u n i z & O ' G u i n n , 2001). The brands studied by M u n i z and O ' G u i n n (2001) may have been careful ly selected as ideal markers o f commun i t y in order to better fit the not ion o f brand communi ty . In regards to women ' s surf brands, many o f these brands have been recently added to the market and do not have an established history. Furthermore, it is anticipated that consumers o f surf brands do not focus entirely on one brand w i th such intensity dur ing each purchase dec is ion. It is 33 improbable that consumers o f one spec i f ic surf brand w o u l d fo rm a communi ty bound by their passionate devot ion to the brand. Indisputably, some brands may be preferable to both the mainstream consumer and the subculture member, but w i th regard to the construct ion o f their identities it wou ld seem product category is more important to these ind iv idua ls . Fo r the purpose o f m y research the focus o f concern is not on a part icular brand or consumers o f one brand sole ly . Therefore, an alternative f ramework is needed that better suits the objectives o f m y study. Shoham and Kah l e (1996) appl ied the concept o f consumpt ion communi t ies to the market ing o f sport services. They define a consumpt ion commun i t y as a "group o f people hav ing c o m m o n consumpt ion interests" (p. 12). They ident i f ied two types o f communi t ies : consumpt ion and communica t ion in their research. Shoham and Kah l e (1996) bel ieved that sport marketers cou ld benefit f rom understanding the med ia habits o f different consumpt ion communi t ies . Membersh ip in a communica t ion commun i t y can take the form o f spectator, v iewer, or reader. In their f ramework, consumpt ion communit ies are based on three types o f sport ing activit ies a) competi t ive sport, b) fitness sport and c) nature-related sport (Shoham & Kah l e , 1996). The researchers be l ieved that " Ind iv idua ls who be long to each o f the three communica t ion communit ies should di f fer in sport consumpt ion " (p. 12). The i r results determined that sport marketers w o u l d more l i ke l y benefit f rom targeting al l three groups o f consumpt ion communit ies i n their market ing strategies (Shoham & Kah l e , 1996). For the purposes o f m y study the consumpt ion communi t ies ident i f ied are too broad to adequately situate the sport o f surf ing in the f ramework. Consumpt ion communit ies w o u l d be advantageous for the 34 brand market ing component o f m y study, but w o u l d ignore the important characteristics o f the subculture be ing studied. Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995), i n their ethnographic work on Harley- Dav idson motorcyc le owners examined the phenomenon o f subculture f rom a consumer behavior perspective. The i r study introduced the concept o f a subculture o f consumpt ion in order, To better understand consumers and the manner in wh i ch they organize their l i ves and identities. Recogn i z i ng that consumpt ion activit ies, product categories, or even brands m a y serve as the basis for interact ion and socia l cohes ion, the concept. . .solves many problems inherent in the use o f ascribed socia l categories as devices for understanding consumer behavior, (p. 43) Th i s research is transferable to other 'consumption-oriented subcultures ' (p. 43) . Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) define a 'subculture o f consumpt ion ' , as " A dist inct ive subgroup o f society that self-selects on the basis o f a shared commitment to a particular product class, brand, or consumpt ion ac t i v i t y " (p. 43). Other characteristics inc lude an ident i f iable, h ierarchical soc ia l structure; a unique ethos, or set o f shared bel iefs and values; and unique jargons, r ituals, and modes o f symbo l i c expression (p. 43). These groups are o f interest to consumer researchers and brand marketers who want to understand the structure and ethos o f a subculture o f consumpt ion w i th the intention o f recogn iz ing their consumpt ion choices and consumer behavior, thereby potential ly creating a relat ionship w i th them. Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) propose that, 35 A subculture o f consumpt ion comes into existence as people ident i fy w i th certain objects or consumpt ion activit ies and, through those objects or activit ies, ident i fy w i th other people . . .The structure o f the subculture, wh i ch governs socia l interactions w i th in i t . . .is a direct ref lect ion o f the commitment o f ind iv idua ls to the ethos, (p. 48) Subcultures o f consumpt ion gain even more interest for marketers as subcultural styles are d i f fused to a broader group o f consumers. Hard-core or high-status members o f achieved subcultures funct ion as op in ion leaders. Subcul tura l ly created styles may be shared or imitated by a m u c h larger audience or market peripheral to the core subculture and may even become imitated and commerc ia l i zed for mass consumpt ion. (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995, p. 43) In recogni t ion o f this research, I anticipate that Canadian female surfers represent a distinct subculture o f consumpt ion. Th i s populat ion is commit ted to consuming surf- themed products. These w o m e n have a shared commitment to these products, certain brands, and overal l consumpt ion activit ies. In essence, core female surfers may make signif icant purchase decis ions in other product categories (e.g. homes, cars, travel , etc.) based on their commitment to the surf ing subculture. A n understanding o f the surf ing subculture o f consumpt ion w i l l a l low researchers and brand marketers to gain an understanding o f how surfers organize their l ives and identities. In order to practice the sport o f surf ing one must consume products, as surf ing is a 'commodity-orientated subculture ' (Wheaton, 2000, p. 261). The pr imary product essential to practice the sport o f sur f ing is a su r fboa rd , a l though it can be argued that on 36 the west coast o f Canada, a wet suit is equal ly as important. W i t h regard to the female sport consumer, certain brands may be better than others at recogn iz ing the product needs and preferences o f female surfers. A s women ident i fy themselves w i th these surf-themed products they w i l l begin to ident i fy w i th others who share their commitment to this subculture o f consumpt ion. Th i s thesis recognizes the process o f d i f fus ion as subcultural style is d i f fused to a broader group o f female consumers. The women ' s sur f wear industry has capita l ized on the c i rculat ion o f sur f style to the mainstream market and consequently, surf wear has gone through a per iod o f commerc ia l iza t ion for mass consumpt ion. Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) suggest that another characteristic o f a subculture o f consumpt ion is an identi f iable, h ierarchica l socia l structure. In their ethnographic wo rk w i th Har ley-Dav idson motorcyc le owners it was acknowledged that "Subcul tures o f consumpt ion d isp lay complex social structures that reflect the status differences o f ind iv idua l members " (p. 50). Status is based on an ind iv idua l ' s commitment to the ideo logy o f the subculture ranging f rom the most commit ted (hard core) to the less commit ted (soft core). It is expected that a s imi lar structure w i l l be ident i f iable i n the surf ing subculture o f consumpt ion. The status o f a surfer is most l i k e l y based on their commitment to the sport, various products, and their level o f experience. Wheaton (1998, 2000) i n her analysis o f the subculture o f w indsur f ing indicates that a women ' s status is based on her commitment to the sport and on w indsur f ing prowess and "not the conspicuous d isp lay o f equipment or subcultural s t y l e " (2000, p. 254). It can be argued though that the most commit ted, higher status windsurfers w o u l d also be commit ted to the windsurfers ' ideo logy o f consumpt ion i n that " T h e consumpt ion 37 o f objects -spec i f i ca l l y the equipment or kit - is central to w indsu r f i ng " (Wheaton, 2000, p. 261). Furthermore, Wheaton (2000) noted the homogenei ty in windsurfers ' v isua l appearance and she indicated that windsurfers demonstrated 'style den ia l ' w h i c h is described as " s y m b o l i c resistance to the incorporat ion o f surf style into mainstream fashion and its subsequent commerc i a l i za t i on " (p. 266). A s such, windsurfers wore and purchased branded merchandise but d idn ' t want to be seen as " b u y i n g into an i m a g e " (p. 266). However , purchasing the best equipment and c loth ing does not automat ica l ly make you an insider in the subculture o f w indsur f ing , as prof ic iency, knowledge, and commitment to the sport are fundamental ly important status symbols (Wheaton, 2000) . It is anticipated that there w i l l be v is ib le symbols to ident i fy the female surfer 's pos i t ion i n the subculture. The d isp lay o f equipment is 'not unequivocal and further analysis accessing the degree o f prof i c iency and level o f commitment in the sport w i l l determine the surfer 's actual pos i t ion in the subculture. A less core surfer cannot buy their way into the core o f the subculture; consequently, the d isp lay o f equipment is not an accurate measure o f subcultural status. Further analysis w i l l ident i fy the amount o f structure w i th in the surf ing subculture o f consumpt ion. Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) ident i fy several dominant values prevalent in the Har l ey ethos. The dominant value in the Har ley-Dav idson subculture o f consumpt ion ( H D S C ) is personal f reedom and the Har ley-Dav idson motorcyc le stands for ' l iberat ion f rom conf inement ' (p.52). The women ' s sur f subculture o f consumpt ion w i l l y i e ld a unique set o f core values and members w i l l f ind means o f expressing them through the consumpt ion o f certain brands and their usages. A s Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) suggest that, 38 Unde r l y i ng the behaviors o f a subculture o f consumpt ion is an ident i f iable ethos, that is , a set o f core values that are accepted to vary ing degrees by al l its adherents. Those values f ind expression in certain products or brands and their usages.. .commitment to key brands and product usage behavior may be he ld w i th re l ig ious intensity, even to the point o f e levat ing certain brands to the status o f icons, (p. 55) Wheaton (2000) reveals that "W indsu r f i ng , l i ke many other new sport subcultures such as skateboarding, snowboard ing, and surf ing, has an anti-mainstream compet i t ion ethos (p. 260). Another characteristic o f a subculture o f consumpt ion is the transformation o f self. Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) emphasize that the, Ind iv idua l ' s movement into and through the commitment-based status h ierarchy o f the H D S C constitutes a gradual transformation o f the self. L i k e members o f other groups that r ight ly can be cal led subcultures o f consumpt ion, such as skydivers and surfers, b ikers undergo an evolut ion o f mot ives and a deepening o f commitment as they become more invo lved in the subculture, (p. 55) A s Wheaton (2000) relates, " Spo r t i ng subcultural identity is not f i x ed ; it is a dynamic process undergoing constant t ransformat ion" (p. 258, c.f. Donne l l y & Y o u n g , 1988). In the surf ing subculture o f consumpt ion, surfers and the med ia w i l l act as models for appropriate consumpt ion behavior (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995). A s Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) recognize, " B y understanding the process o f self-transformation undergone by ind iv idua ls w i th in a subculture o f consumpt ion, a marketer can take an active role in soc ia l i z ing new members and cul t ivat ing the commitment o f current ones " 39 (p. 57). These researchers indicate that the commerc ia l i za t ion o f certain subcultural products is not uncommon and use the example o f surf styles repeatedly be ing copied into popular sw imwear to i l lustrate this point. Subcultural meanings undergo co-optation into the larger fashion system (Hebdige, 1979), so that the result ing products are acceptable to larger segments o f mainstream consumers (Kates, 1998). Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) caut ion that, Efforts to capital ize on the marketabi l i ty o f a subculture o f consumpt ion also entail risks commensurate w i th the benefits. Attempts to exploi t the subculture by broadening its appeal may have a deadly corrupt ing inf luence on the subculture itself. Part o f the psych ic benefit o f be ing a b iker [surfer] is the d ist inct ion o f be ing part o f a margina l group, (p. 58) A s a result, The market ing consequence o f this danger is that brand management is faced w i th a veritable tightrope wa lk between the conf l i c t ing needs o f two disparate but equal ly important groups o f consumers: those who give the product its myst ique and those who give the company its prof i tabi l i ty . (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995, p. 59) It is advantageous for marketers to understand the structure and ethos o f a subculture o f consumpt ion. Th i s knowledge may assist in the soc ia l izat ion o f new members, may accrue increased customer loya l ty , and may make a margina l subculture more accessible to mainstream consumers (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995). M y thesis was designed to help exp la in the surf ing subculture o f consumpt ion and the values speci f ic to members o f the women ' s surf ing subculture o f consumpt ion in Western Canada. Schouten and 40 McAlexander (1995) suggest that "As an analytic category the subculture of consumption solves nagging problems inherent in the use of other, a priori categorizations for the understanding of consumption patterns" (p. 59). Although, Schouten and McAlexander (1995) use a primarily male-dominated group of motorcycle owners to situate their theory, these findings are equally transferable to different demographic groups and consumption activities. For the purposes of my research it is anticipated that this overall framework best supports the objectives of my study. 2.7 Sport Lifestyles, Identity, and Consumption "Debates about changing contemporary Western societies have emphasized the increasingly fluid and fragmented nature of identities, suggesting that people draw their sense of identity from increasingly diverse sources, including sport and leisure lifestyles" (Wheaton, 2000, p. 254). Wheaton and Tomlinson (1998) denote in their study on windsurfing subcultures that "new sports such as windsurfing have been perceived as the product of a post-modern society and culture in which sporting and physical activity offer a basis for the generation of new and multiple identities (p. 252). Wheaton and Tomlinson (1998) suggest that "The windsurfing culture is an important site of identity creation for committed women windsurfers, an environment in which female participants negotiate status and construct feminine identities as active sport participants" (p. 259), "detached from their role as mothers and from their male partners" (p. 263), and "norms of female embodiment" (p. 269). Donnelly and Young (1988) in their research into the process of identity formation in sport subcultures, indicate that socialization into sport subcultures is viewed as, 41 A far more deliberate act o f identity construct ion. [Identity is created] through a variety o f means, the most s ignif icant o f wh i ch is mode l ing , in wh i ch , the neophyte member begins to del iberately adopt manner isms, attitudes, and styles o f dress, speech, and behavior that he or she perceives to be characteristic o f established members o f the subculture, (p. 223) Donne l l y (1981) states that " T h e pr inc ipa l psych ic reward o f subcultures is that they prov ide their members w i th an identity [e.g. I am a surfer ] " (p. 575). Consumpt ion , l i festyles, and self-identity are pro found ly l inked (Wheaton, 2000, p. 255). Meanwh i l e the concept o f ' l i fes ty le ' is used to "descr ibe the sensibi l i t ies employed by the ind iv idua l in choos ing certain commodi t ies and patterns o f consumpt ion and in art iculat ing these cultural resources as modes o f personal express ion" (Bennett, 1999, p. 607, c.f. Chaney 1994, 1996). Th i s dif ferent iat ion cou ld essential ly be construed as how " i nd i v i dua l identities are constructed and l i ved out . . . [The concept o f l i festy le regards] ind iv idua ls as active consumers whose choice reflects a self-constructed not ion o f ident i ty " (Bennett, 1999, p. 607). Furthermore, Chaney (1996) states that " L i f es ty l es therefore help to make sense o f what people do, and w h y they do it, and what do ing it means to them and others" (p. 4). In post-modernity, the relat ionship between l i festyles, self-identity, and consumpt ion is more pronounced. B o c o c k (1993) reveals that in post- modernity , goods began to get recognized as hav ing symbo l i c value, and women as consumers gained " some control over the meanings to be associated w i th consumpt ion " (p. 96). A s B o c o c k (1993) relates: The conscious chosen mean ing in most people 's l ives come much more f rom what they consume than what they produce. Consumer goods have become a 42 crucia l area for the construct ion o f meanings, identit ies, gender roles, in post - modern capi ta l ism. Commod i t i e s are not just objects o f economic exchange; they are goods to think w i th , goods to speak w i th . (p. 96) Increasingly, people are choos ing certain types o f work over others in order to be consistent w i th l i festy le values, and this is creating a shift away f rom seeing product ive status as a basis for soc ia l identity (Chaney, 1996, p. 15). A s i l lustrated by Wheaton and T o m l i n s o n (1998) in their ethnographic work on the subculture o f w indsur f ing , they suggest that to the core members "w indsu r f i ng was a 'culture o f commitment ' . W indsu r f i ng was central in their l i ves : It organized their leisure t ime, their work t ime, their choice o f career, and where they l i v e d " (p. 261). Furthermore, i n post-modernity work roles are o f less s igni f icance in p rov id ing ind iv idua ls w i th a sense o f identity than their act iv i ty as consumers (Bocock , 1993). In post-modernity, "peop le . . . increasingly tend to (re)present themselves through what they consume. W h o one is , is more and more communicated to others, as w e l l as to oneself, b y what one wears, dr ives, does dur ing periods o f leisure, and so o n " (Firat, 1994, p. 217). A s Warde (1994) outl ines, a central feature o f the socia l theories o f late moderni ty and post moderni ty is the not ion that, People define themselves through the messages they transmit to others through the goods and practices that they possess and display. They manipulate or manage appearances, and thereby create and sustain a "se l f- ident i ty" . In a wo r l d where there [are] an increasing number o f commodi t ies to act as props i n this process, identity becomes more than ever a matter o f the personal select ion o f 43 self-image. Increasingly, ind iv idua ls are ob l iged to choose their identities, (p. 878) A s such, consumpt ion has come to p lay a s ignif icant role in the process o f active identity construct ion ( Bocock , 1993), and for the communica t ion and maintenance o f self-identity (Wheaton, 2000). Baudr i l l a rd (1988) conceptual ized consumpt ion "as a process in wh i ch a purchaser o f an i tem is act ive ly engaged in t ry ing to create and mainta in a sense o f ident i ty through the d isp lay o f purchased goods " (Bocock , 1993, p. 67.) In essence, " C o n s u m p t i o n is now an active endeavor. It is the product ion and s igni f icat ion o f one 's self-image [identity]. It is h o w one constructs and (re)presents (one) se l f to obtain posit ion(s) in society and mainta in l i v e l i h o o d " (Firat, 1994, p. 217). "Consumpt i on , then, offers a sense o f control over communa l meanings o f onese l f and socia l relations, it offers a means o f contro l l ing to some extent the context o f everyday l i f e " (F iske, 1989, p. 25). Y o u t h consume speci f ic products i n the sports marketplace in order to produce their self-image; and thereby, create a self-identity. Through manipulat ion and management o f appearances, youth represent themselves in a unique manner. The mode in wh i ch youth are perce ived by others is central to this identity construct ion. Brands ut i l ize logos to differentiate themselves f rom other products, and youth use branded goods to d ist inguish themselves f rom other youth. The consumpt ion o f ensembles o f activit ies and/or products essential ly creates an identity wh i ch gets transmitted to others, and identities are mal leable and var ied and can change. " W h e n consumers become conscious o f the necessity to cultivate var ied self-images, they begin to perceive 44 themselves as marketable items and their consumpt ion becomes a product ive means for (re)production o f selves (self-images)" (Firat, 1994, p. 221). 2.8 Market Trends: Women in the Sport Marketplace It is w ide l y documented that one o f the most signif icant trends in sport and w i th in the sport marketplace is the dramatic rise and inf luence o f women as sport consumers (Bradish, Lathrop, & Sedgwick , 2001 ; B ranch , 1995; Lough , 1996; Shoham, Rose, K r o p p , & Kah le , 1997; Sparks & Westgate, 2002 ; Sutton & Wat l ington , 1994). Th i s increased prevalence o f female consumers in the sport marketplace and o f women ' s sports in general has been attributed to a number o f factors inc lud ing : increased opportunit ies for females as sport participants at al l levels o f sport, an increase i n the number o f female sport spectators, a gradual shift toward cultural acceptance o f females in sport settings, enhanced med ia interest in women ' s sport, the introduct ion o f qual i ty sport products designed spec i f i ca l l y for women , and increased dec is ion-making and purchasing power o f women . In addit ion, there is a perception that many male- dominated sport markets are now saturated and stagnant wh i l e w o m e n have increased their consumpt ion o f sport and sport-related products and account for an increasing share o f the sport consumpt ion dol lar (Bradish et a l . , 2001 ; B ranch , 1995; Sutton & Wat l ington, 1994). In many different realms o f sport, women are be ing recognized as a distinct and power fu l market segment. W o m e n have been sport participants and spectators for quite some t ime however, the manner in wh i ch w o m e n are v iewed by sport marketers and advertisers as a desirable target market is changing (Branch, 1995). " W o m e n are now be ing v iewed as a unique and grow ing target market segment, a group 45 to be recognized and du ly considered when sport property-rights holders and marketers begin del iberat ing their product 's pos i t ion and concept " (Branch, p. 9). In the midst o f these recent market trends, young women have emerged as an important sub-segment for sport, sport-related products, and sport marketers, and may prov ide growth for tradit ional ly male-oriented companies and industries (Shoham et a l . , 1997). The demographic segment ident i f ied as Generat ion Y and understood as ch i ldren o f the baby boomers and born after 1978 comprises today 's pre-teen and teens. Th i s generation is regarded as the fastest g row ing demographic group on the continent (Bradish et a l . , 2001) , and is rac ia l l y diverse (Neuborne, 1992). In Canada alone, Generat ion Y has been ident i f ied as a group that represents almost $ 1.4 b i l l i o n worth o f " rea l spending p o w e r " both i n terms o f disposable income and in terms o f eventual inherited weal th (Brad ish et a l . , 2001 , p. 20 ; c . f , Steinberg, 1998). W i t h i n this segment it is important to note that female pre-teens and teens have emerged as dist inct consumers. Sport ing good manufacturers are beg inn ing to recognize the market potential o f this prev ious ly unexplored demographic. Th i s generation has an impact on major purchase decis ions w i th in their household, i n addit ion to dec id ing how to spend their o w n money (Bradish et a l . , 2001) . Those companies who choose to ignore the buy ing power o f this generation w i l l threaten the very future o f their brands. U n l i k e , Generat ion X that wasn ' t large enough to threaten boomer brands, Generat ion Y , born between 1979 and 1994, is substantial enough to launch r i va l brands that can jeopardize the success and/or existence o f boomer brand names. Th i s generation grew up in a media-saturated, brand conscious wor ld , and respond to ads di f ferent ly than their parents (Neuborne, 1999). Th i s generation w i l l be increas ingly brand loya l to those companies that craft products and 46 pitches that are more real ist ic and more representative o f their values. In a matter o f a few years, this generation w i l l be buy ing their first cars, homes, and mutual funds. The buy ing habits they d isp lay today w i l l lead them into their first key purchases o f young adulthood (Neuborne, 1999). The youth demographic has tremendous consumer impact and buy ing power , and forward-thinking companies w i l l tend to form relat ionships w i th these consumers now, in order to remain compet i t ive i n the future. W h i l e much research has examined the baby-boom and Generat ion X niche markets, re lat ively few studies have examined the Generat ion Y female sport consumer (Bradish et a l . , 2001). A s Steinberg (1998) acknowledges, " F o r a l l the money and effort be ing poured into the market, there remains an awfu l symmetry . . .as a generation [they are] skept ical , media-savvy and almost preposterously wel l- informed about the wo r l d around them, yet we k n o w very l itt le about t h e m " (p. 61). These recent changes i n the sport marketplace il lustrates the need for further research w i th this demographic . A c co rd i ng l y , B rad ish , Lathrop and Sedgwick (2001) publ ished a study that examines the female pre-teen and teen as a distinct segment o f the sport marketplace. Th i s study drew its sample f rom a group o f female participants who attended an elite sport camp that p r imar i l y offered elite-level basketbal l and vo l l eyba l l . "Subjects were surveyed to examine consumer and psychosoc ia l characteristics relative to socia l and cultural inf luences, psycho log ica l and personal-trait behaviors, and consumer behavior and market ing preferences speci f ic to the sport marketplace in general and the sport ing good marketplace i n part icu lar " (Bradish et a l . , p. 19). Th i s sample reported its most, frequent sport purchases to be c loth ing (55 .4% ) , fo l lowed by shoes (34 .9% ) and equipment (4 .8%) . These ind iv idua ls also v iewed themselves as h i gh l y engaged i n their 47 own sport participation and consumer decisions. With regard to choice of name brand and style of sport product, self was the greatest influence (53.5%), followed by mother (8.2%) and female friends (6.1%). This analysis "demonstrates the strength and growth of female sport consumers as sport-product decision makers and spenders, and signals their identification as a key niche or target market segment within the sport marketplace" (Bradish et a l , p. 19). These findings may not be transferable to other consumer groups; however, this research is beneficial to sport marketers by providing insight into this virtually untapped market segment. Sport marketers will benefit with an improved understanding of generational differences in the women's sport market. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the need for future research focusing on the female sport consumer in other realms of sport and within the context of sport subcultures to form a broader understanding of this consumer group. "Sporting good manufacturers understanding these consumer preferences is crucial to making more informed decisions about their sport consumers to sustain further long-term organization success" (p. 20). Bradish, Lathrop, and Sedgwick (2001) suggest that, The Generation Y female sport consumer is elite and informed, possessing a clear articulation of needs and consumer preferences. When one considers the synergistic effect of the rising phenomenon of women's sports and the echo-boom generation, the pre-teen/teen female may well be one of the most influential markets of the future, (p. 23) Combining these two trends of women as sport consumers and the buying power of Generation Y has created a manifold of sport marketing opportunities. Women are no 48 longer treated as an afterthought in the minds o f sport marketers, promoters, and corporate advertisers as marketers beg in to recognize the potential f inancia l inf luence o f this sector (Bradish et a l , 2001). " A s a consumer group, women now possess the market ing potential to make a s ignif icant impact upon the bottom l ine o f consumer and spectator sport organizat ions that are w i l l i n g to consider these obv ious trends i n the sport marketp lace" (Branch, 1995, p. 10). Th i s demographic shift in the sport marketplace is causing sport marketers to adjust their strategies in hopes o f obta in ing the support o f this . segment. It is suggested that in order to gain the support o f this generation, marketers must make their pitches more realist ic, and make their campaigns more loca l and subtle (Neuborne, 1999). In order to secure brand loya l ty w i th the female sport consumer who has a heightened sensit iv i ty to socia l issues and corporate responsibi l i ty , it is also cautioned that marketers must change the tone i n w h i c h they speak to w o m e n (Sutton & Wat l ington , 1994). B rand loya l ty is an important concept for brand marketers to consider when introducing or expanding their brands into the women ' s sport marketplace. B rand loya l ty def ined by A a k e r (1991) is the ab i l i ty to attract and retain customers. B rand loya l ty is one o f four measures o f brand equity def ined b y Ke l l e r (1998) as "marke t ing effects uniquely attributable to the b r and " (p. 42) , and is one component used to "[evaluate] the relative strength o f consumer brands" (G ladden, M i l n e , and Sutton, 1998, p. 1). The emphasis i n establ ishing brand equity is on customer satisfaction. Customer loya l ty is cr i t ical to brand marketers and " to mainta in ing prof i tabi l i ty because a loya l customer base provides a prof i t s t ream" (p. 3). A l t hough al l four components: perceived qual i ty , brand awareness, brand associat ion, and brand loya l ty contribute to brand equity, the 49 concept o f brand loya l ty w i l l be ident i f ied as a cr i t ical element o f market ing strategies targeting the female sport consumer. A brand i tse l f can be defined as " A name, term, s ign, symbo l , or combinat ion o f them w h i c h is intended to ident i fy the goods and services o f one seller or group o f sellers and to differentiate them from those o f compet i tors " (Kot ler , 1991, p. 442). B rand representatives o f surf brands are an a pr ior i group in m y interviews to document the growth o f women ' s surf ing and to gain an understanding o f the women ' s surf wear industry f rom the perspective o f the brand creators. One o f the most effective strategies in market ing sport and sport products to women is l i ke l y to be l i festy le market ing (Sutton & Wat l ington , 1994). L i fes ty le market ing is a "strategy for se iz ing the concept o f a market accord ing to its most meaningfu l recurrent patterns o f attitudes and activit ies, and subsequently ta i lor ing products and their promot ional strategies to fit these patterns" (p. 12). In order for a company to ga in the long-term commitment o f the women ' s sport market, it is essential for marketers to research female consumers and their l i festyles i n order " to create products that f i l l a niche for that [particular] market " (p. 13). A s such, Compan ies and sponsors seeking to target and reach the female consumer must demonstrate the abi l i ty to not on l y understand the l i festyles and interests o f women , but to effect ively communicate the image and direct ion o f the company as compat ib le w i th that l i festy le and image. (Sutton & Wat l ington , p. 11; c . f , H o w e l l , 1993) In essence, the key for sport organizat ions and sport-related businesses is i n the "des ign o f strategies that appeal to a woman ' s sensit ivit ies toward qual i ty, pr ice value(s), feel ings, and emotional we l l -be ing" (Branch, 1995, p. 12). 50 The growth o f the surf ing industry has been impacted by the support and expansion o f women ' s surf brands. A concept that is important to the growth o f the women ' s surf industry is 'n iche market ing ' . A c c o r d i n g to Shani (1997), niche market ing " i s a bottom up approach. . .The marketer starts b y ident i fy ing the needs o f few customers (niche in the market) and gradual ly bu i lds up a customer base large enough to create a market niche (a niche in the market that has a suff ic ient s ize to pursue) " (p. 10). A niche can start w i th a core group o f customers who are invo lved in a unique sport act iv i ty . . . A niche strategy requires the organizat ion to focus on its core (best) customers. . .W i th such a re lat ive ly smal l customer base, companies must bu i l d long-term relationships to create a very loya l group o f customers, (p. 11) The methodology chosen for this study identif ies these market ing issues and should result in an improved understanding o f h o w important the core women surfers are to the brand manufacturer 's customer base. Other market ing strategies w i l l l i ke l y be implemented by brand manufacturers now that a recognizable niche has spread to a larger segment o f female consumers o f surf wear. These different market ing strategies w i l l be ident i f ied and described i n further detai l later pending their importance to the interviewees i n this research. W o m e n ' s surf ing in effect comprises a n iche market w i th in the sport o f sur f ing and w i th in the overal l f ramework o f women ' s consumer markets. 51 CHAPTER III - METHODOLOGY Rationale This thesis bui lds on the ethnographic research conducted by Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) and Wheaton (2000), and fo l lowed a s imi lar ethnographic design for co l lec t ing in format ion us ing participant observat ion and interviews. The study design encompassed three different populat ions: women surfers, retailers, and Canadian representatives o f sur f brand manufacturers. In each case the impetus was on ga in ing an understanding o f the women ' s surf scene and the surf wear industry f rom the perspective o f each respective group. In this way, it was anticipated that a mult i-d imensional v i ew wou ld be obtained and the ma in objectives o f the study wou ld be met: i) to cr i t i ca l l y examine h o w the market ing o f surf products affects surf ing l i festyles and product consumpt ion, and i i ) to assess how surf l i festyles and products, in turn, become di f fused to a larger populat ion o f young women and gir ls . A data co l lec t ion strategy was developed that encompassed mul t ip le sources o f informat ion inc lud ing tape-recorded interviews, photographs, f ie ld notes, interv iew notes and document analysis. One-to-one, semi-structured interviews were planned to be conducted in person or v i a the telephone. Th i s approach "combine(s ) un i formi ty o f quest ioning w i th openness to new in fo rmat ion " (Sparks and Westgate, 2002, p. 65), and was considered opt imal for the k inds o f in format ion that were anticipated. In particular, since on ly l im i ted research had been done on women ' s surf ing, "openness to new in fo rmat ion " was seen as a cr i t ical condi t ion for the interviews. In addit ion to tape- recording, data co l lec t ion inc luded tak ing photographs, f ie ld notes and interv iew notes. F ie ld notes were intended to record any in format ion that w o u l d enable a better understanding o f the women ' s surf ing subculture and the surf wear industry, i nc lud ing 52 informat ion about surf ing locales, retail store lay-out and product d isp lay space, and social relat ional features such as people 's interactions, dress codes, speech and mannerisms. A descr ipt ion o f who was present, what was happening, and where the observation took place was inc luded in the note-taking protocol (Neutens and Rub inson , 1997). Three interv iew guides were developed (see Append ix IV ) to accommodate the three populat ions. The questions were c o m m o n across the guides, and were designed to el ic it discussions'about surf ing identit ies, the surf ing l i festy le, and the construct ion o f identity through brand consumpt ion, as we l l as perceptions o f the surf wear industry, branding, and market ing. In this way, the interviews were expected to prov ide data appropriate to the research questions o f the study. The length o f the interv iews was set at 30 to 90 minutes. The interviews were intended to be in formal and interviewees w o u l d be encouraged to be spontaneous and interactive, focus ing on their ind iv idua l perceptions, an approach that has been termed a "conversat ion w i th a purpose" (see Hammers ley and A t k i n s o n , 1995). For this reason, use o f an audio-recorder was planned in order to faci l itate this process. A data analysis strategy was also developed. Th is invo lved first t ranscr ib ing the f ie ld notes and audio-recordings o f interviews, then rev iew ing the transcripts for major themes and sub-themes w i th in the context o f the research questions for the study f o l l ow ing an induct ive approach. The idea was to group data together and look for s imi lar i t ies and differences across the responses, and thereby bu i l d the key themes f rom the bottom up (Palys, 1997). 53 Sample The sampl ing method used for the study was purposive sampl ing . A s Palys (1997) exp la in , purposive sampl ing is used when "peop le or locat ions are intent ional ly sought because they meet some criter ia for inc lus ion in the s tudy" (p. 137). Fo r the purposes o f this study, I recognized three a pr ior i groups: surfers, surf wear retailers, and Canadian surf brand representatives. F i f teen ind iv idua ls f rom these three target populat ions were interv iewed 1) women surfers (n=5), 2) surf wear retailers (n=5), and 3) Canadian surf brand representatives (n=5). I sent each potential participant a recruitment letter (see A p p e n d i x II) and a consent fo rm (see A p p e n d i x III) i nv i t ing their part ic ipat ion in this study. T w o female surfers were recruited f rom a West Coast surf ing commun i t y through a loca l surf school for women-only. The owner o f the surf school was one o f the interview participants. The surf school was ident i f ied f rom the W o r l d W i d e Web . Three addit ional surfers were recruited through conversations w i th other surfers and through recommendat ions f rom surf industry professionals. These surfers were selected on the basis o f their pos i t ion ing in the surf ing subculture, that is, their age, and level/type o f subcultural involvement . F i ve surf wear retailers were selected f rom company web sites and through word o f mouth . I recruited retailers in the Vancouver L o w e r M a i n l a n d who sel l sur f merchandise and have a g i r l s ' designated area at their store. Furthermore, I recruited Canad ian surf brand representatives who represent large market surf brands for females. These representatives were recruited in the same manner the retailers were and they had the authority to speak on the beha l f o f the brand manufacturers. 54 All participants were over the British Columbia age of majority and were able to give consent for themselves. Individuals who consented to participate were interviewed by Lisa Mercer at the location of their home, office, or an agreed upon location. In the event that a face-to-face interview was not feasible, a telephone interview was arranged. Ethical Considerations For this research, I received ethics approval on March 27, 2003 from the University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board (see Appendix I). This research posed minimal potential risks to the participants of this study. Subjects may have felt uncomfortable being interviewed or talking in the presence of a tape- recorder. The interviews took place in a comfortable environment chosen at the interviewee's discretion to minimize any discomfort. Furthermore, no proprietary or revealing 'inside' information was requested that could threaten their job or business. Additionally, participants were given the option to refuse to answer any particular questions during the interview process, and were able to withdraw from the interview and or study at any time without question. Strict confidentiality was maintained and findings were summarized anonymously. Access to the data was restricted to the Principal Investigator, Dr. Robert Sparks, and the Co-investigator, Lisa Mercer, who reviewed their responsibilities for confidentiality and identified a locking file cabinet, computer system and laboratory procedures for insuring confidentiality. CHAPTER IV - RESULTS Th is chapter focuses on the ma in f indings o f m y ethnographic inqu i ry into the women ' s surf culture i n Western Canada, and the market ing activit ies o f the Canad ian surf wear industry. The research was undertaken to ident i fy key factors that have affected the development o f women ' s surf ing i n Western Canada and to add to our understanding o f the interplay o f subcultures and market ing i n Canadian consumer culture. Three inter-related and unique groups were studied: women surfers, retailers, Canad ian surf brand representatives. Data Collection and Analysis Interviews Semi-structured interviews were conducted w i th 5 women surfers, 5 sur f wear retailers, and 5 Canad ian surf brand representatives. O f the surf wear retailers interv iewed, four were male and one was female. T w o o f the retail spaces were located i n No r th Vancouve r and three were located i n Vancouver . Three o f the stores had an adjacent women ' s store w i th a separate store entrance. T w o o f the stores d i v ided their space between women ' s and men 's product offer ings. Three o f the stores were suppliers o f other board sports equipment, and two stores carried str ict ly beach wear and surf fashions. A l l o f the retailers had women m a k i n g the buy ing decis ions for the women ' s products i n the store. Three o f the surf brand representatives who were interv iewed were female and two were male. T w o o f the representatives were based i n Whis t le r ; two resided i n Vancouver , and one i n the L o w e r M a i n l a n d . Four o f the brands were surf brands and one was a l i festy le brand. A s can be expected, a l l the surfers interv iewed 56 were female. T w o o f the surfers l i ved in To f i no , and three resided i n the Greater Vancouver area. A l l f ive o f the participants had been surf ing for a m i n i m u m o f 5 years. In al l cases, pseudonyms are used throughout the thesis to protect the identities o f the study participants. Tables 1, 2, and 3 describe the interv iew participants and the context o f the interviews. These interviews were conducted between June 1 1 t h , 2003 and September 5 t h , 2003 and ranged in duration f rom 30 to 90 minutes. A l l three groups were interv iewed according to their ava i lab i l i ty and as a result it was not uncommon to meet w i th a retailer and a surf brand representative on the same day. Ten o f the interviews were conducted face-to-face in the greater Vancouver area. These interviews took place at the part ic ipant 's of f ice or place o f business (six) or at a neutral locat ion such as a coffee shop or outdoors (four). F i v e interviews were conducted v i a telephone because o f the geographic locat ion o f the participants or their conf l i c t ing work commitments . T w o o f the telephone interviews were conducted w i th surf instructors in To f i no and three o f them were w i th Canadian surf brand representatives, two were based out o f Whis t le r , and one in Vancouver . T a b l e 1 S u r f B r a n d Re ta i l e r s Identifiers Gender Interview Format Store Loca t ion Store Layout Retai ler #1 M a l e Person to Person No r th Vancouve r W o m e n ' s and men 's ( R - l , D a n ) Retai ler #2 M a l e Person to Person Vancouver speci f ic stores * W o m e n ' s speci f ic store (R-2, Phi l ) Retai ler #3 M a l e Person to Person N o r t h Vancouver w i th some men 's product W o m e n ' s and men 's (R-3, Co l i n ) Retai ler #4 M a l e Person to Person Vancouve r speci f ic stores W o m e n ' s and men 's (R-4, Scott) Retai ler #5 Female Person to Person Vancouver spec i f ic stores * W o m e n ' s and men 's (R-5, Suzy) shared store *Note : These stores were jo ined but had different store names and entrances. 57 Table 2 Canadian Surf Brand Representatives Identifiers Gender Interview Format Representatives Brands Target Locat ion Identity Market B rand M a l e Person to Person Vancouver - Roots i n A l l ages Representative #1 Fashion Exchange Sur f ing ( B- l , L i a m ) Brand M a l e Te lephone Interview Whis t ler Roots i n 13-18 year Representative #2 Sur f ing olds (B-2,Jason) Brand Female Person to Person L o w e r M a i n l a n d L i fes ty le 10-22 year Representative #3 Brand olds (B-3, Jacky) Brand Female Telephone Interview Vancouver Roots in 14-25 year Representative #4 Sur f ing olds (B-4, Tr ish) B rand Female Telephone Interview Whis t le r Roots i n 16-28 year Representative $5 Sur f ing olds (B-5, Leanne) Table 3 Women Surfers Identifiers H o m e Locat ion Interview Format Years Sur f ing Surfer #1 To f ino Telephone Interview 16 years ( S - l , Kend ra ) Surfer #2 Vancouve r Person to Person 5 years (S-2, Mar ley ) Surfer # 3 Vancouver Person to Person 8.5 years (S-3, Brooke) Surfer # 4 To f ino Telephone Interview 5.5 years (S-4, A n n ) Surfer #5 Vancouver Person to Person 7 years (S-5, Stephanie) Note : The number o f years surf ing reflects the amount recorded at the t ime o f the interview. The interv iew questions had 9 to 12 ma in probes that helped guide the interviews (see A p p e n d i x IV) . The ma in questions often generated further discussion. Some o f the responses over lapped w i th other questions in the interview guide wh i l e , other responses were short and required considerable probing. The participants responded quite dif ferent ly and the f l ow and tone o f the interviews can be seen in their comments wh i ch I 58 have prov ided to help i l lustrate the f indings. A l l interviews, both face-to-face and b y telephone, were audio taped and then transcribed into a M ic roso f t W o r d ™ computer f i le . Data analysis software was not used. D u e to the fragmented nature o f the responses, the interviews were later re-transcribed to ensure their accuracy. The data analysis entai led rev iew ing the transcripts for major themes and sub-themes w i th in the context o f the major research questions for the study. The transcripts were rev iewed many times and s imi lar responses were organized into potential categories. These categories were thoroughly rev iewed and cross-compared and were further organized into nine key areas. The interview responses were arranged into these nine areas and passages were selected that were representative o f the k i nd o f statements that were made. The quotes and comments made dur ing the course o f the interviews are representative o f the grammar and word choice ut i l ized in context in the conversations and discussions that took place. Participant/Non-Participant Observation The participant/non-participant observat ion component o f the study invo lved three separate trips to To f i no dur ing the per iod o f m y data co l lect ion. These trips were organized i n order to grasp a clear understanding o f the women ' s surf scene in Western Canada and to gain access to women surfers. The first trip to To f i no took place on June 13 t h - 1 5 t h , 2003 dur ing wh i ch I was a spectator at the Roxy/Qu iks i l ve r Summer Sur f Jam. Th i s event enabled me to observe the presence o f media , sponsors, spectators, and the competi t ive surf scene in Canada. Th i s trip also invo lved observations at surf breaks, surf stores, and at surf schools in order to gain an understanding o f the loca l surf culture. th th The next trip took place f rom August 7 -12 , 2003 and invo lved v is i t ing Ucluelet , L o n g 59 Beach, and numerous surf businesses. I had several in formal conversations w i th women surfers and made contact w i th surf instructors and surf school participants for future conversations and interviews. The last trip fo l l owed m y last formal interv iew and took place f rom September 12-14 t h , 2003 dur ing wh i ch I was an active participant at the R o x y Sur f Sister Su r f C a m p . Several in formal conversations occurred w i th camp participants and instructors and I recorded numerous f ie ld notes. Photographs and Field Notes Photographs were ut i l ized to capture the l i ved experience and enable me to reflect on the scene, the styles, who was there, and what was happening. F i e ld notes were used to record observations o f the surf scene, and the surf wear industry. Demograph ic informat ion about the participants was recorded i n addit ion to what occurred, the m o o d and tone o f the event and the t ime and locat ion o f the observation. The f ie ld notes often fo l lowed visits to retail stores and depicted the store lay-out and product d isp lay space. Soc ia l relat ional features were recorded such as people 's interactions, dress codes, speech and mannerisms. The demographics o f the consumers and the employees that were present in the store were inc luded i n the notes. The f ie ld notes were later transcribed into a M i c roso f t W o r d ™ computer f i le for analysis. Surf Media Dur ing the per iod o f m y data co l lec t ion I took it upon myse l f to become fami l iar w i th publ icat ions targeting surfers as we l l as, act ion sport participants. Th i s enabled me to develop an appreciat ion o f the coverage o f women surfers and the placement o f 60 women surfers in advertisements and the manner in which they were displayed. Furthermore, my continued review of surfing media also enabled me to stay up to date on trends in the surf wear industry and better prepare myself for my conversations and interviews with surfers and surf industry representatives. Early on, it was evident that Surf Snow Skate Gi r l (SG) was the voice for North American women involved in board sports. Aside from reviewing publications, I viewed surf movies and documentaries in order to visualize the trends that were occurring in surfing globally and to gain an understanding of the increased representation of women in surf media. Through the analysis of surfing websites, I was also able to document some of the changes that were occurring in Canadian surfing and gain a means of contacting potential participants for my study. Organization of the Chapter The chapter is organized in nine sections that reflect the nine key conditions that were found during the analysis: (1) the surf scene in British Columbia; (2) factors fueling the growth of Canadian women's surfing; (3) the appeal of the surf culture; (4) evidence of consumption; (5) evidence of subcultural features and conditions; (6) surfing is a 'commodity-orientated subculture'; (7) link between identity, lifestyles, and consumption; (8) diffusion of surf lifestyles and products into the mainstream; and (9) role of media in the diffusion of surf lifestyles. 61 4.1 The Surf Scene in British Columbia D u r i n g data co l lec t ion , I used photographs and f ie ld notes to document the Canadian surf scene as I personal ly encountered it. The f o l l ow ing excerpt f rom m y f ie ld notes at the To f i no Summer Sur f Jam (2003), help to il lustrate the subject o f the study, and prov ide a useful point o f departure for summar iz ing m y f indings. E v e n in the presence o f compet i t ion and stormy condit ions the scene at the 2003 Roxy/Qu iks i l ve r Sur f Jam is m e l l o w and relaxed. The wa rm summer temperatures that the Coast experienced al l week pr ior to the contest dissipated qu i ck l y enough to produce a winter s ize swel l the first day o f compet i t ion. Equa l l y impressive is the number o f spectators who braved w ind squal ls and rain to watch loca l surfers battle it out i n the water. N o t to ment ion the determinat ion o f the w o m e n surfers who carried their l ong boards over their heads for nearly a m i l e down the gravel , tree-lined path that was the ma in access point to C o x Bay . A qu ick glance down the beach at C o x B a y showcases the uniqueness o f our loca l surf culture. A l t h o u g h there are several hundred spectators present the vast beach remains sparsely populated. The spectators are predominant ly pre-teen to late 30s and the ratio o f guys: gir ls are roughly 3: 2. The spectators adorn their winter fleeces and toques w i th f l ip f lops. Surrounded by spectacular West Coast wi lderness people find comfort against stumps, i n camp chairs, seated on blankets, or on the dampened sand. Some spectators arrive in groups, others come as couples, a few arrive alone on b ikes , or w i th their ch i ldren and/or their dogs. Numerous sponsorship tents l ined the beach and were one o f the on l y v i s ib le signs that a commerc ia l i zed event was to be taking place. The final day 62 brought about clear skies, l ight offshore w inds and consistent 4-5 foot waves and exc i t ing compet i t ion. The sunshine brought out sunglasses and capris and the attention o f reporters. Compet i tors had to l isten careful ly as the judges ' horn and voices were weakened by the w i n d and the music . It was apparent that there were some loca l favorites and an ongo ing r i va l ry between the B ruhw i l e r boys (Sepp and Raph) and Peter Devr ies for the men ' s Pro title and $2000 in pr ize money, more important ly re-aff i rming one's pos i t ion in Canadian surf ing. Th i s event drew over 120 contestants f rom as far as Aus t ra l i a , M e x i c o and B r a z i l , Ca l i fo rn i a , and around B C and a l lowed Canad ian surfers to showcase their sk i l l s against an international field. The men 's pro title was won by To f i no loca l Sepp B ruhw i l e r and the women ' s pro title was g iven to R o x y pro rider T o r i A l exander o f Ca l i f o rn i a over loca l favorite Cather ine Bruhwi ler-Temple . The uniqueness o f these condit ions dur ing surf ing compet i t ion enabled me as a researcher to fu l l y appreciate the sentiments that were expressed in the interviews. Several characteristics w i l l be expanded upon in order to ef fect ive ly i l lustrate the surf scene in Canada. A l t hough the surf wear industry draws a f o l l o w i n g o f pre-teens and teens, the actual surf scene i n Canada is a bit older w i th most o f the women in their 20s and 30s. There are factors that contribute to this as ident i f ied by the f o l l o w i n g surf retai ler 's comments, " Y o u have to have a j ob . Y o u have to work to pay for the stuff and go over there [Tof ino] . . . .So the demographic is st i l l pretty much real ly 18 to early 20s to early 30s and o lde r " ( R - l , Dan) . M y o w n observations supported this although the populat ion 63 o f those actual ly sur f ing ranged considerably and var ied depending on such factors as tour ism and in the number o f fami l ies v i s i t ing the area, and thereby, learning to surf. Throughout the interviews it was w ide l y suggested that women are more accepted in Canada 's waters. For example, a loca l retailer suggested, "I th ink its probably f r iendl ier . . .We ' re just more accepting as Canad ians " (R-2, Ph i l ) . A l t h o u g h women surfers were thought to be mak ing advances g loba l ly , a surf retai ler 's comments documented perceived pressures at other surf ing locat ions: In Ca l i f o rn i a there is definite barriers g iven the populat ion pressure on the surf breaks. A g i r l is go ing to feel more int imidated, there is a lot o f jos t l ing and a lot o f mach ismo f l y i ng around out in the l ine up just to catch waves. It is a l im i ted resource [for] the number o f waves that come in . Y o u k n o w you [have] to k ind o f fight for them sort o f speak. (R-4, Scott) In contrast, the surf scene i n B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a is more re laxed and is more accessible for w o m e n as suggested by the f o l l ow ing : To f i no i n part icular is very user f r iend ly . . ..The who le loca l i sm th ing . . .1 think i t 's overb lown actually. The th ing about To f ino that's great [is that] i t 's just so w ide open . . .The new guys have no business be ing on the good peak. They can go take the c rummy waves. . ..as long as they [have] their wits about them. (R-2, Phi l ) These comments do suggest that there is a peck ing order in the water that w i l l be further expanded upon. S imi l a r l y , it supports a hierarchy based on abi l i ty i n the water, " o n the bigger days . . .not just gir ls but [having] new people i n the water does get dangerous, and it does sort o f c l og things up and waste waves when they are sort o f a f inite resource" (R-2, Ph i l ) . If any terr i tor ia l ism occurred on Vancouve r Island, it wou ld be more evident i n the surf areas o f Sombr io and Jordan River . A l t hough there is a vast coastl ine on B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a ' s west coast, a lot o f it is not accessible. One surfer attests that, " S o m b r i o is most ly male dominated and Sombr io w o u l d be closer to the k i nd o f Ca l i f o rn i a scenes that you w o u l d read about where people get into fights and they are very protective over waves, [and are] very terr i tor ia l " (S-3, B rooke ) . B rooke remembered back to her first experience surf ing Sombr io and recal led the sentiments expressed by one o f the c lubbies (regular male surfers) out in the water: He said something to the effect o f 'just so you k n o w the rules here ' . It was an int imidat ion factor. I understood it as 'stay out o f m y way. I don ' t real ly care what you do out here but stay out o f m y way. If you get on m y wave I w i l l not be happy ' . (S-3, B rooke ) The scene i n Canada is unique on many levels as the f o l l o w i n g surfer expla ined: Canada is very different because o f temperature. The wetsuit real ly separates people who rea l ly want to surf to people who are just hanging out in the water.. .The surf culture in Canada I th ink is different i n that its more hard core, more dirty, more grungy. People w i th not a lot o f money that are l i v i n g i n trailers or r id ing their b ikes to the beach w i th their surfboard attached to their b ikes but do ing it in real ly co ld , dark, wet weather. (S-2, Mar ley ) Another surfer commented on the d ivers i ty o f Canada 's surf culture: 65 If you pu l l up i n the park ing lot [at L o n g Beach] and see the people who are out there actual ly surf ing. Y o u w i l l see a lot o f people w i th b ikes , people w i th o ld V o l k s w a g e n vans w i th the pool noodles w i th the ny lon straps ho ld ing the surfboards down ; but then you w i l l see people who have new Vo lkswagens and their Thu le r oo f rack or their Y a k i m a surf racks. I think the sport has something to offer a l l types and you do see al l types. (S-5, Stephanie) Another surfer commented that: " cond i t ions are pretty grue l ing in winter. The weather and water condit ions add to the experience. Th i s scene is so new to Canada.. .The surf scene i n Canada is more m e l l o w and accepting than other parts o f the w o r l d " ( S - l , Kend ra ) . W i t h regards to women ' s representation i n the water, a surf brand representative had several conversations w i th key shops in To f ino to determine the number o f women actual ly surf ing. The f o l l ow ing highl ights his f indings: The percentage o f women surfers is h igher than before compared to men. There [are] a higher percentage o f w o m e n surf ing in To f ino relative to other parts o f the wor ld . M o r e Canadian women who want to get active. Last few years growth o f surf ing i n the wor ld has increased. There [are] more women surf ing. ( B - l , L i am) Another brand representative acknowledged that there are more men surf ing as we l l , "There is def in i te ly a growth in everyone's interest in surf ing not just f rom women but def in i te ly a growth in general. Sur f ing has become a very popular sport" (B-2, Jason). However , there is increased representation o f women in the water and a loca l surfer said that she felt that "the more even m i x between males and females w i l l stick a round" (S-3, Brooke) . 66 4.2 Factors Fueling the Growth of Canadian Women's Surfing The number o f women surf ing is reported to be increasing i n Canada and there has been a noticeable increase g lobal ly . A l l the interviewees i n this study commented on this growth. Fo r example, one interviewee who started surf ing in 1987, we l l before To f ino was k n o w n as a surf ing destination, remarked: W h e n I started surf ing there were l i ke maybe two women that surfed in To f i no . N o w there are a group o f gir ls who l i ve and work here for the last 5 to 10 years and stay to surf. O n any g iven day there cou ld be more women than men in the water at To f i no . (S-1, Kendra) To f i no is not on ly a surf ing dest inat ion but it is also home to a g row ing number o f women surfers, and wi th the rise in popular i ty o f women ' s surf ing, T o f i n o has seen continued growth i n the number o f women who surf. A l s o , more women appear to be attracted to To f i no compared to other wor ldw ide surf ing destinations and there is a perception the area cou ld st i l l see more growth because, as one put it, there is " a lot more room for growth here " (S-4, Ann ) . Several factors can be credited for the growth o f women ' s surf ing i n Canada as reported in the interviews. In no part icular order, they were: (i) changes in wetsuit technology; (ii) crossover appeal f rom skateboarding and snowboard ing; ( i i i ) cultural and style inf luences f rom Ca l i f o rn i a ; ( iv) increased demand for women ' s surf wear and surf fashions; (v) the growth o f compet i t ive surf ing in B C ; (vi) increased med ia exposure o f Canadian women ' s sur f ing; (v i i ) development o f Canadian surf businesses; and (v i i i ) women ' s increased comfort w i th the identity o f 'be ing a surfer ' . I explore each o f these in turn. 67 /. Changes in wetsuit technology In wa rm water environments, it has been suggested that, "one i tem o f c loth ing, more than any other... [had a] posi t ive inf luence on women ' s surf ing - the female boardshort " (Booth , 2001 , p. 13). A s might be expected, however , a recurr ing theme in the interviews I conducted was that advancements i n wetsuit technology and des ign were more cr i t ica l i n opening up the sport to co ld water surfers and to Canadian women . It was the wetsuit that t ruly " a l l o w e d sur f ing to spread N o r t h " ( S- l , Kendra ) . Th i s is conf i rmed by Sh i l l i ng (2003) who states, " T h e improvement over the years i n wetsuit technology has been a real boon to surf ing in B C ' s co ld waters" (p. 53). P r io r to the invent ion o f the neoprene wetsuit a variety o f different products were used to keep surfers wa rm such as: grease, w o o l sweaters, fires on the beach, and plast ic laminated c loth ing. These attempts proved unsuccessful at keep ing the core body temperature wa rm long enough to a l l ow surfers to remain in the water for extended periods o f t ime ( B - l , L i am) . L i a m suggested it was the brand manufacturers themselves that have fueled a growth i n surf ing: The wetsuit created the market. [The wetsuit] a l lowed people to get into the water and remain warm. Before on l y the hardiest o f souls w o u l d go out there and brave the ch i l l y waters. . . [The] neoprene wetsuit a l lows people i n cooler water to surf. ( B - l , L i am ) The pioneer surfers i n To f ino were w i l l i n g to surf without this technology, however , the interviewees unan imous ly agreed that these advancements helped to open up the sport to more Canadian men and women , and contributed to the growth in the number o f people surf ing i n Canad ian waters. A surf retailer a f f i rmed, 68 In Canada, one o f the things that [is] real ly happening for us is better wetsuits. They get better every year and that just makes it that much more accessible and pleasant because the wetsuits are fantastic. Y o u can go in and spend three hours in the water. (R-2, Phi l ) W i t h the recent growth in women ' s surf ing and an increased demand for women- speci f ic products, companies that are progressive and innovat ive in their product offerings to w o m e n are ga in ing recognit ion in the women ' s surf market. A s one surf retailer exp la ined, " F o r a long t ime there weren' t great qual i ty women ' s wetsu i ts " (R-4, Scott). Improved technologies in wetsuit design and a women-speci f ic fit have helped make surf ing more accessible to Canadian women . Jenny Stewart, one o f the few Canadian female surfers who surfed through the changed technology states that: W h e n I learned to surf, I wore a huge b u l k y wetsuit that d idn ' t fit right in the parts where I needed it to fit r ight and that made m y learning curve pretty steep.. .Nowadays , it fits r ight . . .There are booties that fit smal l women ' s feet, smal l sur f ing gloves, boards w i th foam on the deck that's softer and more comfortable to l ie on. (quoted in Lee, 2003) W o m e n surfers ident i f ied wetsuit fit as a key variable in whether a beginner surfer w i l l commi t to surf ing. It was suggested that a good first experience for learners in regards to be ing comfortable in the water is central to their level o f conf idence. In regards to these market changes, a female surfer stated, " they are c lue ing into the needs o f women . [They are] rea l iz ing that women ' s surf ing is ser ious" (S-2, Mar ley ) . A s brand manufacturers develop products exc lus i ve l y for the female consumer, female surfers are 69 fee l ing more comfortable in the water and wi th their identities as surfers. A s a retailer exc la ims o f his contentment for the recent development in the women ' s sport market: No t on l y is the fit l i ke ten times better.. .they actual ly put [some] thought into this n o w that there is a b ig women ' s market out there.. . O ' N e i l l now w i l l have the O ' N e i l l wave for al l the guy suits and they w i l l have an O ' N e i l l wave w i th a l itt le f lower on it for al l women ' s suits. That ' s b ig , real ly b ig . People rea l ly think that is the thought, women-speci f ic . (R-3, Co l i n ) A c c o r d i n g to the interviewees and the other evidence I rev iewed the advancements made in wetsuit technology and design helped to stimulate surf ing act iv i ty and the surf products market. A s demand increased so d id style options for female surfers, thus enabl ing them to find the best fit and design to suit their needs both as consumers and as surfers. Th i s expansion i n the wetsuit market is in paral lel w i th the gains w o m e n are mak ing in the sport product marketplace general ly, and has contributed to an identi f iable growth in the number o f Canadian women surf ing. //. Crossover appeal from skateboarding and snowboarding A c o m m o n theme i n the interviews was that the widespread appeal o f skateboarding and snowboard ing has also contributed to the growth o f Canad ian women ' s surf ing. Th i s trend was seen as contr ibut ing to the number o f people want ing to get invo lved i n board sports more general ly. Fo r example, a surf lesson participant expla ined, "I tr ied wakeboard ing, snowboard ing, and wanted to give surf ing a t ry " ! Board sports have become part o f our culture. A few interviewees termed this 'board 70 culture'' and indicated that there is increased crossover f rom Canada 's massive snowboard ing culture. A surf brand representative suggested that surf ing is appeal ing to snowboarders when the snowboard season ends. A s he put it, "[It is] something to do in the summer t ime ! " ( B - l , L i am) . S im i l a r l y , a surf, skate, and snow retailer suggested that there is a correlat ion between the number o f female surfers and the number o f female snowboarders i n B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a , " In B C . . .we have far more surfers in our waters that are female because we have so many gir ls that are snowboard ing cross ing ove r " (R-4, Scott). These sports have s imi lar appeal accord ing to a retailer o f surf, skate, and snow sports equipment, " It 's the same type o f person that wants to do these things. They l ike the sense o f adventure and everything else and those sports def in i te ly crossover everything f rom wakeboard ing, skateboarding, al l o f it, a l l crosses ove r " (R-2, Ph i l ) . A surf brand representative acknowledged the deeper connect ion that participants have w i th board sports: It is the same emotional connect ion . . . [Board sports are] quite artistic and you push yourse l f as far as you want to go. Espec ia l l y w i th snowboard ing and surf ing: there is a lways a bigger mounta in , there is a lways deeper snow, [and] there is a lways a b igger wave. W i t h skateboarding there is a lways a harder tr ick and it is on ly you who chooses h o w far you want to go and k ids are a lways pushing themselves. There is no adult there say ing to them 'this is the way it needs to be done ' . That is a b i g thing when you are a teenager. That element o f 71 danger can be quite appeal ing, and gir ls [are attracted to surf ing because] it is an ind iv idua l accompl ishment. (B-3, Jacky) Another board sport retailer emphasized the c o m m o n o r ig in o f these sports f rom surf ing, "That is a lways engrained in the subculture o f w indsur f ing and k i teboard ing and snowboard ing and skateboarding. . .they are fathered o f sur f ing . . . f rom the l ineage" (R-4, Scott). O f the retailers interv iewed, 3 stores out o f the 5 created their business based on the crossover appeal o f surf, skate, and snow sports. A s Scott suggested, " The crossover appeal def in i te ly makes a store l i ke this possible. W e couldn ' t surv ive on summer dol lars [alone].. . A n d a lot o f people do them a l l . . . It is the t r i logy o f sports. . .and they a l l complement each other" (R-4, Scott). The crossover between the board sports appears to be something the brand marketers themselves have helped strengthen. The pioneer surf brands offer snowboard c loth ing in their l ines and sponsor snowboarders, skateboarders, and surfers i n an effort to penetrate this broader market. A s one brand representative stated, " [We] on l y sponsor snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboard ing, and surf ing. [We] have noth ing to do w i th anything else so that is [our] target marke t " (B-2, Jason). Th i s crossover between skateboarding and snowboard ing and other board sports has contr ibuted to the growth in the number o f Canad ian women surf ing. iii. Cultural and style influences from California A c o m m o n theme in the interviews was that surf ing in Ca l i f o rn i a has been a major inf luence on Canada 's surf industry and culture. A s one interviewee put it: 72 [Surfing] originate[d] from Ca l i f o rn i a and. . . i t ' s Hunt ington Beach and real ly Orange County , [that] is the 'hot bed o f sur f ing ' in the Un i ted States. That 's the epicenter o f cool as far as trends and where everything comes f rom. (B-2, Jason) He further suggested that surf ing is deeply embedded in Ca l i fo rn i a ' s culture and tradit ions: W o m e n ' s surf ing is go ing to be aspor t that w i l l be around for a long t ime. It is a sport that has been around for a l ong t ime just maybe not to our culture. [When] you go down to Ca l i fo rn i a , it is l i ke somebody ask ing us about p l ay ing hockey up here. (B-2, Jason) A recent C B C documentary, M a k i n g Waves , attributes the r ise in the number o f Canadian female surfers partly to the inf luence o f Izzy T ihany i ' s surf school i n L a Jo l la , Ca l i f o rn i a ca l led Su r f D i v a . Th is is general ly recognized as the first women ' s surf school in the wo r l d , and its graduates became k n o w n as ' Su r f D i v a s ' . The inf luence o f these Ca l i fo rn ian w o m e n surfers was acknowledged in several interviews. A loca l retailer suggested that more w o m e n are surf ing and the Su r f D ivas generated a lot o f hype here loca l l y , "I k n o w a lot o f these gir ls l ike Su r f D i v a are c o m i n g up from Ca l i f o rn i a and coming up the coast and spreading the good word about surf ing and people are starting to see i t " (R-3, Co l i n ) . Supported by a local retailer, the Su r f D i v a Schoo l organized a h igh l y successful surf camp on L o n g Beach, B C in 1998. " T h e i r c l in ics were sold out. The idea caught on w i th Jenny H u d n a l l " ( Sh i l l ing , 2003, p. 69) who grew up in Ca l i f o rn i a and thought this same all-girls theme cou ld work in Canada and short ly thereafter i n 1999, she started Su r f Sister Sur f Schoo l representing Canada 's first and for many years on l y all-girls surf 73 school . Sur f Sister has opened the sport to more Canadian gir ls and w o m e n bu i l d ing on the Ca l i f o rn i a idea and g i v ing it a Canad ian twist. A c o m m o n theme in the interviews was that To f i no i tse l f has exerted a unique inf luence on Canadian women ' s surf ing. W h i l e , it is undeniable that Ca l i f o rn i a surf culture has inf luenced surf ing in B C , the Vancouver Island surf ing experience was seen as of fer ing a contrast. Fo r example, a surf retailer pointed out that " i t is a different experience [than in] Ca l i f o rn i a . . . [Tof ino is] far more rustic, you ' re not pound ing through a gross c i ty to get out to a surf b reak" (R -4 , Scott). Nevertheless, the surf brand representatives interv iewed in this study a l l acknowledged Ca l i fo rn i a ' s inf luence. Ca l i f o rn i a is home to several No r th A m e r i c a n headquarters o f surf brands. In addi t ion, representatives acknowledged that surf fashion and equipment trends a l l originate i n Ca l i f o rn i a and tr ick le their way north. T r i sh , a surf brand representative stated this as fo l l ows : In terms o f what part o f the wo r l d it comes f rom. I think Ca l i f o rn i a for us. O u r l ine is a l l about the beach g i r l . . .She is f rom Ca l i f o rn i a and that is where it real ly or iginates. . . Even wor ldw ide people look up to what is out there i n the med ia and it is real ly Ca l i fo rn ia . A l l the teen ido ls , al l the pop stars rea l ly originate f rom Ca l i fo rn i a . (B -4 , Tr ish) A s seen in the interviews, the fascinat ion w i th beach culture is repeatedly l inked to Ca l i f o rn i a and can be attributed i n part to exposure to med ia as w e l l a s to direct experience and to the prol i ferat ion o f surf fashions and styles. What separates B C is that surf ing loca l l y has its own rustic context and i ron ica l l y this experience is what seems to be drawing vacat ion ing Ca l i forn ians up Nor th . 74 iv. Increased demand for women's surf wear and surffashions One major theme in the interviews was that the increased coverage o f surf culture in the loca l media , in particular f o l l o w i n g the release o f B l ue C rush , had an explos ive effect on the appeal o f surf wear and beach wear. Vancouver newspapers and loca l te lev is ion became increasingly interested in L o w e r Ma in l and retailers and in document ing what was l i o t ' in surf wear. The interviewees noted that sur f fashions began turning up everywhere, appearing on designer runways, b i l lboards, commerc ia ls , department stores, and at large chain retail outlets. One surfer acknowledged the prol i ferat ion o f sur f fashions recogn iz ing that " even A m e r i c a n Eagle has beach-themed c lo thes" (S-5, Stephanie). Businesses that had nothing to do wi th surf ing i tse l f began capi ta l iz ing on this g row ing trend. A surf brand representative noted that, " a lot o f c loth ing companies aren't surf brands but say they sel l surf wear because people l i ke that; they can relate to the ocean. W h e n people think o f the ocean, they think o f su r f i ng " ( B - l , L i am) . Su r f wear has mainstream appeal for two reasons: the surf craze is an international phenomenon and women became an increas ingly important target in the surf industry g loba l ly . One female surfer felt that the growth o f women ' s surf ing g loba l l y cou ld be attributed to the brand manufacturers themselves, " M y theory is that women ' s surf ing has been propel led b y the surf c lo th ing b y Qu iks i l ve r who decided to put their logos together and fo rm the R o x y brand . . .Sur f ing introduced to the wor ld through surf c l o th ing " ( S- l , Kendra) . Th i s statement posits a process o f identity through w h i c h the act o f wear ing surf fashions l inks the wearer to the meanings o f surf culture, and raises the poss ib i l i ty that surf brand monikers are part ly responsible for the incorporat ion o f surf 75 culture into people 's l i festyles as w e l l as into the surf wear consumer market. The f o l l ow ing remarks by a retailer support this conc lus ion and demonstrate the symbo l i c power that a pioneer surf brand, l i ke R o x y has i n the market: W e real ly cou ld sel l anything i f we just took o f f whatever brand name was on there and stamp R o x y on it. It w o u l d sel l and it w o u l d sel l before it w o u l d without R o x y ' s name on it. That is another real cult f o l l ow ing , that we ' re f ind ing that people w i l l buy it. (R-3, Co l i n ) However , a surf brand representative conceded that trends seen i n women ' s sur f culture have fueled the brands growth, " W i t h the rise o f not on l y women ' s surf ing, but the who le women ' s surf culture, the women ' s s ide. . .has absolutely skyrocketed the b r and " (B-5, Leanne). Some o f the market trends that are happening are also benef ic ia l to the sport o f surf ing i tse l f as a surfer indicates: Su r f wear [is] l ook ing better. Compan ies are c lue ing i n to what gir ls want. B i k i n i s are more funct ional that you can actual ly surf i n . Su r f companies are tak ing on a more real ist ic angle. [Leading to the] development o f coo l funct ional c lo th ing [and] women-speci f ic wetsuits. (S-2, Ma r l ey ) The interviewees acknowledged qual i ty , comfort , and fit as be ing three fundamental variables that inf luence c loth ing purchase decis ions. It was w ide l y suggested that surf fashions, i n addit ion to l o o k i n g coo l and fitting w e l l , are extremely comfortable, and have longevi ty . A l t hough a difference was noted w i th two loca l To f i no surfers versus the fashion inf luences o f their L o w e r M a i n l a n d counterparts is that surf c loth ing does not impact them so much . One o f the surfers suggested the f o l l ow ing as 7 6 rationale, " i f you l i ve in To f i no there are not a lot o f shops so it is not so important to wear sur f c lo th ing outside o f the s u r f (S -4 , Ann ) . The purchase decis ions o f these surfers might be more l inked to environmental barriers (e.g., avai labi l i ty ) than their personal consumpt ion behaviors. It was w ide l y acknowledged by the interviewees that retailers, and sur f brand creators have responded to the increased demand for surf wear and surf fashions. The question that remains is how does this trend result in more w o m e n actual ly surf ing? Interviewees be l ieved that the penetration o f the surf industry has led more w o m e n to first experience the sport v i a surf brands and fashions thru promot ion . Th i s increased appeal consequently has led to an increase in the number o f w o m e n tak ing surf lessons and rent ing equipment. A sur f brand representative suggested that "more dealers are purchas ing suits for rentals. . . [The] rental market getting bigger is a good s ign that the market is g r o w i n g " ( B- l , L i am) . Su r f brand manufacturers have created a p lat form for the surf industry to grow and its widespread appeal has been monumenta l i n the increased demand for sur f wear and has contr ibuted to an increase i n the number o f Canad ian women surf ing. v. The growth of competitive surfing in BC Dur i ng data co l lec t ion, the Roxy/Qu iks i l ve r Sur f Jam i n To f ino was regarded as Canada 's largest surf ing compet i t ion. D u r i n g m y in i t ia l conversations w i th surf wear retailers, two retailers advised me o f the event and one o f them acted as a judge dur ing the compet i t ion. It was acknowledged b y the interviewees that this event g i ves . BC surfers an opportunity to compete against international competitors whi ls t remain ing i n 77 the comfort o f their home break. The med ia further generated loca l interest in the 2003 Summer Su r f Jam. D o m D o m i c , president o f the B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a Su r f Assoc i a t ion ( B C S A ) and Peter Devr ies , a h igh l y respected To f i no surfer, appeared on C i t y T V ' s morn ing segment, Breakfast Te lev i s ion ( BT ) on June 9 t h , 2003 to promote the B C S A and the 2003 Summer Su r f Jam. Du r ing this B T talk, it was revealed that women were invo lved in the compet i t ion as we l l . The B C S A wanted to encourage loca l support o f "the premiere event in Canadian su r f i ng " ( B C S A , 2003). The increased prominence o f the Summer Su r f Jam has also pos i t ive ly contributed to the growth o f women ' s surf ing i n B C . The event was w ide l y advertised at part ic ipat ing surf shops. Nevertheless, m y analysis o f the entry fo rm for 2003 revealed differences in fund ing for the men 's and women ' s d iv is ions . There were seven d iv i s ions overal l and the men 's and women ' s professional d iv i s ions competed for pr ize money. The men 's professional d i v i s i on was open to 48 surfers compet ing for $3,250 in pr ize money d i v ided amongst the 1 s t to 7 t h place f in isher ; wh i l e , the women ' s professional d i v i s ion had 24 competitors compet ing for $1,000 in pr ize money d i v ided amongst the 1 s t to 4 t h place ( B C S A , 2003). Th is demonstrates an apparent inequity in the disbursement o f pr ize money for the male and female surfers. A Canad ian brand representative acknowledged that w o m e n are not treated equal ly at surf ing compet i t ions: I th ink there is d iscr iminat ion in every asset o f l i fe . Y o u can f ind fault w i th any sport. . .and I think it is true w i th surf ing too. If you go to a contest there is never as m u c h prize money for the women but there is never as many women compet ing at the event too . . .They probably don' t get as much support as the men do but I 78 think it is al l relative to how many people are doing i t . . . . [There are currently no] Canadian girls that get sponsorship.. .We don't have a lot of women surfers competing worldwide so that is a problem. We don't have any like Canadian surfers on the pro tour. So I mean i f there was a girl out there we would be the first ones to sign something up but the problem is there isn't anyone there. (B-4, Trish) This statement provides insight into the level of women's professional surfing in British Columbia. It remains a poor mismatch to the men's which has resulted in few sponsorship deals and opportunities to compete worldwide. The suggestion that there are no women in B C who are proficient enough to compete on a world stage may be true but this overlooks the conditions which are at least partly responsible for this shortfall. A female surfer acknowledged that there are virtually no opportunities for women in Canada and felt that this affects the number of women entering Canadian surfing competitions and the level of competition: I have been competing for eleven years. I won the Roxy/Quiksilver Surf Jam two years in a row and [I have] never placed below second and [I] have had no opportunities.. .Sponsors need to change their attitudes! Sponsor someone in Canada. It would be beneficial. Young girls identify with sponsored athletes. [It would] help the industry and add some authenticity to the sport. ( S - l , Kendra) Similarly, another surfer felt that Canadian women should be recognized by brand manufacturers, "Companies should jump on to Canadian surfers. [They need to] get on the program [and] start sponsoring Canadians. We need better Canadian representation" (S-4, Ann). There definitely is some animosity amongst female surfers who aspire to 79 pursue surfing professionally yet discover that opportunities for aspiring Canadian male surfers remain greater than for promising women. These conditions are not dissimilar from the early period of female Canadian surfing. Perhaps aspiring junior girls will be the ones to draw attention to Canadian women worldwide. These attitudes reflect the views of two local Tofino surfers. Interestingly, an avid Vancouver surfer did not uphold the same opinion of sponsorship: Most people surf for recreational purposes. Unless you are born and raised in Tofino and were really around that kind of circuit when you are young and sort of [grew] up with it. It is not an industry that is well known around here. (S-3, Brooke) One surf brand representative suggested that sponsorship is not a priority for its marketing strategy: In Canada at this time we have made a conscious decision not to sponsor athletes. We are trying to get as much growth to catch up to the other licensees because we are one of the newest licensees in the world. The potential for us to grow really quickly is there so we have tried to spend our marketing dollars more on the people that are selling the product than on our athletes at this time. (B-5, Leanne) The future of competitive surfing in BC is uncertain and as yet it is not clear what opportunities may become available to promising female athletes in the future. However, the rise in competitive surfing in BC and the marketing effort behind it are generating more interest in surfing and increasing spectatorship at surfing competitions. More and more women are entering these competitions and the increased attention is contributing to a growth in the number of Canadian women surfing. 80 vi. Increased media exposure of Canadian women's surfing A s surf shops and surf schools began opening in the m i d 1990s and word spread that w o m e n were encouraged in B C ' s waters, tour ism in the To f ino area increased. A t the same t ime loca l and national med ia became increas ingly interested in Canadian surf ing. A loca l surfer suggested that the reason for the coverage was that the sport has widespread appeal, " Su r f i ng is the news that you want to hear about; gir ls out i n To f i no and they're surf ing, the media comes over and wants to interview u s " ( S- l , Kendra ) . A retailer reported that, "there is a percentage growth in actual number. It is probably misrepresented in the med ia because it is a more interesting s tory " (R-4, Scott). However , a surfer conf i rms that there are " abso lu te l y " more women in the water stating, " W h e n I first started [surf ing the mentality] was 'oh coo l there is a g i r l ' . [Gir ls ] def in i te ly stood out [in the water] and now you look around in the water and there [are] just so many w o m e n [surfers]" (S-3, Brooke) . A loca l retailer attributed some o f the growth seen i n Canad ian women ' s surf ing to "the who le popular i ty o f L o n g Beach [BC ] area and. . .a l l the exposure i t 's getting in the Prov ince , the Sun, [and on] the r ad i o " (R-3, Co l i n ) . The loca l med ia generated a lot o f hype when the Su r f D i vas o f Ca l i f o rn i a came up to To f i no . The opening o f Su r f Sister reached newspapers nat ionwide and female journal ists traveled to To f i no and enrol led in surf lessons and documented their women ' s on l y sur f experience. A To f i no surf instructor commented on the increased med ia interest in women ' s surf ing as fo l l ows , " W e receive cal ls from te lev is ion say ing 'we are go ing to do a story on this and want to talk to you. [We are] getting cal ls constantly f rom the news and med ia product ion 81 companies [who are] interested in Sur f S is ter" (S-4, Ann ) . The release o f B l ue C rush further st imulated local med ia interest in the B C sur f scene. One condi t ion that I found part icular ly interesting dur ing m y data co l lect ion and trips to To f i no was the manner i n wh i ch the loca l media portrayed the scene. A s a spectator at the 2003 Summer Sur f Jam, I observed both days o f compet i t ion and recorded m y observations. The second day o f compet i t ion garnered more med ia interest and several reporters, i nc lud ing an M T V reporter, were present for the f ina l , dec id ing day o f compet i t ion. The media seemed to be part icular ly interested i n anything eccentric, or that appeared to be h ip and coo l . Reporters seemed to be targeting anything that appeared to be different such as a group o f guys wear ing wigs and d r i v ing around on scooters, a spectator w i th a f luorescent cowboy hat, or a take o f a g i r l wear ing board shorts w i th E m u suede winter boots. I overheard a young group o f males repeatedly using generic and stereotypical surf l ingo for reporters. U p o n complet ion o f the interview, the group laughed and made fun o f the s u r f l i n g o . It seemed they gave the med ia what they wanted to hear; wh i ch was in essence a stereotypic representation o f surf ing. W h i l e the med ia are generating a lot o f pub l i c i t y for Canadian women ' s surf ing, the accuracy o f their coverage therefore remains questionable. Invariably, med ia exposure was widespread dur ing m y data co l lect ion per iod and it has potent ia l ly contributed to an increased growth in the number o f Canad ian w o m e n surf ing. vii. Development of Canadian surf businesses A s tour ism steadily bui lds around To f i no , the economy is capable o f sustaining numerous surf businesses. A s one interviewee, a long term resident o f To f i no and av id 82 female surfer, acknowledged, " S i n ce 1995, To f ino started to become a popular surf destination and surf shops started opening. Before 1995 shops wou ld open and then soon c l ose " ( S- l , Kendra) . L i v e to Su r f was established in 1984 and is somewhat o f an icon in the history o f sur f retailers because o f its longevity . The development o f surf businesses also has led to the opening o f several surf schools around To f i no . Jenny Stewart, To f i no native and the top female surfer on the Canadian surf scene can be credited w i th fue l ing awareness and appeal o f Canadian women ' s surf ing. A s the founder o f the first female surf school in Canada and the epitome o f every surfer g i r l Jenny has st imulated women ' s invo lvement in surf ing. A To f ino surf instructor recently was quoted say ing that, " S i n ce Su r f Sisters operat ion, surf ing in To f i no has gone nuts. . .Lessons are filling up due to h igh demand. W e are not able to meet the demand " (S-1, Kendra) . Kend ra documented the growth experienced at Su r f Sister as fo l l ows : Th i s year there are three t imes as many surfers as last year and last year there were five times as many surfers as the years before. Last year Su r f Sister employed s ix instructors. Th i s year Su r f Sister has twelve instructors and st i l l is short-staffed. ( S- l , Kendra) It was revealed that women-speci f ic learning environments have gained momentum and have been especia l ly predominant i n the board sport industry. A retailer suggested that women are often interested in these sports but have felt int imidated to go out and try them: [Women-specif ic is] a good th ing . . . [Women] have trouble integrating. They ' r e shy. They ' r e embarrassed. They don' t want to look goofy but when they are w i th 83 other gir ls they can go in and be at the same level and they don' t have to feel that the guys are watch ing them. It is hav ing guys watch that is the ma in th ing . . .The g i r l wants to go o f f and do it [ independently]. (R-5, Suzy) Th is c l a im was w ide l y documented by female surfers who discovered that women 's- supportive environments can al leviate some o f the pressure to perform and enables women to progress at their o w n rate. The development o f surf businesses is a trend nat ionwide as retailers capita l ize on the fascinat ion people seem to have wi th beach culture in general, and w i th the increased media exposure o f women ' s surf ing. A s one retailer postulates, "I th ink it is a craze right across the country because there [are] stores l i ke in Ca lga ry popp ing up . . .and they are a l l speci f ic g ir l-only stores that just do surf-oriented stuff. . .It rea l ly is g row ing right across Nor th A m e r i c a " (R-3, Co l i n ) . H a v i n g a fascinat ion w i th surf culture and surf fashions appears to pos i t i ve ly inf luence one 's l ike l iness to surf i n the future, as seen i n the f o l l ow ing comments b y two sisters f rom Ca lgary at a To f ino surf camp: " W e a lways wanted to try it [surfing]. It was our Chr is tmas present". Th i s further substantiates the appeal o f sur f ing, even in geographical regions where there is no surf. The expansion o f surf brand l ines has contributed to an increased demand for women ' s surf wear and surf fashions, and the strength o f the sur f industry has lead to the development o f numerous Canad ian surf businesses. These businesses have garnered med ia and consumer interest, and have had an impact on the number o f women surf ing in B C . 8 4 viii. Women's increased comfort with the identity of 'being a surfer' A common assertion in the interviews was that women are becoming more comfortable with their identity of 'being a surfer'. The feeling was that women are responding positively to girls-only learning environments, acceptance in Canadian waters, increased recognition in the sport products marketplace and equipment, apparel, and a girls-specific fit which means they are more comfortable and relaxed in the water. As a retailer postulated: Women thought they couldn't do it [surf] before.. .but now they are slowly integrating into it.. .They definitely have integrated into the surf way faster than they ever will in skateboarding because skateboarding is more hard core.. .You do have to be more of a tomboy to be a skateboarder whereas it's not like that in surfing. You can be as girly as you want and still get out there and be a good surfer. (R-5, Suzy) This narrative highlights how women are integrating into surfing and finding that they can still be themselves, in comparison to skateboarding that is often viewed as more hard core and intimidating for women. One brand representative credited the younger generation of girls as contributing to the growth seen in typically male-dominated sporting practices: I think that girls are no longer being intimidated by what is perceived as men's- only sports. The younger generation has decided that they can do anything that the boys can do. Surfing is quite an individual sport so I think that appeals to girls who don't want to participate in traditional girls' sports or girly activities. (B-3, Jacky) 85 W o m e n have credited gir ls-only learning environments as be ing superior. A n interviewee for example stated that, " w o m e n tend to be more nurturing. [ A women ' s spec i f ic learning] environment is more supportive and understanding. The instructors are right there encouraging [the part ic ipants ] " (S-4, Ann ) . A posi t ive first experience increases the l ike l iness that she w i l l sur f again, thus, creating an avenue to develop as a surfer. A s more women have ventured into Canada 's cool waters, surf ing has gathered a substantial female f o l l ow ing . One female surfer 's statements i l luminate the attraction o f surf ing, "It gives gir ls a sense o f power, gir ls can actual ly do it and be good at it t o o " (S- 5, Stephanie). Another surfer s imi l a r l y states that " w o m e n are rea l iz ing that you don ' t have to be muscular and power fu l to surf; that w i th the right technique they can do it t o o " ( S- l , Kendra) . A s w o m e n become more prof ic ient in the water, they are becoming more confident w i th their identity o f 'be ing a surfer ' . These women are encouraging other w o m e n to participate as one surfer put it, "g i r l s a lways seem to be recruit ing other g i r l s " (S-3, B rooke ) and this is leading to an increase in the number o f Canadian w o m e n surf ing. 4.3 The Appeal of the Surf Culture A c o m m o n f ind ing in the interviews was the informants ' impress ion o f an emerg ing g lobal fascinat ion w i th surf ing and surf culture. A surfer i l lustrated the strength o f her relat ionship w i th the ocean, "I have a lways been complete ly mesmer ized by the ocean. The first t ime I ever caught a wave [surfing] I was instantly addicted for 86 l i f e " (S-2, Mar l ey ) . S im i l a r l y , another surfer stated, "I love that feel ing. I can't exp la in it, but catching a wave is euphor ia " (S-3, Brooke) . The surf l i festyle is different f rom any other sport, the appeal is almost spir i tual . Th i s is ep i tomized by a surfer 's narrative, " Su r f i ng relieves stress. It is a spir i tual , m e l l o w exper ience" ( S- l , Kendra) . The surf l i festyle unites different groups o f people around one c o m m o n med ium, the ocean. A surfer i l lustrated the divers i ty o f surfers and acknowledged that perceptions o f surf ing are changing, " T h e rest o f the wor ld used to look at surfers as bums. That mental i ty is changing. Surfers are getting representation wor ld-wide. Y o u can't rea l ly tell who is a surfer; it can be the lawyer in a su i t " (S-5, Stephanie). The perfect wave is something different to each person; however, the experience gained is quite s imi lar . The interviewees tended to change their tone when speaking about the appeal o f the sport. The responses became more fragmented and the interviewees appeared to tap into an emot ional bond w i th the sport. Th i s is exempl i f i ed by a sur f brand representatives' narrative: The exhi larat ion o f catching a wave, the fee l ing is incredible and hard to describe but you just k n o w it when you get it. [It is an] en l i ven ing fee l ing, be ing i n touch w i th the ocean. [Surf ing is a] hard sport to learn to do. [It is a] natural force; padd l ing out there, getting tossed around by waves and amaz ing fee l ing when you actual ly catch a wave and are surf ing it. [You] go through a lot to get that feel ing. [Surf ing is] good for your health, keep[s you] i n shape, [and is] mot iva t ion to get into shape. [Surfing] gets you in touch w i th nature. ( B - l , L i am) S imi la r l y , Sh i l l i ng (2003) not iced this changed reaction i n his interviews. 87 When I ask her what is it about surfing that causes her to brave freezing cold waters, she pauses for some time. Her answer is almost Zen-like and reflects the crazy calm that surfing induces: ' Y o u get fresh air, some wind on your face, it forces you to take deep breaths and it makes you look at the elements different', (p. 23) Similarly, a local Tofino surfer outlines the lifestyle aspect of being a surfer is part of its appeal, "I love the beach. Living on the beach is so healthy and so amazing and just so peaceful... Everything surrounds yoga and surfing and healthy food" (S-4, Ann). The thrill seeking aspect of surfing is part of its appeal as illustrated by a retailers' narrative: There is a sense where you are totally out of control in the surf.. .In a beginner setting you can go to a very safe environment but at the higher end it is definitely (pause) you can push yourself well beyond and so finding your new boundaries, exploring new limits.. .would definitely be an appeal for men and women and.. .people who are risk takers. It just fuels that. (R-4, Scott) Our own unique scene in Canada is part of the appeal according to one surfer: The weather and water conditions add to the experience... [You] can still surf everyday in To f i no by yourself by traveling to a beach that has a longer hike in or sometimes you can have these days at the most populated spots. (S-5, Stephanie) The interviews identified several key aspects of the appeal of surfing including: thrill seeking, love of ocean, freedom - no rules, no regulations, lifestyle, and vertigo (rush), self-expression, and hedonism. One commonality irregardless of what surfing affords them, was that the passion carried over into their daily lives. 88 4.4 Evidence of Consumption Female Surfers are Committed to Consuming SurfThemed Products In order to participate in the sport o f surf ing one must consume surf products. Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) recognize "that consumpt ion act iv it ies, product categories, or even brands may serve as the basis for socia l cohes ion " (p. 43). In the narratives o f the female surfers it was c o m m o n l y stated that they were commit ted to consuming surf-themed products. A female surfer conveys her passion for consuming surf brands in the f o l l o w i n g quote: I love surf clothes/surf brands. I 'm al l about the brands. G i r l s total ly love brands. . .1 love R o x y clothes; pretty m u c h everything I wear has the R o x y theme go ing on. It's every where . . . The clothes look nice, are sty l ish, comfortable and are c o o l . . .Whether I get them for free through R o x y or I have to pay $ 100 for them I love surf brands. ( S- l , Kendra) These statements indicate that this surfer is commit ted to consuming surf brands and also show that she is w i l l i n g to invest in these fashions. In combinat ion they suggest an impress ion o f camaraderie in that she says "g i r l s total ly love brands" . Th is statement was not speci f ic to surfers. I f she were to say 'Surfers total ly love brands ' she wou ld be demonstrat ing that as a group, surfers have s imi lar consumpt ion habits. Instead, the focus is on the penetration o f brands to the masses and she supports its mainstream appeal. 89 Another surfer also admitted that she consumed surf fashions. However , un l ike the previous example, she wanted it to be clear that she was fu l l y commit ted to consuming surf fashions irregardless o f their staying power. It's coo l . I l ike the look o f it. I do surf. . .1 don ' t l ike the look o f it just because I do surf. I honest ly l i ke surf fashions. . .1 have been attracted to that sort o f c lo th ing style before it was extremely popular and probably w i l l continue to wear it after its popular. I guess I am inf luenced by t ry ing to stay somewhat modern. (S-3, B rooke ) Essent ia l ly , this surfer was exh ib i t ing tendencies o f ' s t y l e den ia l ' in wh i ch she wears and purchases branded merchandise but d id not want to be seen as " b u y i n g into an image " (Wheaton, 2000, p. 266). S im i l a r l y , another surfer suggested that her purchase decis ions were al l practical and exhibi ted further tendencies o f 'style den ia l ' : Pretty m u c h any brand surf attire or paraphernal ia that I have has been g iven to me as gifts. I don ' t buy name brands l i ke R o x y or surf fashions. The clothes that I wear for surf ing l ike m y wetsuit and m y rash guard and a l l that; that is a l l funct ional . I don ' t norma l l y buy the name brands but hav ing said that I do l ike the surf style. So I w o u l d say that I wou ld dress l i ke a surfer but I refuse to spend the amount o f money on the clothes that I w o u l d love to wear. (S-4, A n n ) Th i s surfer wore surf attire but d id not purchase surf fashions. She wanted to emphasize her commitment to consuming surf-themed products that were practical but d id not want to be seen as support ing the surf wear industry. E ven so, her last statement suggests that the f inancia l commitment essential ly is what prevents her f rom acqui r ing surf branded merchandise. 90 Core female surfers base other consumpt ion decis ions on their commitment to the surf ing culture. A s one surfer commented: It affects everything. I got marr ied in F i j i on a surf is land. The clothes I buy have to be easy to put on after I get out o f the water. . .Where I travel [is] based on how good the surf is. I have on l y been to A r i z o n a once. ( S- l , Kendra) Th i s supports the c l a im that as one's commitment extends into surf ing, s ignif icant purchase decis ions are inf luenced by one's devot ion to the sport. 4.5 Evidence of Subcultural Features and Conditions I have d iv ided m y summary in this section into four subsections based on themes that were ident i f ied in m y analysis: (i) h ierarchical soc ia l structuring; (ii) core values and loca l ized differences; ( i i i ) se l f t ransformation; and (iv) r ituals. /. Hierarchical social structuring: From hard core surfers to posers M y analysis o f the surf ing subculture found evidence o f stratif ication and markers o f socia l status and w i th in group pos i t ion ing. The "consp icuous d isp lay o f equipment or subcultural s ty le " (Wheaton, 2000, p. 254) d id not impact/affect a person's status i n the subculture. Rather the person's commitment to the sport and surf ing abi l i ty were evaluated and seen as key indicators o f pos i t ion ing. The f o l l o w i n g surfer 's comment supports this condi t ion. There are outsiders and ins iders . . .you prove yourse l f in the water. See people di f ferent ly b y seeing h o w they surf. . . Lose respect i f people drop in on people . . .If you ' re rea l ly good you become respected. Sty le and equipment has nothing to do 91 wi th it except maybe for posers! ! No t what k i nd o f boards do you r ide . . .that is k o o k y ! ( S- l , Kendra) S imi l a r l y , another surfer conf i rmed that people 's ab i l i ty is revealed in the water. The on l y way I wou ld consider m y s e l f an insider is when I see other people pretending to be something they are not. Y o u can tell i n the water. Once you start be ing able to understand what is go ing on. Y o u can tel l when you watch people; who can do what and who can't. So it is very clear that way who can surf or not. (S-3, B rooke) A surf brand representative acknowledged that hard core surfers serve as conveyors o f product in format ion in the surf ing communi ty . W o r d o f mouth in the commun i t y spreads fast, almost overnight. The latest products become very we l l received by the commun i t y i f you get a person that surfs a lot and has purchased that product [ talking about it then] it spreads. ( B - l , L i am) One surfer a f f i rmed that the d isp lay o f equipment does not give a surfer any cred ib i l i t y whatsoever. It's ca l led be ing a poser. Bu t it doesn't real ly work because as soon as they get i n the water their identity is revealed. ' K o o k ! ! ! ' Y o u can on l y pose wh i l e you are on land right. Wea r ing your rash guard out to the bar is pretty easy to f igure out that you don' t surf . . . I w o u l d encourage them to get out and try it. ( S- l , Kendra) L i a m , a surf brand representative said that i n order to become accepted and respected in the surf culture, you have to "pay your dues, be patient, be respectful o f people that are good, be respectful o f their territory, and work on your sk i l l s " . He 92 suggested that there is a fami l ia r i ty amongst the surfers who are higher up the hierarchy. " T h e hard core surfers k n o w one another in the water, they k n o w the good spots, and there seems to be a peck ing order i f you are respected" ( B - l , L i am) . A surf brand representative declared that, "There is a lways a peck ing order [ in surfing] depending on the pol i t i cs o f the wave you surf or the beach you are at" (B-5, Leanne). One surfer thought that To f i no was more accepting whereas other Vancouver Island surf ing communi t ies have more o f a hierarchy: Sombr io and Jordan R i v e r is a l itt le bit more loca l . It is a l itt le bit harder to get accepted there. Y o u have to make sure that i f you are learning that you don ' t get in their way. Y o u have to k n o w what you are do ing out there. (S-4, A n n ) In order to be accepted in the To f i no surf scene one must demonstrate his/her level o f commitment in the water. Sur f ing.abi l i ty and knowledge are indicators o f one 's status in the subculture. ii. Core values and localized differences One commona l i t y expressed throughout the interviews was that, " T h e surf scene in Canada [Tof ino] is me l lower and more accepting than other parts o f the w o r l d " (S-5, Stephanie). A To f ino surfer who has traveled to numerous g loba l surf breaks noted that, " Y o u don' t see this number o f gir ls sur f ing at other breaks " ( S- l , Kendra ) . She further revealed that, " E v e n some o f the Pro gir ls from Ca l i f o rn i a now come up to surf in To f i no as w e l l " ( S- l , Kendra) . These statements suggest that the surf scene i n To f i no appears to be attracting an increasing number o f female surfers. 93 A surf brand representative a f f i rmed that the surf scene general ly is more we l com ing o f women . I th ink there is a lot o f acceptance out there in surf ing. If you go out as a g i r l to any break I don ' t th ink you are treated as badly as you w o u l d be i f you were a guy . . .Guys love to see gir ls out there learning to surf and they encourage it. (B-4, Trish) Another representative i l lustrated the unanimity o f surfers: [Surfers] embrace surf ing as a l i f e s t y l e . . . You meet l ike-minded people that are surf ing as we l l . It is something that you can strive to do and that you can do on your own . Each wave is about you as a person. . . Y o u don ' t have to be a part o f something to be a part o f the surf culture as long as you want to surf you can go out there and do it and become a part o f it. (B-5, Leanne) The interviewees unan imous ly agreed that the re laxed nature o f the sport and its participants is part o f the al lure o f surf ing. S imi l a r l y , a surfer commented that there are v i r tua l ly no entry barriers into the surf culture, as she s imp ly put it, "I think i f you feel l i ke you are a surfer, you are a sur fer " (S-3, Brooke) . The interviewees often situated their experiences o f sur f ing i n To f i no w i th in the g lobal surf ing culture. The responses suggest that the surf scene in To f ino is unique in that more women are drawn to its waters and are we l comed once they are there. Th is is supported by the f o l l ow ing surfer 's comments, " In To f i no , women are accepted. [Tof ino is the] except ion to the rule. G u y s are cheering them on and are very supportive and he lp fu l , g i v i ng equipment advice or other t i p s " ( S- l , Kendra) . 94 iii. Self transformation (deepening of commitment) In order to be an av id surfer in Canada it requires a great degree o f commitment . Throughout m y own personal experiences co l lec t ing data for this study and m y discuss ion w i th the interviewees it was evident that the level o f commitment was representative o f a 'culture of commitment' (Wheaton & T o m l i n s o n , 1998) i n wh i ch several variables such as leisure t ime, work t ime, career choice, and place o f residence inf luence one 's wi l l ingness or abi l i ty to participate regular ly i n the act iv i ty o f surf ing. A loca l retailer who was an enthusiastic surfer stated his commitment as fo l l ows : " T h e surf l i festy le is s imple. Y o u work to surf and work is second, surf ing is f i r s t ! " ( R - l , Dan). Perhaps his commitment was fundamental to his dec is ion to go into smal l business. The commitment to the surf l i festy le took precedence over everything else. Another retailer expla ined that " A lot o f people try [surf ing and even] do it for a little wh i le . [But] unless the commitment level is real ly there they won ' t stay, but they real ly have a great t ime when they are do ing i t " (R-4, Scott). Th i s suggests that there is a basel ine commitment that is required. F inanc ia l l y , it is inevitable, that even though the ocean is a free resource there are other in i t iat ion fees once one decides surf ing is something worth pursuing. These inc lude start-up costs such as the price o f renting and ul t imately purchasing equipment i nc lud ing a wetsuit, gloves, booties, and, depending on the leve l o f commitment , a thicker suit for winter, and a hood. Furthermore, a surfboard is required and there are costs associated w i th travel i nc lud ing transportation, food and lodg ing . B e yond the f inancia l commitment there is also the issue o f t ime, both for t ravel ing and t ime needed to master the sport. A s one's level o f commitment deepens, his/her l i festy le becomes shaped b y the requirements o f surf ing. A 95 surf brand representative ef fect ive ly summar ized the amount o f commitment invo l ved as fo l l ows : It is also a very d i f f i cu l t sport and you have to be pretty commit ted to do ing it even l i v i n g on the west coast you st i l l have to dr ive 4-6 hours to get there. There may or may not be waves to ride when you get there and i f there are you have to k n o w h o w to get them. Y o u have to rent a wetsuit and a surfboard and k n o w h o w to paddle out there. (B-2, Jason) A passage f rom the surf f i l m Step into L i q u i d reinforces the transformation process that occurs in surf ing as a participants level o f commitment deepens, "There comes a t ime in every surfer 's l i fe when he real izes he is a lways go ing to be a surfer, forever. It's no longer what he does, i t 's who he is. It's part o f his inner compass" . The leve l o f commitment varies in each surfer; however , one surfer 's comments il lustrate n ice ly the attractive force o f the sport once an ind iv idua l identif ies w i th it. " Su r f i ng is addic t ive . . . Sur f ing is a change o f l i fe [or] ' l i fes ty le ' . [It's] your who le j o b ; where you l i ve , and where you travel [revolves] around the fact that you s u r f ( S- l , Kendra) . Another surf retailer made a s imi lar comment. M o r e women [are] m o v i n g out to places l i ke to To f i no , m o v i n g to places l i ke Sooke to be closer to the surf. The fact that there is a who le tourist infrastructure bu i l d ing up quite s igni f icant ly i n To f ino so it can support you vocat iona l ly . . .a lot o f the w o m e n . . .are entrenching themselves i n the society out there as opposed to just t r ipping out on the weekend. (R-4, Scott) Th i s was n ice ly summar ized by a surfer as fo l lows , " T o f i n o residents have made a commitment to commit their l ives to su r f i ng " (S-3, B rooke) . The level o f commitment 96 required is unique to each surfer and is dependent on how embedded surf ing is in their self-identity. The scene in To f i no resembles a 'culture o f commitment ' (Wheaton & Tom l i n son , 1998) and due to its relative isolat ion requires more o f an invested commitment than many other g loba l surf locations. iv. Rituals The subculture o f surf ing presents a unique set o f r ituals that are l i nked to the sport. Sh i l l i ng (2003), identif ies a c o m m o n practice seen i n surf ing: Desc r ib ing waves is an essential aspect o f surf ing. It's part Z e n and part phys ics . These surfers are l ook ing for 'mackers , ' aka 'g round swe l l s ' - we l l formed over great distances, perhaps f rom as far away as the Be r i ng Sea. Fo r surfers and f isherman al ike, the day starts w i th the marine broadcast. Some gale up i n the Queen Charlotte Islands may become a myster ious force that works its way d o w n the coast. A l l day, surfer k ids dr ive up and down the coast to check the surf, and t ime becomes a giant wave o f bu i ld ing energy. It's a crazy mu l t i p l y ing energy - the bigger the wave the greater the ' s toke ' . . .and the need to get to the beach, to c l imb into the surf, to leave the land behind, (p. 16) A retailer in the study described a ritual for surfers who do not have direct access to the sea, where they check web sites for web cams. " The internet is very important for surfers because a l l o f the forecasts.. . I 'm onl ine check ing surf a l l over the wo r l d every day. A l l the l i ve cams. . .If you l i ke surf ing you love waves. Y o u l ike l ook ing at waves " ( R- l , Dan) . The repeated practice o f ana lyz ing the format ion o f storms and the pattern o f 97 waves enables a Lowe r M a i n l a n d surfer to plan his trips to To f ino based on the presence o f waves. A n observed practice amongst surfers is ana lyz ing waves and sharing this in format ion w i th in the communi ty . Surfers congregate around park ing lots to beaches and look at the waves to see what waves are present, and what waves are fo rming in the distance. If no sizeable waves are present surfers w i l l communicate w i th other surfers to f ind out what locat ion is generating the best waves. S im i l a r l y , upon ar r iv ing i n To f i no , surfers check the tide board at the entrance to Pac i f i c R i m Nat iona l Park and do the customary check at L o n g Beach for waves. Whether or not there are consistent s izeable waves w i l l inf luence the dec is ion to check elsewhere or to stay and go surf ing at L o n g Beach. One ' s level o f commitment w i l l also inf luence what rituals they exhibit . Some surfers add a stop at one o f the board rental shops to their routine. The employees o f these surf shops often have already been out surf ing and know where the best surf is or have heard what break is generating the best waves. Each surfer has set routines in order to be able to surf and these may or may not be ind i v idua l l y embel l ished. These inc lude pay ing the park ing fee at Pac i f i c R i m Nat iona l Park, go ing through various procedures o f dressing and undressing, w a x i n g boards, r ins ing o f f equipment, and surf ing at sunrise or sunset. These rituals were repeatedly observed throughout the participant observat ion component o f m y study and suggested that people tend to ascribe to a certain routine. No t a l l rituals are universal amongst surfers but the surfers I observed exhibi ted commonal i t ies in their routines based on loca l requirements and customs. 98 4.6 Surfing is a 'Commodity-Orientated Subculture' (wheaton, 2000, p. 26i) Wheaton (2000) argued that surf ing is a 'commodity-orientated subculture ' , i n that surfers need to consume products such as equipment and c loth ing to participate in the sport. Subcultural identity is often s igni f ied by the presence o f surf ing equipment but the key is that the equipment is necessary. A retailer suggested that, " It 's a pretty l ow tech sport. Have board w i l l s u r f (R-2, Phi l ) . Th i s conf i rms that the purchase or rental o f surf equipment is a requirement o f surf participants. Outs ide the in i t ia l investment it is a relat ively affordable sport, i f the surf is nearby, however , these in i t ia l costs are considerable as supported b y the subsequent f igures, " T o buy a long board is $1000 plus tax, $1100 plus tax, wetsuit $500, and that's an average cost " ( R - l , Dan) . The shared need for equipment and apparel is a point o f commona l i t y for w o m e n surfers and they often congregate around surf stores. In certain t imes a year we always have surfers c o m i n g through. . . A n d they are not just buy ing stuff but say ing 'hey, how ' s it go ing? ' or ' sur f this surf that'. The passion carries over . . ..they a l l k ind o f relate to each other. L o o k at it f rom a soc io log ica l point o f v i ew they just have a med ium they are in c o m m o n wi th . (R- 1, Dan) A s a loca l surfer states, "Surfers have something in common . Get two surfers together who never spoke before and they are always t a l k ing " . The purchase o f surf commodi t ies is a facet o f surf culture, however , one c o m m o n issue that inf luences their purchas ing decis ions is purchasing from core shops that are fami l ia r w i th the sport o f surf ing and its commodi t ies . Th i s is represented by a loca l surf retailer who revealed that independent surf stores gain c red ib i l i t y amongst surf participants: 99 The smal ler stores get a l itt le bit more o f a hard core fo l l ow ing . Fo r the amount we sell I wou ld say that 3 0 % w o u l d actual ly be surf ing and currently do ing it and getting on boards and go ing to the beach. (R-3, Co l i n ) A commona l i t y expressed i n the interviews was the issue o f authenticity. A concern for authenticity was expressed by a l l interviewees irregardless o f their personal a f f i l ia t ion w i th surf ing or their status in the surf products industry. Th i s is supported by the f o l l ow ing comments made said b y a surfer, " E ve ryone has their reason for it. I don ' t want to wear that company because it is made there" ( S- l , Kendra) . S im i l a r l y , another surfer revealed that she is commit ted to support ing loca l retailers, "I w i l l go to anyone loca l any day and give them money. I w o u l d prefer to spend money loca l l y i n smal ler stores or go to loca l board makers than buy stuff at bigger shops" (S-3, Brooke) . A related aspect o f authenticity was the condi t ion o f be ing ' sou l f u l ' . Th i s meant that surf ing was part o f one 's mora l fiber and in order to ef fect ive ly represent the culture one had to exhibi t a degree o f knowledge and passion for the sport. Th i s idea o f 'authenticity'' is shared amongst retail store owners, retail employees, surf brand representatives, and is important to surfers who consume surf products. Th i s is i l lustrated by the f o l l o w i n g surf retai lers ' comments: W e ' v e never been a store to hire eye candy or you k n o w the person who doesn't do. It is a lways about the passion for r id ing and that we find makes better sales people, a more fun staff, [and a] better place to work . (R-4, Scott) Th i s idea o f authenticity is further expanded upon in relat ion to the host i l i ty shown to those companies who lack ' s o u l ' and hard core representation. The independent retailers showed little regard for companies that try to buy authenticity and are more concerned 100 w i th the bottom l ine. Th i s is reflected by the f o l l ow ing surf retai ler 's comments , "I th ink in terms o f Vancouver stores we are the on l y legit imate surf s h o p " ( R- l , Dan). A c o m m o n theme in the interviews was that surfers want to purchase surf products f rom someone who is passionate about the sport and act ive ly practices it, as i l lustrated by the f o l l o w i n g retai lers' statement: I think it is a key element too that people have to be able to come in and see the board up on the ce i l i ng . . .People don ' t want to go into a department store to buy their surf wear. They want it to be k n o w n that people se l l ing it to them are k i n d o f act ively invo lved as we l l . (R-3, Co l i n ) S imi la r l y , a surf brand representative acknowledged the importance o f d istr ibut ing to core shops, "It is good to have your product in.the right stores. That is the most successful market ing that you can have when you have your target market wear ing your product " (B-5, Leanne). In order to ef fect ive ly appeal to the authentic group o f surfers, in addit ion to targeting the masses, it is important for a retailer to supply surf hard goods. Su r f hard goods are surf-themed products that are considered essential requirements to practice the sport o f surf ing inc lud ing : sur fboards , wetsuits, rash guards, surf booties, g loves, hoods, and surf wax . The f o l l ow ing quote illustrates the profound strength o f the core surfer to the retailer, " Y o u have to sell the Sex W a x behind the counter w i th the combs to comb the wax on , even though 1 0 % o f our customers might buy i t " (R-3, Co l i n ) . A retailer defines a core surfer by his/her commitment to the sport as fo l lows , " A real core surfer is someone who is surf ing at least every weekend i f not more, and probably l i v i n g on the Island, or m o v i n g somewhere to do i t " (R-2, Phi l ) . C o l i n relayed the importance o f 101 securing consumer loya l ty o f core surfers as fo l lows : "It is def in i te ly about appeal ing to the authentic surf group. It is a spin o f f f rom there. It seems that i f it gets accepted there, it seems to go to the masses" (R -3 , Co l i n ) . Four out o f f ive owners o f surf businesses interv iewed carried surf hard goods or a select ion o f surf rentals. Th i s i l lustrates the importance o f targeting those who actual ly surf, in addit ion to, those who w o u l d l i ke to surf, and those who are commit ted to consuming surf-themed products and thereby, p rov id ing the consumer w i t h an authentic retail environment. There is a risk o f los ing one's authenticity wh i l e expanding surf c lo th ing to the mass market. A retailer commented on the al ienat ion male consumers felt f o l l o w i n g a store's transformation: W e ' r e actual ly scar ing our male cl ientele now. They are com ing in go ing 'I thought you guys used to be a surf store and now you ' re a l l c lo th ing ' and we ' re go ing ' N o ! N o ! Downsta i rs is a l l hard goods ! ' . . .1 th ink that side o f the business people are actual ly th ink ing now that we ' re not such an authentic surf store anymore. (R - 3 , Co l i n ) There is a f ine l ine between market ing authenticity and se l l ing out to the masses. It seems equal ly important to represent the g row ing women ' s market i n surf ing wear whi ls t p rov id ing the surfers w i th an authentic retai l environment. Th i s was acknowledged b y a surf brand that wanted to change its market pos i t ion without compromis ing its image: [The brands owners] want to see it expand more g lobal ly . [They want to] encompass the globe more [and] they don' t want to be k n o w n just as a surf brand, and yet they don' t want to lose their roots as a core surf brand. (B - 5 , Leanne) 102 4.7 Link between Identity, Lifestyles, and Consumption One o f the recurrent themes I found in the interv iew responses to questions about surf ing l i festyles was focused around the concept o f youthfulness. Sur f ing and the consumpt ion o f surf ing products are not age speci f ic , instead they are l inked to an image o f youthfulness wh i ch is more about one 's mental i ty and attitude, be ing a participant and leading an active l i festyle. The concept o f youthfulness was understood to a l l ow w o m e n o f a l l ages to ident i fy w i th the surf l i festyle. L i a m , a surf brand representative stated this b y say ing, " [ You ] don ' t have to be young to be you th fu l " ( B - l , L i am) . Somet imes the category " j u n i o r " is misconstrued as synonymous w i th youth. The idea is to market to a " youth fu l audience" (R-2, Phi l ) and the image o f retaining a carefree l i festyle. The surf ing culture creates a new site for identity format ion for female participants. A s one surfer a f f i rmed, "I th ink about surf ing al l the t ime. It's not the on l y thing that is important i n m y l i fe but it is very important and I guess it w o u l d help define who I am and what I d o " (S-5, Stephanie). He r commitment to the surf l i festy le was an organ iz ing pr inc ip le i n the maintenance and expression o f her self-identity. A s a surfer conceded, " su r f i ng is not something you do one day and then stop do ing . . .it is more o f a l i festy le th ing than anything e lse " ( S- l , Kendra ) . In the quest for a sense o f identity, a surf retailer acknowledged the sensibi l i t ies employed in consumpt ion patterns and l i festy le practices: To a certain extent you w i l l have people who hook into any trend. . .people who l i ke to perceive themselves that way and sometimes the cart can come before the horse. Somet imes the search for identity w i l l dr ive them into be ing a r isk taker and sometimes it is the other way around. The k i d is natural ly the r isk taker and 103 they tend to be the style and inf luence leaders. People who natural ly gravitate towards the style just because i t 's who they are [and] what they l ike . A n d the other k ids who see that team rider and want to look l ike h i m , act l i ke h i m , be l i ke h i m and they ' l l buy the products that sponsor h i m . (R - 4 , Scott) Scott i l lustrated the difference between men and women when us ing sur f style as a means o f adopting surf ing identity. The preceding quotat ion gives attention to those who emulate team riders through their consumpt ion activit ies. The search for an ident i ty involves the consumpt ion o f products that are l inked to a surf i con and by adopt ing these elements one develops an increased sense o f self-identity. W h i l e role models are a part o f women ' s surf ing, w o m e n are more connected to the l i festy le than the current i con representing it as Scott indicated: The w o m e n haven't necessari ly had those same super strong role mode ls . . . R o x y wanted the generic R o x y g i r l to be that person. . . .Women are a l itt le more interested w i th the experience than w i th I want to be exact ly l ike her. . . .They w o u l d market a l i festyle and a qual i ty o f l i fe . (R - 4 , Scott) A c c o r d i n g to the interviewees, the image beh ind surf ing advocates a part icular l i festy le: healthy, l i v i n g on the ocean, be ing on the water. Th i s image is what keeps the industry so strong. The market ing o f this l i festy le captures the imaginat ion o f females and enables them to draw on selective elements o f surf style i n their expression o f self- identity. A surf brand representative acknowledged the adopt ion o f sur f ing identity through consumpt ion : 104 I w o u l d say that is very prevalent. . .especial ly i n a place l ike Canada. The best way to exp la in it is that we ' re a snowboard nation or a sk i nation that does a l itt le bit o f surf that wants to act l i ke we ' re surfers.. .1 w o u l d say 9 0 % o f the people i n Canada that wear any surf brand are non-surfers.. . [We are] a brand name that identif ies w i th surf ing and that is w h y people want to buy it to be a part o f it so they can pretend l i ke they are a part o f i t . . . .It is for sure 1 0 0 % based on people. Wha t they wear is their un i fo rm or their identity to who they want to be or what they want to be a part o f and right now I think that un i fo rm, the l i festy le un i f o rm is a very popular one. (B-2, Jason) In this quote Jason acknowledges the appeal o f the l i festy le ensemble or ' u n i f o r m ' i n the creation o f one's self-identity. Th i s supports a process o f d i f fus ion as surf wear is commerc ia l i zed for mass consumpt ion and enables consumers to ident i fy w i th the act o f surf ing without actual ly be ing surfers themselves. One o f the brands i n the study is often ident i f ied as a surf brand; however , its m i ss ion as def ined by the manufacturer is to be a g lobal teenage l i festy le brand. Jacky acknowledged the importance o f brand identities i n the expression o f people 's self-identities. One o f the brand's mottos is f reedom o f choice wh i ch means that you don ' t have to be a part o f any one group. Y o u can choose who you want to be. Y o u can choose what you want to wear. W e w o u l d l i ke you to choose [our brand] but we don ' t bel ieve i n the un i fo rm, [being a] top to bot tom brand. (B-3, Jacky) U n l i k e the other surf brands i n the study that pr ided themselves on dressing the consumer head to toe i n branded gear, this brand was posi t ioned to capita l ize on people assembl ing their o w n ensembles f rom a var iety o f brands. Jacky also acknowledged that 105 young gir ls create a sense o f personal and group identity through.their purchases and l i festyle choices. When you are a young person you first start to real ize that you are an independent ind iv idua l i n the universe. In order to fo rm who you are you connect w i th a group. Sur f ing now has become a group. It is a very loose ly aff i l iated group but by virtue o f these brands creating c loth ing, they bas ica l l y say ' come j o i n us, buy our c loth ing, be part o f what we stand for ' . E spec ia l l y for young women who are searching very early for what group they want to identity w i th . (B-3, Jacky) 4.8 Diffusion of Surf Lifestyles and Products into the Mainstream W i t h the g row ing number o f women surf ing, the surf industry appears to be undergoing a rev i ta l izat ion as a result o f the increased consumpt ion o f surf products b y surfers and mainstream consumers. The appeal o f the surf industry to mainstream consumers was ment ioned by Jacky, who noted that " [The surf l i festy le appeals to] the major i ty o f youth who never get near a beach. It has captured the imaginat ion o f y o u t h " (B-3, Jacky) . Leanne, another surf brand representative, suggested that w o m e n are changing the appearance o f the surf products market, "There is huge growth i n the retai l market o f gir ls who want to surf. . .G i r l s now make more money. They are not as restricted so they def in i te ly want to spend more o f their income as w e l l " (B-5, Leanne). In the midst o f these market changes, young women have emerged as an increas ingly important sub segment. Leanne suggested that it was the teenage populat ion that drove the surf trend forwards: The who le mainstream aspect o f it is teen-generated i n retai l , in market ing, [and] in fashion. It was t ime for [teens] to make [a] statement that was new and f resh . . . [The surf trend] was there and ready and had not been explo i ted yet. The teens own that look and that is what has become more mainstream about it. (B-5, Leanne) Certa in trends emerged throughout this study that appear to be contr ibut ing to the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles and products into the mainstream. It was w ide l y suggested that surf wear is popular nat ionwide and that anyone can wear it. Jason, a surf brand representative acknowledged that the Canadian surf wear industry is relat ively smal l scale but has created quite a f o l l o w i n g here in Canada: Canada 's surf industry in compar ison to the Un i t ed States [pause] i t 's hard because you can't go on numbers because our per capita basis. W e are the size o f Ca l i f o rn i a right, 30 m i l l i o n people rough ly . . .Cons ider ing our c l imate and consider ing our access ib i l i ty to surf ing and our populat ion I wou ld say that the penetration o f surf ing and l i festy le is huge! (B-2, Jason) Leanne acknowledged the uniqueness o f Canada 's surf industry: There is more o f a ma l l presence i n Canada i n particular. Y o u are not go ing to see that so m u c h in Ca l i f o rn i a [where] people tend to st i l l shop in surf stores. The idea o f surf culture in Canada is more about fashion and is more mainstream because we don ' t ' rea l ly have a huge surf area aside f rom Ha l i f ax and To f i no . There is a huge surf l i festy le fashion-generated movement in between those two shores that has noth ing to do w i th whether you surf or not. (B-5, Leanne) 107 Several factors were ment ioned by the surf brand representatives as contr ibut ing to the d i f fus ion o f surf ing identities and I b r i e f l y discuss four o f them: (i) the coolness factor; (ii) the industry; ( i i i ) women-speci f ic market ing and sales; and (iv) market ing to jun io r consumers. /. The 'Coolness'Factor The interviewees general ly felt that the surf l i festy le exhibits an element o f 'coolness', and a surfer p roc la imed that this image o f coo l is what attracts gir ls to the surf ing l i festyles: R ight now in this k i n d o f surf craze it w o u l d def in i te ly be the c loth ing or the image o f the idea o f coo l , and surf ing is def in i te ly marketed as very appeal ing right now. I w o u l d say that w o u l d in i t i a l l y attract w o m e n or young women . (S-4, A n n ) A surf brand representative acknowledged that the surf l i festy le is appeal ing to non-surfers as w e l l , " Peop le get a good fee l ing about it whether they surf or not. Su r f wear is a l l part o f that fee l ing o f escaping everyday stress and be ing i n touch w i th the ocean, the beach, [and] nature" ( B - l , L i am) . A retailer suggested that the fasc inat ion w i th the surf culture is unique i n that people st i l l ident i fy w i th the l i festy le, " E v e n i f they never surfed [before] they k n o w that they w o u l d l i ke i t . . .There is something about it, i t ' s rea l ly a different deal and for some reason or another it just a lways has a coo l feel to i t" (R -2 , Ph i l ) . A s i l lustrated, this enthrallment w i th surf culture has triggered the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles and products into the mainstream. 108 A surf retailer expla ined that the consumpt ion o f surf products enables the consumer to ident i fy w i th the surf l i festyle. I th ink because it makes them feel l ike they can be a part o f that [lifestyle] even though they are not, they actual ly can feel l ike they cou ld be. Even wear ing the clothes and seeing the advertisements makes them feel a l itt le closer to it even though they don ' t actual ly get to do it. (R-5, Suzy) A commona l i t y expressed in the interviews was that the consumpt ion o f surf products eventual ly draws consumers to the water. Th i s fascinat ion w i th the surf culture has become a part o f their identity and it is on l y a matter o f t ime before they crossover f rom consumers to actual surfers. A loca l surfer acknowledged the ' coo lness ' factor as a reason w h y teens and pre-teens su r f It's coo l , that is w h y teens and pre-teens surf . . . [They] got to have the nicest, coolest hard-core surf c lo th ing . . .This demographic is extremely important. [They] may very w e l l be tomorrow 's surfers. These women may keep surf ing. It's a cyc le - [ i f they] start young may become a l i festyle. (S-1, Kendra) A c c o r d i n g to one surfer, " the female professional surfer has increased the awareness for women ' s s u r f i n g " and has been important i n mainta in ing "the coo l image " (S-3, B rooke) . The female professional surfer gives gir ls something to aspire to and has helped dif fuse the sur f l i festy le to the mainstream. ii. The industry A n emerging theme in the interviews was that surf fashion is entering into the fashion industry, and the interviewees acknowledged the interactive and cross- 109 promot ional effects o f mus ic , mov ies , art, and fashion. A retailer suggested that this trend is apparent in market ing promot iona l campaigns comb in ing the movement o f brands w i th that o f mus ic and art. It is becoming , we ca l l it the industry. It is al l starting to get ro l led into one. . .music , mov ie , f i l m , te lev is ion . . .They are a l l starting to pu l l into there too. . .high fashion. There are companies that know i f you get something on mov i e . . .you have created a trend. (R-4, Scott) The interviews revealed that this combined approach to art, mus ic , l i festyle, and culture has demonstrated the crossover effect o f 'board culture'. The industry is a plat form for the surf skate snow l i festyle and where fashion, art, and mus ic intersect; consequently, the surf l i festy le has d i f fused to the masses at an accelerated rate. One brand representative attributed their success to this relat ionship. " T h e success o f [our brand] b l o w i n g up so qu i ck l y is because [we] went thru the mus ic channels and that appeals to every k i d ' . (B-3, Jacky) The coolness factor and the industry were inter l inked in the sense that the sur f l i festy le and al l things Ca l i f o rn i a are marketed as coo l . It was suggested that one can be 'cooler' b y consuming surf themed products and surf media . Th is image has increased the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles and products into the mainstream as demonstrated in the f o l l ow ing brand representative's comments. There is a large inf luence f rom the mus ic industry because that is in i tse l f coo l and k ids watch M T V , and they l isten to the mus ic and look at what they are do ing , and what they are wear ing so that wou ld be a very good example o f cross- market ing. (B -2 , Jason) 110 iii. Women-Specific Marketing and Sales a. The development of women's surf stores and/or expansion of women's lines at existing retail stores. The retail interviewees conceded that increased consumer interest in women ' s surf wear and i n the surf brands market has lead to the development o f women ' s spec i f ic surf stores and/or expansion o f women ' s l ines at ex is t ing stores. M a n y o f these expansions were occurr ing dur ing m y data co l lec t ion per iod. It seemed that w o m e n were d r i v ing these changes, and that women were the 'must have ' consumer. A s a retail store owner suggested: " W e real ized we are total ly focus ing on the wrong market " (R-3, Co l i n ) . Th is retailer was in the process o f opening a women ' s speci f ic store. S imi l a r l y , G r i f f i n (2003) has noted that the strength o f women as consumers and as decision-makers i n their f am i l y ' s purchas ing decis ions has inf luenced retailers to change their store environments to better suit their buy ing needs. The trend towards w o m e n w i l l continue because women buy s ign i f i cant ly more c lo th ing and other items than men . . .G i r l s are now c o m i n g into core surf shops and spending money. So from a space standpoint, expanding the women ' s offer ings is just smart business. L o o k i n g at retai l , you see that stores now have a better understanding o f how to merchandise products and better capital ize on this dynamic . . ..Retailers are pay ing attention to how gir ls shop and are now creating an environment for them that is he lp ing the jun iors business to f lour ish , (p. 28) The interviews and the observations I made o f retail spaces support the conc lus ion that retailers are re-orienting their retail spaces to support the increased demand for women ' s surf wear and surf fashions. The retail spaces demonstrated numerous changes I l l i nc lud ing opening separate stores or sections that spec i f i ca l l y cater to the female consumer, the introduct ion o f women's-spec i f ic product l ines, and increased representation o f ma in women ' s brands. A sur f retailer acknowledged these market changes: A previous buyer . . .helped to grow the female side o f the market to the point where i n soft goods it was equal to the men 's in our store.. .It is a lways thought [of as] a guys sport ing goods store that gir ls can come to. W e l l we reached a point . . .where we were carry ing easi ly as much women ' s [product] as men 's i n the summer l ines. (R-4, Scott) S imi l a r l y , the f o l l ow ing surf retai ler 's comments h ighl ight some o f the related changes geared to the female consumer: W e split our store in ha l f this summer [2003] to make it a more comfortable shopping environment for w o m e n . . .We have female buyers instead o f male buyers buy ing female products. (R-4, Scott) These surf stores were predominant ly owned b y men and they acknowledged one c o m m o n variable in expanding their business, " G u y ' s can't start up a g i r l ' s store. Y o u need gir ls to make the dec i s ions " ( R - l , Dan) . These retail changes have been fueled by the introduct ion o f new labels or expansions o f ex is t ing l ines at the brand leve l . A commona l i t y amongst interviewees is the importance o f hav ing young w o m e n mak ing buy i ng decis ions. Interviewees stated that women tend to have superior trend knowledge as revealed by a surf retailer, " W e do put it a l l in the hands o f the gir ls that are w o r k i n g here too. They tend to have their f ingers on the pulse t o o " (R-3, Co l i n ) . H e also suggested that emp loy ing w o m e n in retail creates a comfortable shopping experience. 112 " W e are rea l iz ing that when women come in to look at women ' s fashions they are much more comfortable ta lk ing to other w o m e n " (R-3, Co l i n ) . These retail changes have encouraged the d i f fus ion o f surf ing l i festyles and products into the mainstream. b. Increased growth in women and girls surf wear businesses. The interviewees felt that trends in consumpt ion patterns among women and young gir ls in the sport marketplace have triggered brand expansions in the l i festyle sport marketplace. A surf brand representative suggested that women have contributed to the bottom l ine o f surf wear businesses, " just as far as contr ibut ing to extra dol lars that weren' t otherwise there". He commented on the growth o f this market and its effect on the popular i ty o f women ' s surf wear: The women ' s sport market . . . in general i n sport whether it be golf , hockey , sk i ing , ' its general appeal, tennis, running, yoga, its def in i te ly a huge growth market. I th ink companies are starting to understand.. .everything women ' s spec i f i c . . .that type o f consumer wants to be ident i f ied w i th and they want to have something that is technica l ly better for them. . .So w o m e n fit into it in the sense that it is a huge growth market right now and they are demanding to be marketed towards and they are p rov ing that they should be marketed towards because they are spending the money. (B-2, Jason) Some o f the pioneer surf brands are now deve lop ing jun io r (female) l ines to satisfy a g row ing demand in this market. It seems to be a natural progression for these brands to offer a qual i ty product to the female consumer as T r i sh relayed: 113 I just think there was noth ing out there. [We were] rea l ly the first company to focus on women ' s board sport c lo th ing l i ke women ' s board shorts. U p unt i l then there was nothing out there and I th ink they just felt it was just a natural progression for them to offer the same k i nd o f qual i ty product to the women . (B- 4, Tr ish) The interviewees suggested that surf wear manufacturers are seeing increased economic prosperity w i th their female l ines as surf l i festyles and products are d i f fused into the mainstream. Su r f wear has mainstream appeal for several reasons as h igh l ighted by a sur f brand representative, " [ You ] don' t have to be a surfer to wear the c loth ing. [You] don' t have to be a phys ica l surfer to feel you want to be part o f the surf scene" (B- 1, L iam) . Th is increased growth in women and gir ls surf wear businesses appeared to be contr ibut ing to the d i f fus ion o f surf ing l i festyles into the mainstream. One retailer contradicted the inf luence o f surf businesses and suggested that the increased number o f w o m e n surf ing is what propel led the market ing o f surf products. I w o u l d say one was rea l ly dr iven by the other and . . .that the market ing came afterwards. The market ing k i nd o f went 'hey wait a minute, there is this coo l trend go ing on. Let 's j u m p on i t ' . . .They just hopped on the bandwagon. . .more than they have dr iven it. In the R o x y case wh i ch is an anomaly because they.. .built it w i th just the R o x y g i r l , the generic image o f this young, vibrant al ive person who is out do ing things. I w o u l d say that they are not pushing it bigger. So i f you were to look at the market l i fecyc le you w o u l d say that the market natural ly drove i tse l f to a certain point or the popular i ty o f the sport and the market was behind it i f you were to over lay the two l i fecyc les the market 114 was behind it. But now it 's not plateau but it is increasing at a decreasing rate. So now I think the R o x y ' s and the B i l l abong ' s and al l these are go ing to dr ive it into another growth sport. So now they w o u l d be responsible for a lot more o f the growth and the saturation, not just growth. (R-4, Scott) These comments chal lenge the v i ew that marketers were responsible for the changes and support the preeminent role o f surfers themselves in the exp los ion o f surf l i festyles and products to the mainstream. Ye t , the inf luence o f the surf wear businesses was we l l supported throughout m y analysis and constitutes a l i k e l y contributor to the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles. c. Development of women's specific products (surfboards, wet suits, rash guards) and/or changed technologies. The pattern o f d i f fus ion o f women ' s surf products appears to be cyc l i ca l . Increases i n the number o f women ' s and g i r l ' s surf wear manufacturers and marketers appear to have contributed to the development o f women ' s spec i f ic surf products wh i ch in turn, has encouraged more women to surf result ing in a larger market wh i ch attracts more manufacturers. A surfer suggested that " su r f i ng was real ly marketed to females"(S- 5, Stephanie), and another surfer ident i f ied these changes as opening up the sport to more women : I wou ld just say it makes surf ing more accessible to women. In the board size alone, it is very hard to carry i f you can't fit the board under your arm. A n d it is very awkward . . . i f you have to carry it on your head or i n some peoples ' cases i f you have to get your guy fr iend to carry it for you. It is very frustrating to learn 115 when you don' t have equipment that is not fitted to your body. I guess it w o u l d help create an identity because you wou ld keep surf ing. (S-3, B rooke ) One surfer revealed that some w o m e n m a y not appreciate the technologica l advancements in women ' s surf hard goods i f they d id not surf through the change, "I think i f you are already a surfer, you w i l l be more comfortable in the water because we used to wear guys wetsuits. People who don' t surf they wou ldn ' t real ly k n o w the d i f fe rence" ( S- l , Kendra) . Th is quote provides evidence o f some changes focus ing on enhancing the experience for the actual surfers wh i l e other developments concentrate on the mainstream consumer. A surf brand representative be l ieved that improvements in technology have made surf ing more accessible to women . Techno logy changes have impacted the number o f women surf ing b y do ing Research and Deve lopment and by hav ing products that are women's-spec i f i c it w o u l d certainly encourage more women to get invo lved and ut i l ize equipment that wou ld help them do the sport better. (B-2, Jason) A surf brand representative demonstrated the importance o f female professional surfers i n product development: L i s a Ande rson is a wo r l d champion. [She is a] very accompl ished surfer and has been integral i n he lp ing to design a lot o f the pieces i n our l ine so that the result is products that are both funct ional and also fashionable. (B -4, Tr ish) T r i sh acknowledged the strength and penetration o f a pioneer surf brand. [We focus on] be ing as proactive as possible in g row ing the l ine b y pract ic ing a progressive style o f dressing active gir ls for a l l facets o f l i f e . . .1 th ink they rea l ly 116 pride themselves on the connect ion w i th the Junior customer. . .they are progressive but they try to embrace a l l the elements o f l i fe w i th their c lo th ing . . .So there is a lot o f product . . .It is almost l i ke you can't think o f almost anything that a young gi r l w o u l d want that we don' t produce. (B-4, Tr ish) She reveals that pioneer surf brands have targeted both the masses and the actual surfers i n their product developments. These changed technologies have made surf ing more accessible to women , in addit ion to mak ing the surf l i festyle more avai lable to the masses. The result o f this d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles and products is that more gir ls and women are embrac ing the who le surf experience. d. Marketing to junior consumers Last ly , the interviewees also documented the importance o f securing the interest o f the jun io r consumer. A retailer revealed that the jun io r consumer is appeal ing to marketers for the purposes o f securing brand loyalty. " T h e y def in i te ly market early to try and get brand loya l ty . . .and they market d i rect ly to the younger consumer hop ing that the brand loya l ty w i l l carry over" (R -4 , Scott). Furthermore, Jason acknowledged the importance o f ga in ing the support o f the jun io r consumer in order to secure its brands miss ion , " to be the #1 sur f brand; as far as its penetration i n the market as far as people 's brand awareness" (B-2, Jason) A retailer also commented on the brand loya l ty that some brands generate: There is some serious brand loya l ty out there and you can ca l l it loyal ty , bra in washing, whatever you l ike . [The marketers] have done their job we l l and hooked it in hard and most o f the t ime they have to do it through a look. They 117 can't total ly cheat. There are some companies that just p i ck out a team even before they have any products because they go 'these four guys are super coo l , i f they wear it, we can sel l i t ' . . .So you are go ing to see poss ib ly the growth o f that in the ladies industry where it hasn't been that before. Y o u w i l l see some new companies that w i l l probably try and do exact ly what the guys have done. . .and attach more icons to see i f that works . (R-4, Scott) The brand-related interviews showed that the tactics used to secure the attention o f the young gi r l consumer are dependent on the brand and often reflect the surf l i festy le . A retailer noted that the appeal o f the sur f l i festy le is often the foca l point o f a brand 's market ing campaign. " T h e who le fun beach k i nd o f attitude that they are market ing so we l l in al l their literature [and] even al l the hang tags that come on their c lo th ing [are] a l l about young k ids hav ing fun at the beach " (R-3, Co l i n ) . It was c o m m o n l y cited that the younger generation w i l l wear a certain brand based on their identity. A s a surf brand representative suggested: I think that i n Canada and again it w o u l d come f rom the younger k ids because they are much more educated consumers. They are more speci f ic . I mean i f you are a hard-core skateboard guy, you w o u l d probably wear V o l c o m c loth ing. V o l c o m is a pretty edgy core brand. Qu iks i l v e r and B i l l abong I wou ldn ' t say are core brands. I mean they are and they aren't. In the general perspective o f that educated consumer they aren't coo l enough. (B-2, Jason) S imi la r l y , another retailer i l lustrated the same theme but focused on the female consumer: 118 They w i l l come in and want a l l R o x y . I love Ro xy . I hear them al l w a l k i n g around the store 'I love R o x y ' and T just love R o x y ' and they are wear ing R o x y and. . .then you w i l l have other people that come in and say 'we l l I don ' t wear R o x y . I on l y wear B i l l abong because R o x y is very g i r l y ' . So then you get the one step back from that the ones who refuse to go quite that g i r l y and they l i ke the B i l l a b o n g and the O ' N e i l l and that is more the sport g i r l , [they] are actual ly more the real surfer gir ls . (R-5, Suzy) A surf brand representative bel ieved that a brands ' popular i ty is also typ ica l l y affected b y its basic design. A lot has to do w i th color , tit, and design. I f someone sees a design they l i ke and a brand they recognize, they w i l l buy it. [In] certain times when certain brands are more popular than others, [it] has to do w i th the designs the company has, the value the company offers, [and] market ing that they are do ing. ( B - l , L i a m ) A retailer suggested that as surf l i festyles and products are di f fused into the mainstream and young women and gir ls are increas ingly targeted by brand marketers, one must be exceedingly cautious when approaching this younger demographic . Ma rke t ing towards the young customer y o u can make huge mistakes. Y o u can shoot yourse l f in the foot just l ike that. I w o u l d rather do nothing and have them s l ow l y start to bu i l d [up and] have them come in , have a good experience and then next t ime they come in do a l itt le better. (R-2, Ph i l ) The interviews revealed that surf brands are more proactive in their market ing campaigns; however , they often change their tone to capture the female pre-teen and teen consumer. Th i s is exempl i f i ed by the f o l l o w i n g surf brand representative's comments : 119 [Pre-teens and teens] are very educated in how they want to buy and what they want so we are certainly adapting and t ry ing to always be one step ahead. . .1 wou ld say that the market ing strategy is a lways chang ing . . .In order to be successful you a lways have to be adaptable in f igur ing out ways to reach them better. (B-2, Jason) Another brand representative revealed that socia l groups often inf luence youths purchase decis ions and that these groups are constantly evo lv ing . In elementary school the group you hook up w i th real ly dictates what you are go ing to buy. Suddenly your group decides, it is l i ke a col lect ive unconsciousness, that this is coo l and this is what we are go ing to buy and it just filters d o w n . . . [Style] changes just l i ke that and w i th gir ls it changes more qu i ck l y than it does w i th boys. (B-3, Jacky) 4.9 Role of Media in the Diffusion of Surf Lifestyles A s a f inal condi t ion , the med ia were perceived by the interviewees as contr ibut ing to the growth in interest about surf ing and to the d i f fus ion o f sur f ing l i festyles. Depict ions o f sur f ing were widespread in the media dur ing m y data co l lec t ion per iod. A s G r f f i n (2003b) wrote at the t ime: It is un l i ke l y consumers cou ld have missed al l o f the surf ing in the mainstream media this summer [2003]. In addit ion to ' Boa rd ing House : No r th Shore ' and M T V ' s ' S u r f G i r l s ' , there was Fox te lev is ion garnering a hit w i th 'The O . C ' . . .wh ich is heav i l y inf luenced by the current fascinat ion w i th the surf l i festyle, (p. 24) 120 Other examples o f the g row ing presence o f sur f ing was the release o f women ' s on l y surf v ideos, the addit ion o f surf ing to the Summer X Games [in 2003] , the presence o f surf ing in pop culture (in mus ic videos and H o l l y w o o d movies) , and the emergence o f surf trends on runways and w i th non-surf companies (G r i f f i n , 2003b). It was increasingly evident that surf ing intersected w i th fashion and mus ic at an augmented rate throughout this t ime period. Further evidence o f this connect ion was evident at the M T V Teen Cho i ce A w a r d s i n wh i ch award recipients received a su r fboa rd as their t rophy for w inn ing their respective award category. T r i sh , a brand representative o f a g loba l l y acc la imed surf brand credited the med ia w i th a lot o f the growth in the surf products industry. I th ink it has to do w i th a lot o f the med ia and the way that the surf brands have become so popular and gir ls are wear ing the stuff, and then they want to actual ly be part o f the l i festy le , and then B lue C rush that came out last year, and there is more surfer v ideos and T V shows and it is sort o f inf i l t rat ing into the mainstream now. (B-4, Tr ish) Another brand representative credited the med ia w i th changing the l i festyles o f women : It is rea l ly a market generated w o r l d . . . The ad campaigns that you see are al l targeted [and] these campaigns have been so successful . W o m e n are becoming m u c h more outgoing and adventurous, confident and independent because that is the image that is be ing portrayed [by the media that it is] what women in this era are l ike . (B-5, Leanne) 121 /. Print media W i t h the rise in popular med ia portrayals o f women ' s surf ing as an empower ing act iv i ty (e.g., the f i l m " B l u e Crush) , it is not surpr is ing that print med ia are f o l l o w i n g this same trend. A n examinat ion o f surf ing publ icat ions demonstrated that w o m e n are be ing targeted b y new surf ing magazines that send empower ing messages to women . Th i s makes sense, because, as Boo th (2001) indicates " S i l ence is a fo rm o f discouragement, and the l im i ted coverage o f w o m e n in tradit ional male-dominated surf ing magazines effect ive ly denied them access to 'the symbo l i c resources needed to ident i fy as su r fe r s ' " (p. 13). In order to mainta in c i rcu lat ion these magazines need to gain readership and reach the female consumer i n a meaningfu l way. Su r f Snow Skate G i r l magaz ine ( SG ) prev ious ly k n o w n as Sur f ing G i r l magazine is a successful example o f this approach and is qu i ck l y becoming the g i r l s ' source for the surf/snow/skate/lifestyle industry. A regular reading o f S G dur ing this t ime per iod reflected some o f the themes that were prevalent in m y study. I rout ine ly rev iewed S G magaz ine f rom its in i t iat ion i n October o f 2002 and throughout m y data analysis. The placement o f advertisements revealed a consistent order over t ime. The esteemed brands w o u l d place their advertisements near the covers and in the first few pages o f the publ ica t ion . These brands general ly appeared i n the same order f rom month to month and they w o u l d be i n one o f three forms: an action shot, a product placement ad, or a l i festy le image. B y sw i t ch ing f rom an act ion shot to a l i festy le image, it was apparent that these brands were equal ly targeting both the surfers and non-surfers i n their advertisements. Th i s cou ld be a part o f the brand's market ing strategy as a surf brand representative suggested that, " L i f e s t y l e shots as opposed to core gir ls surf ing are go ing to sel l more products " (B-5, Leanne) . 122 Furthermore, these advertisements almost a lways inc luded web l inks that enabled the reader to gain immediate access to the brand's web site. A s Leanne revealed, "I don ' t think any company that wants to get their product out there g loba l l y can do without the internet" (B-5, Leanne). Another noticeable trend was the relat ionship between surf ing, surf fashions and mus ic . Furthermore, the crossover between board sports was supported in that the crossover l i festyle was i l lustrated throughout the pages. Th i s publ icat ion part icular ly appealed to young gir ls and demonstrated editorial strategies u t i l i zed in other gir l- oriented magazines (e.g. C o s m o G I R L , Seventeen, and Teen Vogue ) i nc lud ing fashion trends, beauty tips, boys, and horoscopes. Th i s magazine targets consumers who are fascinated w i th the casual, beach l i festy le who may not subscribe to any core print publ icat ion. A s a retailer suggested, " A l l these companies l i ke R o x y , Qu iks i l v e r even through the surf magazines and al l that, they are real ly targeting that younger c r o w d " (R- 3, Co l i n ) . A surf brand representative suggested that market ing strategies are spec i f ic to the demographic be ing targeted: Our ad strategy [is to] appeal to Y o u t h . Create some react ion, a response.. .Three elements [in our print ad campaigns] : recognizable team rider, c lassic surf shot, and something total ly out there.. .W i th ads you have to take your step apart f rom other companies . . .the k ids are the ones buy ing the surf magazines. ( B - l , L i am ) H e suggested the f o l l o w i n g as characteristics o f print ads that are more geared to women , " The ads for women are more for the c lo th ing [and] advertised in Sur f ing G i r l [name o f S G unti l September 2002]. [There are] no spec i f ic wetsuit ads" ( B - l , L i am) . A 123 compet ing brand revealed, "I th ink the tone is more feminine. It is st i l l the same l i festyle. Y o u k n o w st i l l sort o f the same image just more f em in ine " (B-4, Tr ish) . Jacky acknowledged product placement as be ing more effective i n g i r l s ' magazines: W e are do ing a lot o f product placement w i th the magazines. If you read the articles they talk about what 's hot, what 's not, what 's cool in c loth ing and so [our brand] is getting placement in addit ion to putt ing ads i n the magazines. Product placement seems to be more effective as gir ls can search in stores for that particular product. The readership o f Teen People is 1.6 m i l l i o n so we have great exposure. M o r e exposure means more gir ls buy ing our product. (B-3, Jacky) Several Vancouve r Sun articles publ ished after the release o f B l ue C rush indicated that L o w e r M a i n l a n d retailers were benef i t ing f rom the increased appeal o f the surf culture and suggested that the film's release had an explos ive effect on the popular i ty o f beach wear i n general (K la f fe , 2002 ; Leeming , 2002). Furthermore, these articles gave attention to women surfers and the loca l B C surf scene. A surf retailer noted the h igh v i s ib i l i t y o f surf ing in the loca l print med ia at the t ime. E ve ry t ime you p ick up either a Georg i a Straight or a B C I T ad it has a surfer on it. L o o k at an ad for the P lenty store, it has a g i r l duck-div ing, that has noth ing to do w i th Plenty. E ve r y image out there is copy ing the surf l i festyle. (R-2, Ph i l ) //. Electronic Media Improved technologies have helped photographers capture v i v i d in-water shots o f surf ing that enable the audience to share the experience o f the surfer. Th i s rea l ism 124 coupled w i th the rise in popular med ia portrayals o f women ' s surf ing as an empower ing act iv i ty have had an incred ib ly pos i t ive effect on the image o f the sport and as a result, have further increased its popular i ty . Un i ve rsa l ' s B lue C rush was pos i t ive ly received by the mainstream press in their reviews and made respectable returns at the box off ices. Surfer magazine suggested that B lue C rush had effect ively captured women ' s surf ing. B lue Crush - the story o f a young gi r l surfer struggl ing to prove hersel f on the No r th Shore wh i l e f ind ing love in the process - is , in actuality, mere ly a series o f scenes l i f ted almost d i rect ly f rom other H o l l y w o o d surf mov ies . . .But despite its complete lack o f or ig ina l i ty , B l ue C rush does capture something that a l l these previous surf pictures fa i led to: an inspirat ional v i ta l i ty , embodied b y today's l iberated female surfers. H o w appropriate that after 40 years o f thinly-vei led m i sogyny and male-dominated portrayals o f the sport, it took a f i l m about g i r l surfers to provide this (George, 2002). M a n y o f the surfers I interv iewed acknowledged the mov ie as be ing representative o f what it feels l i ke to surf. " V e r y real is t ic . . .girls he ld back by fear. [I] l i ked the fact that the gir ls were do ing the teach ing" (S-4, Ann ) . Another surfer l i ked the surf ing but d is l iked the plot. r I want to hate it but I love it. I l i ked the surf footage. They d id an excel lent job o f capturing what it felt l i ke to be on a wave to capturing what it felt l i ke to be under a wave and just the water. . .the sound o f the water. Y o u cou ld feel it. I hated the H o l l y w o o d story. . .poor portrayal o f surf ing culture by adding the romance aspect. (S-3, B rooke ) A c o m m o n theme expressed in the interviews was that B lue C rush had increased the popular i ty o f surf fashions and had drawn more young gir ls to surf. A surfer stated that, " B l u e C rush has opened up gir ls surf ing, increased the l ikel iness for female pre- teens to try surf ing and has increased attendance at surf c amps " (S- l , Kendra) . The release o f B lue C rush strengthened the med ia hype surrounding women ' s surf ing and i tse l f potent ia l ly contributed to the growth o f the industry. To f i no , once a quiet f i sh ing town became a popular destination for reporters and journal ists who were fascinated by Canad ian sur f culture and the increase in number o f females tak ing to the sport and its attendant l i festyle. A n interesting point that questions the inf luence o f surf ing med ia and promotes further d iscuss ion in regards to the role o f med ia i n the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles was made by Scott, a retailer. To see.. .B lue C rush be ing a great med ia market ing tool that was used to dr ive forward so many young gir ls into the surf and that was k i nd o f an after event l i ke the gir ls were already go ing into i t . . . Se ldom is a mov i e so ground break ing or med ia so ground breaking that it drives a trend forward. It usual ly fo l lows the trend. (R-4, Scott) The inf luence o f the med ia in the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles was a c o m m o n theme in the interviews. Product placements in mov ies can generate a great deal o f attention for brands and B lue C rush was no except ion. A s one retailer expla ined, " B l u e C rush was huge. W e sold those B i l l abong rash guards from the product ion. Everyone had to have o n e " (R-3, Co l i n ) . A l l the retailers conceded that B l ue C rush contributed to increased sales for the B i l l a b o n g rash guards that were shown in the mov ie . 126 The internet was also repeatedly acknowledged for its importance in a brands market ing strategy. The interviewees cited the internet as a key tool in p rov id ing consumers w i th product knowledge and brand awareness. A surf brand representative summar ized the importance o f the internet as fo l l ows : I think international web sites should be frequently updated.. .it lets people k n o w about the different competi t ions around the wo r l d and h o w people do at them, and what [the brands] new technology is and you can v i ew products onl ine w h i c h is rea l ly important. (B-5, Leanne) 127 CHAPTER V - DISCUSSION B y ana lyz ing a series o f conservations w i th three diverse groups that represent the Canadian surf scene and surf wear industry, this study has attempted to gain greater insight into the women ' s surf culture in Western Canada, and the market ing activit ies o f the Canadian surf wear industry. F r o m this explorat ion, there were nine key areas that emerged. Several theories and trends in the sport market ing, sport soc io logy , and consumer research d isc ip l ines shaped this thesis. Th i s chapter w i l l reflect on those areas exhibi ted throughout this study and evaluate them in accordance w i th trends that are occurr ing wor ldw ide . Th i s thesis has prov ided evidence o f the extent to wh i ch surfers, consumers, retailers, and surf brands intersect. Several inter-penetrating themes emerged in the analysis o f the results that have created several opportunit ies for ref lect ion and discuss ion. Th i s chapter w i l l examine these factors whi ls t returning to the ma in objectives o f this study: (i) to cr i t i ca l ly examine how the market ing o f sur f products affects surf ing l i festyles and product consumpt ion; and (ii) to describe h o w sur f l i festy les and products, in turn, become di f fused to a larger populat ion o f young w o m e n and gir ls . The four ma in hypotheses o f this research w i l l be analyzed and the v i ab i l i t y o f sur f ing as a subculture o f consumpt ion w i l l be determined. Th i s chapter h ighl ights : (a) ref lect ing on trends in the women ' s sport marketplace; (b) ref lect ing on trends i n Canadian women ' s sur f ing; (c) ref lect ing on surf brand market ing; and (d) ref lect ing on subcultural theory. Meanwh i l e , f o l l o w i n g the d iscuss ion port ion o f this thesis an epi logue is inc luded to summar ize what I learned as an active participant in this industry. Th i s epi logue 128 alongside the d iscuss ion port ion o f this thesis shal l prov ide insights into the role o f retai l ing and brand market ing in the expansion o f women ' s surf ing and document trends that are occurr ing in the women ' s sports product marketplace. B y p rov id ing a w i n d o w o f knowledge as an insider in the surf industry, I w i l l reflect on m y interactions w i th surfers, surf brand representatives, and consumers; in addit ion to, p rov id ing other in format ion that can further support this research. 5.1 Reflecting on Trends in the Women's Sport Marketplace A l though there is evidence o f women surf ing since the 1700s (Gabbard, 2000) , " o n l y recently has the sport gained much v i s i b i l i t y " (Hami l ton et al . , 2002, p. 53). W o m e n played a minor role in the early development o f B C surf ing. The late 1990s marked a s ignif icant change w i th more and more women t ry ing the sport ( Sh i l l i ng , 2003) . In recent years, sur f ing has permeated v i r tua l ly every aspect o f youth sport and culture, f rom the clothes to the mus ic . The surf industry has exploded g loba l l y and a long w i th it so has the media w i th a l l g ir ls surf v ideos and magazines. M o r e w o m e n are attending gir ls-only surf ing camps and part ic ipat ing i n competi t ions. The changes in women ' s surf ing are encouraging and several can be attributed to market ing. " A s a consumer group, w o m e n now possess the market ing potential to make a s igni f icant impact upon the bottom l ine o f consumer and spectator sport organizat ions that are w i l l i n g to consider these obv ious trends in the sport marketp lace" (Branch, 1995, p. 10). W o m e n are no longer an afterthought in the sports product marketplace. They are increasingly becoming a focus o f brands and are be ing targeted i n their market ing campaigns. W o m e n are p rov ing that they should receive recognit ion as a dist inct and 129 power fu l segment i n the sport marketplace (Bradish, Lathrop, & Sedgwick , 2 0 0 1 ; B ranch , 1995; L o u g h , 1996; Shoham, Rose, K r o p p , & Kah le , 1997; Sparks & Westgate, 2002 ; Sutton & Wat l ington , 1994). Essent ia l ly , women are demanding to be marketed towards and brand marketers are responding. The women ' s market in general has tremendous growth opportunit ies and women prove to be loya l consumers i f they are ident i f ied w i th b y women ' s speci f ic products. W i t h the recent growth o f women ' s surf ing and demand for women ' s surf wear, sur f wear manufacturers are expanding their product offer ings to women . P ioneer surf brands have responded to this g row ing demand by deve lop ing jun io r l ines as young women have emerged as an important sub segment for sport, sport-related products, and sport marketers (Shoham et a l . , 1997). 5.2 Reflecting on Trends in Canadian Women's Surfing The signif icant trends that were occurr ing i n women ' s surf ing and the sports products market helped form the basis for this study. A goal o f this research was to contribute to an increased understanding o f the factors affect ing the development o f women ' s surf ing i n Western Canada. It was apparent in m y data analysis that several variables have contributed to this growth seen in Canadian women ' s surf ing. These factors should contribute to an increased awareness o f the appeal o f surf ing, and to the uniqueness o f the Canad ian scene i n compar ison to other g loba l surf ing destinations. There were numerous other intr icacies that emerged i n this analysis, and further rev iew o f them shal l prov ide an increased understanding o f the interplay o f subcultures and market ing i n Canad ian consumer culture, by examin ing the l ink between l i festyles, identity, and consumpt ion. 130 Pr ior to the mid-1990s, the sport o f sur f ing in B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a attracted relat ively few participants and on l y a smal l percentage o f females were act ively invo lved in the sport. Sh i l l i ng (2003) ident i f ied the f o l l o w i n g factors as ma in contributors to the rebirth o f surf ing in To f i no : the improvements in wetsuit technology, the presence o f parents in the water, a snowboard ing and skateboarding crossover, and the presence o f surf c loth ing and accessories and the advert is ing that went w i th them. Some o f the ident i f iable changes over t ime in the sport o f surf ing i n B C are clear as ident i f ied b y Sh i l l i ng (2003): the disappearance o f surf squat communi t ies ; the emergence o f elders in the sport; increased part ic ipat ion by women ; the transformation o f To f i no f rom a remote resource-based town to one that is v is i ted by a m i l l i o n people each year and w i th an economy capable o f support ing several surf shops, surf schools and the annual surf compet i t ions; and the growth o f compet i t ive surf ing i n B C . (p. 54) Sh i l l i ng (2003) documented the increased part ic ipat ion by women as an identi f iable change in the sport o f surf ing i n B C . Th i s study ident i f ied eight factors as contributors to the growth o f women ' s surf ing, spec i f i ca l l y i n B C . These factors inc lude: changes in wetsuit technology, crossover appeal f rom skateboarding and snowboard ing, Ca l i fo rn ia ' s inf luence, increased demand for women ' s surf wear and surf fashions, the growth o f compet i t ive surf ing in B C , increased med ia exposure o f Canadian women ' s surf ing, development o f Canad ian surf businesses, and women ' s increased comfort w i th the identity o f 'be ing a surfer ' . Boo th (2001) ident i f ied the f o l l o w i n g as condit ions that have contributed to a new surf ing culture that is more accepting o f w o m e n : the rev iva l o f l ong boards, the emergence o f new role mode ls , resolut ion o f women ' s surf ing style, a 131 shift in attitude regarding the market ing o f female sexual i ty, a rev i ta l ized women ' s tour, and new products dedicated to female surfers. Th i s study ident i f ied variables that exhib i t commonal i t ies w i th other surf ing literatures, but also demonstrates that these condit ions are not universal and that the Canadian scene has its o w n unique inf luences and tendencies. 5.3 Reflecting on Surf Brand Marketing Previous research has recognized some o f the key trends that have been occurr ing in women ' s surf ing such as: increased g lobal recognit ion and acceptance o f women ' s surf ing (Hami l ton et a l . , 2002) , increased importance o f B C and Canada in g lobal women ' s surf scene (N i ckson , 2000) , and an increased med ia portrayal o f women ' s surf ing as an empower ing act iv i ty (Gonza lez , 2002 ; Ham i l t on et a l . , 2002) . Th i s appears to make the rise o f women ' s surf ing an organic, surfer-led phenomenon; a l though, the research also suggests that: there is increased growth in women and gir ls surf wear businesses (Gabbard, 2000 ; Ham i l t on et a l . , 2002 ; K l a f f k e , 2002 ; Os t rowsk i , 1999) and increased economic prosperity among surf wear manufacturers incorporat ing female l ines (Booth, 2001 , Hami l t on et a l . , 2002, Os t rowsk i , 1999). One o f the prevalent message systems around women ' s surf ing is surf brand market ing. It is here that empower ing messages are espec ia l ly v is ib le . These predominant trends invite the question - what is the role o f surf brand market ing i tse l f in the development o f women ' s surf ing culture? Is this a case o f co- optation as seen in skateboard culture, are the brands and surfers sharing meanings, values and identities? 132 Th i s lead to the development o f two pr imary research objectives; 1) to examine how the market ing o f surf products affects surf l i festyles and product consumpt ion, and 2) to describe how surf l i festyles and products in turn become di f fused to a larger populat ion o f young women and gir ls . The Role of Consumption in Relation to One's Identity It has been documented that sport and leisure l i festyles are sites o f identity format ion (Wheaton, 2000) and that sport consumpt ion enables one to express that identity (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995). Th i s research supports the assumption that, '•The possibi l i t ies o f different sources o f ident i f icat ion have expanded, in part icular the increased s igni f icance o f consumpt ion practices such as sport and leisure l i festyles in the communica t ion and maintenance o f self-identity for g row ing segments o f the popu la t ion " (Wheaton, 2000. p. 255). These theories invi te the question - how is surf wear consumpt ion l inked to identity format ion i n female consumers? Throughout m y research, it was evident that surf wear consumpt ion is l inked to identity format ion in different ways for surfers, and non-surfers who are active surf wear consumers. In the past, women surfers found it increas ingly d i f f i cu l t to f ind women- specif ic surf gear. Su r fboa rds , wetsuits, and other sur f hard goods were not be ing designed wi th the female surfer in m ind . These w o m e n faced numerous obstacles in the water, and be ing comfortable w i th their gear was one o f them. Th i s study demonstrated that innovat ions in wetsuit design have contr ibuted to the growth in the number o f people surf ing in Canad ian waters. The advancements made i n wetsuit design are enabl ing women to get a proper f i t t ing suit and feel more comfortable i n the water. Th is comfort 133 has been l i nked to one 's eventual commitment and identity as a surfer. Consequent ly , surf gear consumpt ion is enabl ing w o m e n to gain access to better products to suit their needs as surfers. A predominant theme amongst surf brand representatives that emerged in this study was the importance o f be ing innovat ive. In an increasingly compet i t ive marketplace, authentic surf wear companies that remain committed to the surf l i festy le are keen on creating technologica l improvement in their product offer ings to women . Wheaton and Bea l (2003) suggested that "part o f the rationale for participants to accept products as legit imate was the brand's attitude o f commitment to the act iv i ty and c o m m u n i t y " (p. 169). They reveal that, ' B e i n g rea l ' came f rom understanding the surf ing aesthetic, wh i ch cou ld on l y evolve f rom hav ing been involved w i th the sport - ' do ing i t ' . Thus , a l though a l l surf brands had become b ig corporat ions, their favoured surf ing brands had a 'hard core ' image that came f rom 'be ing rea l ' , (p. 170) Th is provides evidence that although surfers recognize innovations in the surf products market; they also want to consume legit imate brands. Brands that stay true to their core roots wh i l e deve lop ing new product offer ings w i l l enhance brand awareness by keep ing their brand at the forefront o f the industry. However , there is an apparent dif ference between surf wear consumpt ion and identity format ion amongst surfers and non-surfers. In m y research, surfers h igh l ighted conf l i c t ing v iewpoints regarding consumpt ion o f surf products. It was suggested that women ' s surf ing was propel led by the brand manufacturers themselves. W o m e n surfers tended to appreciate the funct ional developments tak ing place in the surf products 134 market. They also expressed interest in consuming surf c lo th ing; however , they d id not l i nk their c lo th ing consumpt ion to their subcultural identity. Another c o m m o n theme is that surfers want to purchase their surf gear and c loth ing f rom authentic surf retailers. B y restrict ing their consumpt ion habits to core shops, w o m e n surfers are strengthening their identity as surfers. S imi l a r l y , Wheaton (2000) acknowledges, " O n l y the 'neophyte ' windsurfers w o u l d make the faux pas o f wear ing ' im i ta t ion ' surf c lo th ing . . . so ld in h igh street stores or pseudo surf b rands " (p. 266). Meanwh i l e , brand marketers and retailers acknowledged that young gir ls and women , who are non-surfers, u t i l i ze surf themed products as a means o f adopt ing surf style. The image that is marketed a long w i th these products is what an increas ing number o f consumers aspire to. There were several identi f iable themes that appeal women to the surf l i festyle, such as, the fascinat ion w i th Ca l i f o rn i a surf culture, the concept o f youthfulness, the element o f coolness, and an escape f rom the everyday. Th i s supports the not ion that in post-modernity work roles are o f less s igni f icance i n p rov id ing ind iv idua ls w i th a sense o f identity than their act iv i ty as consumers (Bocock , 1993). These relayed images enable the surf l i festy le to be di f fused to a larger populat ion o f young women and gir ls . The consumpt ion o f surf products enables the consumer to ident i fy w i th the sur f l i festyle. The overa l l penetration o f the surf l i festy le in Canada is s ignif icant cons ider ing our c l imate, access ib i l i ty to surf ing, and populat ion as ident i f ied i n this study. 135 The Diffusion of Surf Lifestyles in the Mainstream A n interesting point that came forward i n this study upon d iscuss ing the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festyles was that a retailer credited women surfers as prope l l ing the market ing o f surf products. In many different realms o f sport, w o m e n are ga in ing recogni t ion as . valuable consumers in the sports product marketplace. Sur f ing seems to be another avenue for market ing to women. W o m e n surfers comprise a niche market in the sports product marketplace. The eventual prol i ferat ion o f surf l i festy le is fueled by the med ia and surf brand marketers. Once these trends catch on to the masses, surf style is d i f fused at an astonishing rate and, consequently; surf brands respond to these market changes. Th is w o u l d support evidence o f the popular i ty o f the sport fue l ing the market. However , w o m e n have becoming increas ingly comfortable as surfers w i th the development o f women-speci f ic products by brand marketers. These women are encouraging other women to get into the water, as more w o m e n want to learn to surf more surf schools are opening to fu l f i l l this demand. So it seems that there is an apparent rise out o f the subculture itself; however , the overa l l permeation is be ing fueled b y the brand creators. The presence o f med ia in the d i f fus ion o f surf ing l i festyles was widespread dur ing m y data co l lect ion per iod. M e d i a was widespread i n pop culture, real i ty te lev is ion introduced ' Boa rd ing House : Nor th Shore ' and M T V ' s ' Su r f G i r l s ' . ' The O . C ' on Fox telev is ion gained a loya l fan base amongst pre-teen and teens who are fascinated w i th the surf l i festy le (G r i f f i n , 2003b). Meanwh i l e , surf med ia continues to infi ltrate us w i th M T V ' s ' L aguna Beach ' and the 'Teen Cho i ce A w a r d s ' ; that ut i l ize sur fboards as trophies for its award recipients. Wheaton (2000) suggests that the images portrayed b y the med ia o f l i festyles sports: 136 A f f i r m that i f you want to transform your ident i ty . . .you need to focus on image, style, and fashion: ' M e d i a culture thus provides resources for ident i ty and new roles for identity in wh i ch look, style, and image replaces such things as action and commitment as constitutive o f identity, o f who one i s ' , (p. 269) Wheaton and Bea l (2003) in the compar ison o f w indsur f ing and skateboarding cultures suggest that "spec ia l is t niche med ia p lay a central role in the creation and evolut ion o f these cu l tures" (p. 157). Furthermore, they reveal that "academics have tended to c r i t i ca l l y 'pos i t ion med ia as incorporating or co-opting rather than a id ing in the format ion o f subcu l tures ' " (p. 157). They discern that "subcultural ists are not s imp l y ' v i c t ims ' o f commerc ia l i za t ion , but shape and 're-shape' the image and meanings circulated b the m e d i a " (p. 158). Therefore, it can be reasoned that women surfers are part o f the commerc ia l i za t ion process. Th i s research documented that w o m e n surfers garnered the attention o f loca l media , the messages they transmit to the med ia ; i n essence, provide knowledge o f the subcultural meaning. However , it can be reasoned that subcultural meanings undergo co-optation into the larger fashion system (Hebdige, 1979), so that the result ing products are acceptable to larger segments o f mainstream consumers (Kates, 1998). Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) caution that, The market ing consequence o f this danger is that brand management is faced w i th a veritable t ightrope wa lk between the conf l i c t ing needs o f two disparate but equal ly important groups o f consumers: those who give the product its myst ique and those who give the company its prof i tabi l i ty , (p. 59) 137 It was suggested w ide l y in this study that the hard goods business is a lost leader. There is no real profit gain in surf hard goods; however , the gain is in representation and appeal ing to that authentic group o f consumers. Retai lers and brand marketers are responding to the recent market changes and the prol i ferat ion o f the sur f l i festyle. However , those that w i l l retain a diverse customer base are those that stay true to the core o f the surf l i festy le ; whi ls t , cap i ta l iz ing on the masses. Through considerat ion o f m y ma in research questions and the objectives o f this study, four hypotheses were formed for this research. Each hypothesis w i l l be ident i f ied and its v iab i l i t y i n accordance w i th the v i ew points o f m y study w i l l be discussed: (a) Sur f wear consumpt ion is an integral part o f a surfer 's l i festy le and identity; (b) Sur f brands have expanded their l ines to reach surfers, but also to reach female teens and pre- teens; (c) Female teens and pre-teens use surf wear to help construct their identit ies; and (d) The net effect o f these two trends is an increase i n consumer interest in surf wear and in the surf brands market. The detai led analysis o f m y results demonstrated that w o m e n surfers were ga in ing recogni t ion i n the surf products market and this i n turn has had a pos i t ive inf luence on their identity as surfers. A posi t ive first experience i n the water was d i rect ly l i nked to one's l ike l iness to continue surf ing. Furthermore, in order to participate in the sport o f surf ing one must consume products. These f indings and numerous other variables documented i n this study prove that surf wear consumpt ion is an integral part o f a surfer 's l i festyle and identity. W i t h the increased representation o f women in the water, brand marketers are expanding their l ines to women surfers. A s w o m e n become recognized as an important 138 market segment and evidence supports their inf luence as consumers in the sports-product marketplace, brands are reacting to these demands b y creating or expanding women ' s l ines. Meanwh i l e , a g row ing trend is the emerg ing inf luence o f young women and gir ls in the sports product marketplace. Y o u n g w o m e n have become increas ingly attracted to the surf l i festy le and sur f wear industry. A s a result, surf brands have expanded their l ines to reach surfers, but also to reach female teens and pre-teens. The l ink between consumpt ion, l i festyles, and identity has been analyzed and it is supported that people consume products in order to create a sense o f self-identity. Y o u n g gir ls create and express their identities through consumpt ion and l i festy le choices. Th is supports the not ion that female teens and pre-teens use surf wear to help construct their identities. Numerous expansions are occurr ing i n the sur f products market such as the development o f women ' s surf stores, the expansion o f surf l ines to increase their product offerings to women , and the creation o f new l ines. Meanwh i l e , g loba l l y teens are becoming fascinated w i th the surf l i festyle and are consuming surf fashions to become a part o f it. The net result o f these two trends is an increase in consumer interest in the sur f brands market. A l l four hypotheses for m y research are accepted and have been substantiated by the evidence shown in this study. 5.4 Reflecting on Subcultural Theory H o w to theorize this? Usua l way to understand rise o f a non-traditional sport is in term o f sport ing subculture, (e.g.) work done on skateboarding and snowboarding. However , in the soc io log ica l research the term subculture has been used in increas ingly 139 contradictory ways result ing in conceptual ambigu i ty (Leonard II, 1991). Sport ethnographies on subcultures have exaggerated cultural resistance and have p laced sport subcultures as opposi t ional to parent culture. Furthermore the term subculture is often construed as synonymous w i th deviance (Crosset & Bea l , 1997). A goal o f this research was to theorize this since it was unclear as to h o w w e l l the term subculture i tse l f describes the sur f scene where product consumpt ion is a major part o f the act iv i ty and l i festy le identity. A s a result, I chose Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r ' s (1995) ethnographic wo rk on Har ley-Dav idson motorcyc le owners as a potential concept to see i f it cou ld be appl ied or cou ld help exp la in the cultural product ion and consumpt ion tensions I was seeing i n women ' s surf ing. A c c o r d i n g to Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) a 'subculture o f consumpt ion ' is , " A dist inct ive subgroup o f society that self-selects on the basis o f a shared commitment to a part icular product class, brand, or consumpt ion ac t i v i t y " (p. 43). Other characteristics inc lude an ident i f iable, h ierarchica l soc ia l structure; a unique ethos, or set o f shared bel iefs and values; and unique jargons, r i tuals, and modes o f s ymbo l i c expression (p. 43). Unde r a subculture o f consumpt ion ; "peop le ident i fy w i th certain objects or consumpt ion activit ies and, through those objects or activit ies, ident i fy w i th other peop le " (p. 48). Through conversations w i th female surfers it was suggested that they ident i fy w i th other surfers through their commitment to the sport o f surf ing. Surfers are active consumers; however , their consumpt ion activit ies do not contribute to group cohesion. S im i l a r l y , Wheaton (2000) i n her analysis o f the w indsur f ing subculture documented that, "Desp i te the central ity o f w indsur f ing equipment to the act iv i ty, and the 140 expenditure required to get invo lved in the sport, members cou ldn ' t buy their way into the core o f the subcul ture" (p. 263). Furthermore, surfers consume brands but appear to be less loya l to spec i f ic brand names than to the product category alone. The surf ing l i festyle does inf luence ones consumpt ion habits i n other product categories for core female surfers as documented in this study. A n ident i f iable, h ierarchical soc ia l structure is apparent to some degree i n the sport o f surf ing. However , one 's status is based on their commitment to the sport and their surf ing abi l i ty as opposed to one's surfboard or wetsuit. S imi l a r l y , Wheaton (2000) suggests that, " W i n d s u r f i n g prowess was an essential element o f subcultural status. Status in the w indsur f ing culture was achieved pr imar i l y b y be ing a good windsurfer - the better the windsurfer , the higher the subcultural status" (p. 259). She further states that, " In addit ion to sk i l l and attitude, commitment to the act iv i ty was central to attaining subcultural status" (p. 260). Eve ry board has such a unique feel to it, depending on the style a surfer has, his/her phys ica l d imensions, and depending on the surf condi t ions; w i l l inf luence wh i ch board he/she may ride. One speci f ic board or brand is not suited for a l l surfers. The water is the best indicator o f one 's surf ing abi l i ty and that is essential ly where one 's identity can be revealed as h ighl ighted i n the interviews. Cer ta in tendencies or rituals are c o m m o n in the surf culture; however, they are not un i fo rm across groups. Several factors w o u l d inf luence w h i c h rituals one may subscribe to such as: preferred surf break, t ime, equipment, and whether one was surf ing alone or i n a group setting. One can have several consistencies i n their personal routine but that routine can be o f f set by the presence o f other surfers. Therefore, rituals are a part o f the surf culture but are not important in designat ing a women ' s place i n that culture. A n 141 ethos that is shared b y the surf culture in To f i no is that it is more we l com ing o f w o m e n and surfers in general. Beach break enables many surfers to get waves; depending on their level o f ab i l i ty w i l l determine where they go to get those waves. A b lend o f sur f ing levels is c o m m o n in the waters surrounding To f i no . It is not uncommon to see groups o f beginners in lessons and then to look further out and see distant figures in the l ine up. These more accompl ished surfers rarely cross .with inexperienced surfers as ones ab i l i ty separates them. However , experienced surfers often encourage newcomers in the water p rov id ing the rules are k n o w n to a l l . The relaxed nature o f Canadians and n o n - competi t ive attitude w i th surf ing is al l part o f our unique experience. The surf culture appeals to ind iv idua ls i n h igh l y unique ways ; consequently, a dominant value system was not evident throughout this study. Sur f ing provides its participants w i th a unique sense o f grat i f icat ion, th r i l l , or experience. There may be commonal i t ies between surfers but there is not one c o m m o n value that is supported over another. They are united in that their passion for surf ing is the same. A s imi la r characteristic that evo lved i n this study is the transformation o f se l f (deepening o f commitment ) . Schouten and M c A l e x a n d e r (1995) emphasize that surfers "undergo an evo lut ion o f mot ives and a deepening o f commitment as they become more invo lved in the subcul ture" (p. 55). Th i s study supported this deepening o f commitment that extends as surf ing becomes part o f ones l i festyle. However , the level o f commitment is var ied across surfers and is dependent on other l i festyle inf luences. A standard leve l o f commitment cannot be determined as each surfer has conf l i c t ing l i fe roles and levels o f attachment for the sport. However , to some degree a certain level o f commitment is required in order to be act ive ly invo lved in the sport. Th is can invo l ve sur f ing da i l y , 142 week ly , b i-monthly , month ly , or semi-annual ly depending on the importance o f the surf ing l i festy le in accordance w i th everything else. Those who integrate surf ing into their who le l i festy le, b y m o v i n g out to places l i ke To f ino are at the highest end o f the commitment spectrum. Recogn iz ing the d i f fus ion process, this study prov ided further evidence o f "subcu l tura l l y created styles may be shared or imitated by a much larger audience or market peripheral to the core subculture and may even become imitated and commerc ia l i zed for mass consumpt ion " (Schouten & M c A l e x a n d e r , 1995, p. 43). However , their research also suggests that "hard-core or high-status members o f achieved subcultures funct ion as op in ion leaders" (p. 43) as subcultural styles are d i f fused to a broader group o f consumers. Our sur f culture is unique in Canada in that our surf un i fo rm is a wetsuit. Th i s i tem is something funct ional and w i l l not be commerc ia l i zed for mainstream consumers. So in Canada, it appears that these subcultural styles arise out o f the media , and by marketers, and not so m u c h by this re lat ive ly smal l isolated group o f surfers. The d i f fus ion o f surf styles is p ro found ly l inked to Ca l i f o rn i a as supported b y this thesis. However , Boo th (2001) does il lustrate a point that is worthy o f ment ion ing, "Just as many non-running women wear sport bras, so boardshorts are popular items o f fashionable street-wear among gir ls and young women who don ' t ident i fy w i th surf ing culture or aspire to s u r f (p. 15). Th i s study supports this not ion ; however , there is also increasing evidence o f the d i f fus ion o f surf l i festy le into the mainstream. The net result, presently women ' s surf ing combines features o f a subculture o f consumpt ion and subcultural development and may best be thought o f as a ' commodi ty- orientated subculture ' (Wheaton, 2000, p. 261) that is dr iven both by a deve lop ing 143 organic women ' s surf ing subculture (the hard-cores) and b y the market activit ies (product development, women ' s wear branding, women's-spec i f i c retai l ing) o f the major surf brands. Sur f ing is a 'commodity-orientated subculture ' (Wheaton, 2000) i n that surfers need to consume products to participate in the sport. These consumpt ion patterns are a means for w o m e n surfers to ident i fy w i th other surfers. > It is not uncommon for surfers to congregate together and discuss equipment and surf wear. Sometimes it is for informat ional purposes, other t imes for conversat ional purposes between two surfers who have something in common , the fact that they surf. In wetsuit design alone, certain brands have better fits and designs in their offer ings to women . W o m e n surfers are aware o f the products that are superior to their needs as they have tried these various technologies. They are also aware o f w h i c h brands are advanced in their product offer ings o f women ' s surf wear through their consumpt ion habits. These products may contribute to a better experience in the water but are no way indicat ive o f one's leve l o f prowess in the surf culture. The issue o f authenticity is often documented i n subcultural research o f l i festy le sport participants. Wheaton and Bea l (2003) reveal that "Authent i c i t y , then is an accumulated soc ia l achievement ' , seen as what constitutes ' rea l ' or genuine membersh ip " (p. 159). In this study authenticity was ident i f ied by ones inner connect ion to surf ing and ones level o f knowledge and passion for the sport. Authent ic i ty was important irregardless o f ones personal a f f i l ia t ion w i th surf ing or pos i t ion in the surf products industry. Th i s concept def ied pos i t ion ing and seemed to be an understood var iable in the surf products/retail industry. Furthermore, the consumpt ion o f the right products b y core participants is not a means o f ga in ing recogni t ion as an authentic participant. 144 The consumption of surf products does contribute to their inner sense of identity but does not influence ones status in the subculture. The expansion of product offerings to women and proper wetsuit fit is contributing to more positive experiences in the water. These consumption practices enable one to surf; however, one's commitment to the sport is what differentiates ones placement in the subculture. This commitment to the surf lifestyle extends to be an organizing principle in the maintenance and expression of self- identity. Surfing in Canada is unique in the sense that crossing over into the subculture involves getting into the water. If you feel like a surfer you are a surfer. The hierarchy isn't so defined. A s one progresses as a surfer, one wi l l demonstrate more skill and more ocean knowledge and perhaps wi l l maintain some level of status in her own group of surfers. Outside of that central group that you associate with, there are no pre-defined barriers or boundaries. As one becomes more of a proficient surfer, he or she may become respected across groups of surfers. She may become known and be acknowledged as an amazing surfer. However, while she progresses she still is an authentic participant as long as she surfs. The consumption of surf products is not going to move her any quicker through the subculture itself. A New Gender Order in Surfing and the Surf Products Marketplace New lifestyle practices that are outside the norm of traditional educational sporting activities have gained the attention of women who seek involvement in high-risk individualized activity. Rinehart (2005) acknowledges that lifestyle or extreme sports are more appealing to women in that: 145 Opportunit ies and access for women may be greater i n extreme sports because the sports are most ly ind i v idua l , because they are re lat ive ly new and thus more l iable to self-definit ion, and because the fundamental source o f compar ison between participants is wi l l ingness to r isk. (p. 240) W o m e n have become increas ingly invo lved in l i festy le sports and have especia l ly been a dominant force in snowboarding. M o r e recently, women are increas ingly be ing drawn to surf ing. Boo th (2001) states "selected evidence suggests the poss ib i l i t y o f a new gender order in su r f i ng " (p. 17). It is suggested that i n Canada females are more accepted i n the water and there is less o f a fraternal structure. Further developments that prov ide further evidence that surf ing is becoming more general neutral are changes in media representation o f female surfers, women ' s spec i f ic med ia (print and electronic) , and women's-or iented brands and products. Th i s study ident i f ied that the changes made in wetsuit technology have contributed to the growth seen i n Canadian women ' s surf ing. Canadian w o m e n were depicted di f ferent ly and not in a sexual manner throughout this study. The wetsuit may also be contr ibut ing to a new gender order i n that the focus remains on surf ing abi l i ty. M e d i a depict ions o f our loca l culture often h ighl ight the uniqueness o f our surf scene in Canada, acknowledg ing h o w co ld the water is and the heartiness o f our local surfers. These depict ions are predominant ly free o f gender bias and introduce a new era i n women ' s surf ing i n wh i ch women w i l l gain cred ib i l i ty i n the water and are we l comed in the water. A s females are increasingly recognized in the sport marketplace, more opportunit ies are avai lable to women as buyers, marketers, retailers, brand representatives, and team managers. W o m e n are break ing the m o l d in the sport 146 marketplace,challenging stereotypical roles, and are changing the face of this traditionally male-dominated field. Women are persevering in the pro scene and many have made in roads and gained respect in the big wave scene, which have been deemed 'a testosterone pit' by many professional women surfers. Meanwhile, female surfers are turning into savvy entrepreneurs worldwide with the development of surf schools and surf businesses. The sacrifices of female surfers who first experienced the sport when it wasn't as accepting to women are paving the way for the next generation. It is apparent that not only in surfing is there a changed gender order, but other developments indicate increased acceptance of women as professionals and entrepreneurs. 147 CHAPTER VI - INSIDER ROLE The methodology for this study included interviewing women surfers, surf brand retailers, and Canadian surf brand representatives. By interacting with these three groups I was able to gain an understanding of the women's surf scene and the surf wear industry from three interrelated yet unique perspectives. Upon completion of my interviews, two personal experiences enabled me to gain a further understanding of women's surfing and the surf brand industry through my experiences in retail and as an active participant. Serendipitously, a retailer that I had interviewed for my study approached me regarding potential employment at the retail level in a core skate snow surf store that catered to both male and female customers. Following my first exposure to Canadian surfing at a women's specific surf camp I began my employment in retail. These combined experiences gave me increased exposure to the culture, the participants, and the mainstream consumers. Since I had already completed my interviews these developments helped enhance my study without hindering its original design. Throughout the course of my employment I gained insider knowledge in the surf industry and eventually this led to buying product for the women's section of the store. As a women's soft goods buyer, I oversaw the purchases for the women's store. This gave me another window into the surf products market and this experience further highlighted the cyclic nature of the industry where consumer feedback and consumer brand awareness are at the forefront of the design process. This industry is highly interdependent and there is an apparent cycle of communication between consumers, retailers, surf brand representatives, and surfers themselves. The surf brand representatives, in effect, utilize the buyers for consumer feedback. The buyers are not 148 only responsible for the purchase and display of the product, but they essentially are the ones selling the product in the store and keeping track of demographics, demand, and profitability of brands. A relationship between the surf brand representatives and buyers is mutually beneficial to the brand and to the store. The Canadian surf brand representatives, in turn, report their findings to the surf brand manufacturers and these considerations are often reflected in the design process. As identified in my research, the idea of authenticity seems to be a growing concern in the surf industry. How can one capitalize on the explosion of surf culture and target the masses without alienating those that are core to the sport? A few predominant trends were visible in my experiences that support the desire of companies to maintain an authentic image. Brands often utilize real surfers in their ad campaigns, and stay true to their surf roots and the brands image. Although, each brand is influenced by current fashion trends, their image remains intact. Meanwhile, retailers carry authentic surf brands and hire employees that are avid lifestyle sport enthusiasts. It seems that in order to maintain authenticity, it has to be developed at each level. Surfers seemed more critical of brands that are not core surf brands. The mainstream consumer who isn't as educated is content wearing any surf brand. However, there is also evidence of brand loyalty amongst the more educated consumers, and this extends to those who are not active participants in the sport but who support the brand's image. This loyalty is increasingly common amongst pre-teens and teens and often fluctuates seasonally for female consumers based on the current designs and trends. The mature surf participant is more interested in supporting local brands or brands that have a deep connection to surfing. Core women surfers repeatedly purchased their surf products and surf fashions 149 f rom m y place o f employment. It was important to them that we had a large select ion o f women ' s wetsuits, surf accessories, and sur fboards . Furthermore, core stores usua l ly have a fleet o f wetsuit rentals that enable the retailer to promote the sport o f surf ing to consumers in an inexpensive manner. B y deve lop ing a relat ionship w i th a potential surfer, a retailer is securing a sale w i th that consumer, once he/she gets the surf stoke and eventual ly invests in surf products. In an increas ingly saturated marketplace it has become more important for retailers to answer the quest ion, 'What is go ing to make us stand out ' ? Y o u have to consc ious ly make an effort to have an image for your store and whether it is through variety, product, or customer service you have to be able to answer what is go ing to make you different f rom somebody else. The store's identity and image must relate to the consumer base they desire to attract. M y experience as an active participant i n the industry has lead to an increased understanding o f the female consumer and knowledge o f market trends. These experiences support the increased representation o f women in surf ing and in the surf industry. The sur f brands representatives that I came in contact w i th in m y pos i t ion were al l predominant ly female. Interestingly, the two male surf brand representatives interv iewed for m y study have since been replaced by females. Th i s supports the importance o f hav ing females interact w i th females in regards to buy ing decis ions. Furthermore, a growth in the number o f female employees was evident as was their importance in dea l ing w i th female customers. The importance o f emp loy ing active participants was further supported b y m y o w n experiences as a sur f participant. I can attest that women-speci f ic wetsuits are h igh l y l inked to one's experience i n the water. 150 B e i n g wa rm and comfortable in the water has enabled me to focus on m y surf ing and to stay in the water for extended periods o f t ime. Core retailers educate their employees on proper wetsuit fit and avai lable products so that the consumer w i l l be suppl ied w i th avai lable in format ion in order to make a wel l- informed purchase dec is ion. The crossover o f the board sport industry was important to m y place o f employment. One poor winter season meant the sale o f more sur fboards and winter wetsuits than snowboards. However , the appearance o f snow caused some surfers to gravitate towards the mountains. Meanwh i l e , many changes are occur r ing in regards to product offer ings in the surf skate snow industry. W o m e n are demanding more technical outerwear in the snow industry. Consumers are becoming more educated and are demanding more waterproof ing, l ighter fabrics, and more features. The sur f skate snow market is becoming more fashion-oriented w i th less v i s ib le logos, and more color , embel l ishments, and patterns. Fits are becoming more tai lored. The board sport industry is bor row ing f rom h igh fashion trends and adding their o w n unique twist to them. The board sports market is no longer exc lus ive to board sport enthusiasts, and many snowboarders are m o v i n g away f rom loose fits and the gangster image to more o f an overal l stream-lined look. These looks are just as popular in urban areas as they are on the mountains. Meanwh i l e , surf brands are staying connected to the beach l i festyle wh i l e staying on top o f market changes. Skate brands are exp lod ing their product offer ings to women. They are rea l ly changing the look and image o f skateboarding. Skate brands are becoming more popular amongst females and skateboarding is increasing its v i s ib i l i t y amongst females. 151 In order to mainta in market share in an increasingly cluttered marketplace, surf brands are creating a clear and def ined image unique among their competitors. The brands marketers interv iewed in this study were al l aware o f their o w n and their competitors strengths and weaknesses and their standing in the sport marketplace. Through the creation o f a brand image, brands gain cred ib i l i ty in a product category and this image is further strengthened by market ing, the retail environment, the consumer, and through media . A c o m m o n theme in the interviews was the importance o f creating an image consistent w i th the identity o f the brand. The importance o f be ing youth dr iven , a leader i n product research and development, and hav ing a wor ld class team to support and promote the brand were ident i f ied as key factors in mainta in ing a consistent brand image. B rand awareness is further achieved by surf brands that sponsor surf camps, organize surf ing competi t ions, and become invo l ved in grass roots leve l programs thereby strengthening the image o f the brand. Qu iks i l v e r became act ively i nvo l ved i n our loca l surf scene by sponsor ing the summer surf j a m in To f ino . M o r e recently, other brands have started to organize surf, skate, and snow competit ions loca l ly . Qu iks i l v e r is no longer the sole supporter o f loca l surf competi t ions. A s one can expect, other brands have organized events here loca l l y i n the past few years. A l t hough this thesis i l lustrated that there are few opportunit ies for Canad ian women surfers, g loba l l y women are mak ing some advances. A t the brand leve l , surf brands have pos i t i ve ly inf luenced the growth o f women ' s surf ing by p rov id ing sponsorships and increased opportunit ies for female surfers. B rand marketers are commit ted to fostering female invo lvement in action sports as exempl i f i ed in their 152 market ing techniques and product offer ings. B y p rov id ing female athletes w i th free product, contest entrance money, support ing travel costs, and/or organ iz ing women ' s contests the needs o f female surfers are increasingly be ing met and a l l ow ing women to progress in the sport. The interaction between team riders and brand marketers has been integral to the design o f c lo th ing and accessories. Innovations in product development have enabled women surfers to be more comfortable i n the water b y hav ing funct ional , fashionable, qual i ty apparel to wear wh i l e pract ic ing the sport. Other brands have ut i l ized an athletes' name as the mode l name for increased brand strength in the product category. Th is practice is c o m m o n in skate shoe l ines and w i th in the snowboard industry. Pro mode ls are part icular ly popular amongst male youth who ident i fy the product as be ing superior, to others based on the athlete's representation. Another c o m m o n occurrence in the surf industry is u t i l i z ing sponsored athletes as models in advert is ing campaigns, e.g. print ads. The surf industry demands authenticity and an athlete can generate more hype i n a product category in compar ison to a fashion mode l . Female surfers are increas ingly portrayed i n print ads in magazines and on hang tags attached to surf c loth ing. M o r e female surfers are be ing portrayed i n act ion shots. M a n y brands are also u t i l i z ing surf ing med ia to expose their sponsored athletes and promote the brand. M o r e women 's-on ly surf mov ies are be ing released and w o m e n are ga in ing more exposure in skate and snow videos that predominant ly feature male athletes. 153 CHAPTER VII - CONCLUSIONS Th is new era o f surf ing has changed the perception o f w o m e n surfers wor ldwide . W o m e n are mak ing advances g loba l l y and more recently, women have persevered on the pro scene and have made in-roads on the b i g wave scene cha l lenging the gender order i n surf ing. Canad ian women have emerged onto the scene and To f i no , B r i t i sh C o l u m b i a shows evidence o f be ing a thr iv ing surf communi ty . E ven though Canad ian surfers endure harsh condit ions, females are increas ingly drawn to our loca l waters and are ga in ing acceptance as surfers. B y u t i l i z i ng ethnographic methods this study has prov ided an improved understanding o f the women ' s surf ing subculture in Western Canada, and the factors that fueled the growth o f the industry. Th i s study ident i f ied eight factors as contributors to the growth o f women ' s surf ing, spec i f i ca l l y in B C . These factors inc lude: changes i n wetsuit technology, crossover appeal f rom skateboarding and snowboard ing, Ca l i fo rn i a ' s inf luence, increased demand for women ' s surf wear and surf fashions, the growth o f compet i t ive surf ing in B C , increased med ia exposure o f Canadian women ' s surf ing, development o f Canad ian surf businesses, and women ' s increased comfort w i th the identity o f 'be ing a surfer ' . F e w studies have analyzed women ' s surf ing l i festyles general ly, and there is no evidence o f any investigations that have looked at surf ing as an act iv i ty o f consumpt ion in a consumer society wh i ch is inf luenced by brand market ing. A s such, this thesis has expanded the ways that we can study sport subcultures. Canadian women ' s surf ing combines features o f a subculture o f consumpt ion and may best be thought o f as a 'commodity-orientated subculture ' (Wheaton, 2000, p. 261) that is dr iven both b y a 154 developing organic women's surfing subculture (the hard-cores) and by the market activities (product development, women's wear branding, women's-specific retailing) of the major surf brands. In addition to providing a new research perspective, this study provides a Canadian perspective on what is a growing global phenomenon, women's surfing. The method of interviewing three populations proved to be a useful way to gain insights into how each contributes to the overall development of surfing as a popular cultural form and set of practices. 7.1 Opportunities for Future Research The future of the sport of surfing in Canada and globally is relatively unknown. This opens the question, what is the next step in surfing evolution? Improved technologies in board and watercraft design and in weather forecasting have pushed surfing to new levels, where tow-ins are commonplace and the search is for the biggest wave. Will Canada gain credibility worldwide as a surfing destination? Will the town of Tofino suffer the same loss when fishing industries were on the wane or will surfing continue to be the main economic contributor for this coastal community? There is evidence that surfing is becoming more gender neutral, however, future research with both Canadian male and female surfers at different surfing locations on the West Coast of Canada, could help to create a better understanding of our own social structure of gender relationships. The focus of this study was to analyze the relationship between women's surf culture in Western Canada and the marketing activities of the Canadian surf wear 155 industry. The research design d id not focus on integration into the surf culture. The interviews helped ident i fy factors that have contr ibuted to a growth o f women ' s surf ing. Through m y o w n personal experiences and those conversations, our surf culture does exhibit a level o f acceptance that seems to be unique to our o w n culture. A l l the interviewees were commit ted participants, however , two participants l i ved i n To f i no , and the other three l i ved in the Vancouver area. Perhaps conversations w i th more w o m e n who reside in To f i no wou ld prov ide an increased understanding o f our loca l surf communi ty . However , this research w o u l d focus on the l i festyles o f a smal l port ion o f women surfers i n total. It w o u l d be spec i f ic to To f ino women surfers, and wou ld not represent the women ' s surf populat ion i n Western Canada. Therefore, I w o u l d recommend a comparat ive study w i th other surf populat ions to gain a better understanding o f the range o f experiences and groups. Furthermore, the age o f female surfers on Canada 's west coast seems to be older than other surf ing destinations. However , recent Canadian surf ing competi t ions had more young gir ls participate. A n in-depth examinat ion o f B C surf culture w o u l d provide an increased understanding o f these trends. Interviews w i th younger surfers i n part icular cou ld y ie ld interesting results, i n regards to their consumpt ion habits and their use o f surf style as a means o f demonstrat ing their sur f ing identity. Th i s past summer (2006) the East Coast o f Canada opened its first women-owned and operated surf school cal led " O n e L i f e S u r f i l lustrat ing that the increased presence o f women in the water has infi l trated both coastl ines. A comparat ive study between these two surf locales wou ld prov ide an increased understanding o f Canadian surf culture, and the penetration o f the surf products industry nat ionwide. 156 A l though , the interviewees had an understanding o f the female teen and pre-teen consumer and several themes were ident i f ied i n the analysis, a further examinat ion o f this target group wou ld prove benef ic ia l to surf brand marketers and retailers. The Canad ian surf brand representatives interv iewed in this study demonstrated a h igh level o f knowledge in regards to their brand market ing strategies. However , each core brand employs a market ing team that works on the brand's image and strategy, and interviews w i th these representatives at the brands headquarters w o u l d prov ide a more thorough understanding o f their strategies i n ga in ing and retaining the younger female consumer. Add i t i ona l l y , further research in the fo rm o f focus groups w i th female consumers o f surf wear cou ld potent ia l ly prov ide a better understanding o f their consumpt ion habits and purchase motivat ions. It cou ld also help ident i fy the surf med ia they are drawn to, what market ing techniques they can relate to, and what brands they are increas ingly loya l to. Wheaton and Bea l (2003) ut i l i zed audience research i n their analysis o f U K windsurfers and U S skateboarders, and focused on " e x a m i n i n g the meanings that the niche magazines have for the participants o f those alternative sports i n the construct ion o f their ident i t ies" (p. 155). The i r research suggests that "magazines p layed an important role i n p rov id ing and c i rculat ing cultural knowledges [sic], but also were an avenue for the participants to d isplay their subcultural cap i t a l " (p. 155). There are numerous opportunit ies for future research w i th female participants and/or female consumers o f surf media. Th i s research wou ld be benef ic ia l to advertisers who craft their pitches spec i f ica l ly to reach this demographic , and to see the effectiveness o f the current messages and images. 157 A s surf ing becomes more open to women and females become more invo lved in the professional c i rcuit the future o f women ' s professional sur f ing st i l l remains uncertain. W i l l women ' s professional sur f ing become an equal match to men ' s ? W i l l the sport o f surf ing and its identity be cont inua l ly strengthened and w i l l women ' s surf ing continue to grow outside o f the box that it is condi t iona l l y kept in? The answers to these questions as yet remain unclear. The surf industry seems to be entering a nostalgic phase in wh i ch surf ing pioneers are be ing acknowledged for deve lop ing the sport. The surf v ideos be ing released are also addressing this trend through the release o f b iographic features and memoirs o f surf ing greats. A further trend is that surfers are act ively support ing loca l Surfr ider Foundat ion chapters. M o s t recently, west coast chapters in Canada have organized events to clean up loca l surf ing environments. People are starting to acknowledge the environmental impact and are t ry ing to be proactive in their efforts to keep the waters clean and safe. Meanwh i l e , surf brand marketers are releasing products that donate a percentage o f the sale o f the product to Surfr ider Foundat ion. What has fueled this nostalgic phase i n surf ing, and is this a result o f trends seen in the consumer market general ly where products are increas ingly be ing developed that raise awareness and offer support to socia l causes? 7.2 Study Limitations A t the t ime o f recruitment I had no inside knowledge o f the industry and its participants. I was not an active member o f the To f ino surf scene. I was aware o f a women's-spec i f i c surf school but had no other contact in format ion. The group that 158 proved to be most d i f f i cu l t to reach was the surfers as I was not one m y s e l f and had to gain access to this group. I incorporated participant observat ion and several trips to Vancouver Island in order to make connections w i th this group. A s an outsider, these interactions proved more t ry ing to form. The recruitment o f retailers proved to be the easiest group to coordinate interviews w i th as they had a fixed address and they were easier to locate. A l l in a l l , the response rate was extremely posi t ive and the desired sample was interv iewed for m y study. A few interviewees were quite he lpfu l i n po int ing out other areas that may be interesting. W i t h persistence I was able to develop relations w i th three unique groups that gave vo ice to the surf scene and surf wear industry i n Canada. A goal o f this research was to gain an understanding o f the women ' s surf ing subculture in Western Canada in addit ion to the market ing activit ies o f the Canad ian surf wear industry. Therefore, this study represents a prof i le o f Western Canadian women surfers but does not reflect the opin ions o f a l l core members. A s suggested, further research w i th this populat ion w o u l d prov ide an in-depth understanding o f the structure o f the Canad ian surf ing subculture. Furthermore, a l l the surfers interv iewed in the study were in their m i d 20s to late 20s, perhaps conversations w i th other generations w o u l d have y ie lded different responses. Younge r gir ls were seen in the water however, this sample was not represented in this research. Interestingly, female surfers expressed how important it is for me to try surf ing. They insisted that " y o u don ' t want to be a kook or a poser" . 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Sociology of Sport Journal, 17, 254-274. 165 Appendix I 167 Appendix II 169 Appendix III 172 Appendix IV 173 Interview Questions: Surf School Owner 1) History/Background Information: a) H o w long have you been invo lved in the sport o f surf ing? b) H o w long has (surf school name) been in operation? c) Where d id the idea to open an al l women ' s surf school originate? d) W h y an al l w o m e n surf school? Was there a demand for a women ' s speci f ic surf school at the t ime o f (surf school name) 's incept ion? e) What is (surf school name) 's miss ion? H o w successful has (surf school name) been at mainta in ing or reaching this goal? 2) Target Market: a) What is your pr imary target market? b) W h o attends (surf school name) 's lessons? Where do your cl ients come from? c) D o you think that surf ing is appeal ing to teens and pre-teens? H o w important is the so-called Generat ion Y to the success o f your business? 3) Marketing: a) What market ing techniques does (surf school name) ut i l ize to promote its school? (word o f mouth , advert is ing, promot ions, events) b) Is the Internet an important tool used i n the promot ion o f (surf school name)? Exp l a in . 4) Participation: a) There is a percept ion that more women are surf ing these days. S ince the incept ion o f (surf school name) have you not iced a growth in the support and number o f w o m e n surf ing? b) What do you think propel led the surf industry to where it is today? What is causing this increased attraction to the sport? c) H o w has the increased popular i ty o f women ' s surf ing affected the number o f participants enrol led i n lessons w i th (surf school name)? d) D o you think women ' s surf ing is here to stay? H o w do we know? What are the signs? e) D o you think the recent popular i ty o f women ' s surf ing is due to market ing and/or med ia coverage or a result o f an increased number o f females t ry ing out the sport and getting in the water? 5) Appeal: a) D o you think a gir ls-only environment is important to your cl ientele? D o participants feel more comfortable be ing taught b y females and learning to surf w i th w o m e n in the group only? W h y ? Exp l a i n . b) What in i t ia l l y attracted you to the surf l i festyle? (E.g. environment, freedom, r isk, l i festy le , intensity) c) What do you think attracts young gir ls and women to surf ing? W h y ? Exp l a i n . 174 d) D o you think the sur f scene i n Canada is different f rom other geographical locations? What attracts females to surf ing i n Canada? e) D o you bel ieve there is crossover between surf ing and the other board sports (E.g. snowboard ing, skateboarding and wakeboarding)? Have these sports helped stimulate the surf industry? 6 ) Identity: a} D o you think be ing a surfer is part o f your identity? H o w ? Does it inf luence your purchase decis ions? (E.g. mus ic , clothes, cars) Does it affect what activit ies you do? Does being a surfer p lay a role i n the format ion o f your attitude? b) D o you wear surf branded clothes to identify yourse l f as a surfer? c) D o you think non-surfers use surf style as a means o f adopting surf ing identity? H o w ? Exp l a i n . d) D o you think part icular people use/wear different brands based on their identity? T o what effect? Exp l a i n . 7) Surf Culture: a) D o you think that surfers are a distinct group? A r e surfers different i n some way? H o w are surfers different? b) Where do women fit into this picture? c) Do you consider yourse l f to be an insider in the loca l surf scene? d) H o w do you become accepted as a member o f this culture? o E.g. commitment , beach credib i l i ty , equipment, style 8) Surfing in Canada: a] A r e there many opportunit ies for female surfers to advance or get recognized i n Canada? O E.g. compet i t ions, sponsorships, promot ions 9) Blue Crush: a) D o you think B lue C rush accurately portrayed the sport o f women ' s surf ing? b) What do you think the release o f B lue C rush last Augus t d id to women ' s surf ing? Increased part ic ipat ion? Increased appeal? Increased support? W h o benefited? c) D o you think the release o f B lue C rush increased the demand for surf wear and surf-themed products among young gir ls and women in general? 10) Surf Wear Industry: a) The surf wear industry has g rown in the past few years. What do you bel ieve contributed to the increased popular i ty o f women ' s surf wear? b) D o you think this growth w i l l continue i n the years to come? Is this a short-term trend or a long-term change in the surf wear industry? c) The surf wear industry has expanded their development o f women- oriented products. D o you think these products make women more 175 comfortable w i th the identity o f " be i ng a surfer"? H o w ? What has been the impact o f these products on women ' s surf ing? d) What do ' rea l ' surfers think about the emergence o f surf brands and sur f wear into the mainstream? 11) Surf Brands: a) A r e you loya l to any spec i f ic sur f wear brands? W h i c h ones? W h y ? What do these brands mean to you? b} D o you think certain surf brands have a part icular personal ity? c) What surf brands have gained popular i ty as a whole? d) D o you think the sur f wear market is becoming too saturated? 12) Brand Marketing: a) H o w are these surf brands be ing marketed? Promoted? What k i n d o f market ing techniques do you support in order to raise surf brand awareness? b) W h o do you think surf brand marketers are ma in l y t ry ing to target? c) Has your perception o f a surf brand changed due to its market ing efforts? A n y examples? Interview Questions: Surfers 1) History/Background Information: a] H o w long have you been invo lved in the sport o f surf ing? b] Where d id you first experience the sport? Have you been an av id surfer since that first experience on the board? c] D o you sur f year round? H o w important is being able to sur f to your l i festyle? Does be ing able to surf impact the decis ions y o u make w i th regard to work , travel, l i v i n g and activit ies you partake in soc ia l ly? 2) Participation: a) There is a perception that more women are surf ing these days. S ince you began surf ing have you not iced a growth in the support and number o f w o m e n surf ing? b} What do you think propel led the surf industry to where it is today? What is causing this increased attraction to the sport? c] D o you think women ' s surf ing is here to stay? H o w do we know? What are the signs? d) D o you think the recent popular i ty o f women ' s surf ing is due to market ing and/or med ia coverage or a result o f an increased number o f females t ry ing out the sport and getting i n the water? 176 3) Appeal: a) What in i t i a l l y attracted you to the surf l i festy le? (E.g. environment, f reedom, r isk, l i festyle, intensity) b j What do you think attracts young gir ls and women to surf ing? c) D o you think the surf scene in Canada is different f rom other geographical locations? What attracts females to surf ing in Canada? d) D o you bel ieve there is crossover between surf ing and the other board sports (E.g. snowboard ing, skateboarding and wakeboarding)? Have these sports helped stimulate the surf industry? 4) Identity: a) D o you think be ing a surfer is part o f your identity? H o w ? Does it inf luence your purchase decis ions? (E.g. mus ic , clothes, cars) Does it affect what activit ies you do? Does be ing a surfer p lay a role i n the fo rmat ion o f your attitude? b] Do you wear surf branded clothes to ident i fy yourse l f as a surfer? c) Do you think non-surfers use surf style as a means o f adopting surf ing identity? H o w ? Exp la in . d] D o you think particular people use/wear different brands based on their identity? T o what effect? Exp la in . D o you think that surfers are a distinct group? A r e surfers different in some way? H o w are surfers different? Where do w o m e n fit into this picture? D o you consider yourse l f to be an insider in the loca l surf scene? H o w do you become accepted as a member o f this culture? o E.g. commitment , beach credib i l i ty , equipment, style 6) Surfing in Canada: a) A r e there many opportunit ies for female surfers to advance or get recognized in Canada? o E.g. compet i t ions, sponsorships, promot ions 5) Surf Culture: a) 7) Blue Crush: a) D o you think B lue Crush accurately portrayed the sport o f women ' s surf ing? b) What do you think the release o f B l ue C rush last August d id to women ' s surf ing? Increased part ic ipation? Increased appeal? Increased support? W h o benefited? c) D o you think the release o f B lue C rush increased the demand for surf wear and surf-themed products among young gir ls and w o m e n i n general? 177 8) Surf Wear Industry: a) The surf wear industry has grown in the past few years. What do you think contributed to the increased popular i ty o f women ' s sur f wear? b) D o you think this growth w i l l continue i n the years to come? Is this a short-term trend or a long-term change i n the surf wear industry? c) The surf wear industry has expanded their development o f women- oriented products. D o you think these products make w o m e n more comfortable w i th the identity o f " be i ng a surfer"? H o w ? What has been the impact o f these products on women ' s surf ing? d) What do ' rea l ' surfers think about the emergence o f surf brands and surf wear into the mainstream? 9 ) Surf Brands: a] A r e you loya l to any speci f ic sur f wear brands? W h i c h ones? W h y ? What do these brands mean to you? b] D o you think certain surf brands have a particular personal i ty? c] What surf brands have gained popular i ty as a whole? d] D o you think the surf wear market is becoming too saturated? 10) Brand Marketing a) H o w are these surf brands be ing marketed? Promoted? What k i n d o f market ing techniques do you support in order to raise brand awareness? b) W h o do you think surf brand marketers are ma in l y t ry ing to target? c) Has your perception o f a surf brand changed due to its market ing efforts? A n y examples? Interview Questions: Retailers 1) History/Background Information: a) H o w long has (store name) been in operation? b) Have you always carried surf merchandise at your store? If not, when d id you decide to start carry ing surf merchandise? What motivated you to explore the surf products market? c) Have you expanded the l ines your store carries over the years to reach the female consumer? What motivated you to further explore this market? d) H o w do you decide what to order and what brands your store w i l l carry? 2) Target Market: a) W h o is your pr imary consumer o f surf-related merchandise? b) D o you think the surf wear industry targets teens and pre-teens? H o w important is the so-called Generat ion Y to (store name) in particular? c) H o w important is the female consumer to the overa l l success o f (store name)? 178 d) S ince (store name) has been i n operation have you noticed a change in the demographics (age, gender) o f your ma in consumers? What can be attributed to this var ied cl ientele? 3) Participation: a) There is a perception that more women are surf ing these days. S ince you have been i n the retail industry have you not iced a growth in the support and number o f w o m e n surf ing? b) What do you think propel led the surf industry to where it is today? What is causing this increased attraction to the sport? c) Do you think women ' s surf ing is here to stay? H o w do we know? What are the signs? d) H o w much o f an inf luence has market ing had on the increased popular i ty o f women ' s surf ing and the demand for surf-related products? e) In general terms, how has the increased popular i ty o f women ' s surf ing affected your sales at (store name)? 4) Appeal: a) What do you bel ieve attracts young gir ls and w o m e n to surf ing? b) What appeals non-surfers to the surf l i festy le and hence surf style? c) Where does this fascinat ion w i th the surf l i festy le originate? d) D o you bel ieve that the surf l i festy le has crossed over to the mainstream? W h y does surf ing have such a strong mainstream presence? e) Do you bel ieve there is crossover between surf ing and the other board sports (E.g. snowboarding, skateboarding and wakeboarding)? Have these sports helped stimulate the surf industry? 5) Identity a) D o you think non-surfers use surf style as a means o f adopting surf ing identity? H o w ? Exp l a i n . b) D o you think particular people use/wear different brands based on their identity? To what effect? Exp l a in . 6) Surf Wear Industry: a) D o you bel ieve the surf l i festy le has spawned a fashion trend? b) The surf wear industry has seen dramatic growth i n the past few years. What do you think contributed to the increased popular i ty o f women ' s surf wear? c) D o surf fashions have staying power i n the long run? D o you see the surf wear industry ga in ing momentum in the years to come? Is this a short- term trend or a long-term change i n the sur f wear industry? d) The surf wear industry has expanded their development o f women- oriented products. D o you think these products make women more comfortable w i th the identity o f " be i ng a surfer"? H o w ? What has been the impact o f these products on women ' s surf ing and the surf wear industry? 179 e) What percentage o f your customer base w o u l d you c lass i fy as actual surfers? H o w important are the core surfers to the success o f (store name)? 7 ) Surfing in Canada: a) D o you think the surf scene in Canada is different f rom other geographical locations? What attracts females to surf ing i n Canada? b) H o w does the surf wear industry di f fer in Canada compared to other parts o f the wor ld? c) What is the biggest inf luence on the Canadian surf wear industry? d) D o you know o f any women ' s on l y surf schools i n Canada? H o w d id you hear about this surf school? 8) Surf Brand: a) D o you bel ieve that branding has dr iven the fashions? b) W h i c h surf brands are the most popular among young gir ls and women? c) W h y do you think (brand name) has captured the female teen and pre-teen market so we l l ? 9) Marketing: a) Does your company do market research? H o w do you decide wh i ch items your store w i l l carry each season? b) Where do surf trends originate? W h o are the trend setters? c) What market ing techniques do you consider to be most effective by marketers i n ra is ing brand awareness in the surf industry? 10) Blue Crush: a) Several articles publ ished in the Vancouver Sun f o l l o w i n g the release o f B lue C rush indicated that retailers in the Lowe r M a i n l a n d were cashing in on the magnet ism o f the surf culture and its explos ive effect on beachwear i n general? Is this accurate? D i d you notice increased sales as a result o f this f i l m ' s release? b) In the f i l m B lue C rush , the surf brand B i l l a b o n g was the f i l m ' s surf wear promot iona l partner? D i d you notice an increased demand for this brand fo l l ow ing the f i l m ' s release? Canadian Brand Manufacturing Representatives: Interview Questions 1) History/Background Information: a) H o w long has (brand name) been around? W h e n was it founded? What is the brands history? b) Is (brand name) a g loba l brand? H o w many countries have dealers se l l ing your brand? c) Has your brand expanded as a result o f the increased support and popular i ty o f women ' s surf ing? d) What is (brand name) 's m iss ion as a brand in the surf wear industry? 180 2) Target Market: a) W h o is the ma in target for your brand? b) D o you think the sur f wear industry targets teens and pre-teens? H o w important is the so-called Generat ion Y to (brand name) i n particular? c) H o w important is the female consumer to the overa l l success o f your brand? 3) Participation: a) There is a perception that more women are surf ing these days. S ince you have been i n the surf wear industry have you not iced a growth i n the support and number o f w o m e n surf ing? b) What do you think propel led the surf industry to where it is today? What is causing this increased attraction to the sport? c) D o you think women ' s surf ing is here to stay? H o w do we know? What are the signs? d) H o w m u c h o f an inf luence has market ing been on the increased popular i ty o f surf ing and the demand for surf-related products? 4) Appeal: a) What do y o u bel ieve attracts young gir ls and w o m e n to surf ing? b) What appeals consumers to the surf wear industry? c) Where does this fascinat ion w i th the surf l i festy le originate? d) D o you bel ieve that the surf l i festy le has crossed over to the mainstream? W h y does surf ing have such a strong mainstream presence? e) D o you bel ieve there is crossover between surf ing and the other board sports (E.g. snowboard ing, skateboarding and wakeboarding)? Have these sports helped stimulate the surf industry? 5) Identity: a) D o you think non-surfers use surf style as a means o f adopting surf ing identity? H o w ? Exp l a i n . b) D o you think part icular people use/wear different brands based on their identity? T o what effect? Exp l a i n . 6) Surf Culture: a) D o you think that surfers are a distinct group? A r e surfers different i n some way? H o w are they different? b) Where do w o m e n fit into this picture? c) H o w do you become accepted as a member o f this culture? o E.g. commitment , beach credib i l i ty , equipment, style 7) Surf Wear Industry: a) D o you bel ieve the sur f l i festy le has spawned a fashion trend? b) The surf wear industry has seen dramatic growth i n the past few years. What do you think contributed to the increased popular i ty o f women ' s sur f wear? 181 c) D o you see the surf wear industry ga in ing momentum in the years to come? Is this a short-term trend or a long-term change i n the sur f wear industry? d) The surf wear industry has expanded their development o f women- oriented products. D o you think these products make women more comfortable w i th the identity o f " be i ng a surfer"? H o w ? What has been the impact o f these products on women ' s surf ing? e) H o w strong is the surf wear industry i n Canada? Is it on the upswing? f) H o w important are the core surfers to the success o f your brand? Su r f B r a n d : a) H o w do you d is t inguish yourse l f f rom the competi t ion? b) D o you have a spec i f ic personal i ty for your brand? What k i nd o f image are you t ry ing to embody? c) H o w have you posi t ioned your brand i n the market? M a r k e t i n g : a) What market ing techniques do you ut i l ize to promote your brand? b) There is a percept ion that i n order to reach the wo r l d l y wise so-called Generat ion Y , marketers need to craft products and pitches that are more realist ic. Have you changed your market ing strategy to capture this generation's attention? H o w does (brand name) communicate to youth culture? c) There is a percept ion that the Internet is the med ium o f choice amongst Generat ion Y for entertainment, communica t ion , and product research? H o w important is the Internet i n your market ing strategy? d) Furthermore, there is a perception that women are becoming increas ingly important i n the sport marketplace. It is suggested that companies seeking to target and reach the female consumer must change the way they communicate to them. H o w do you communicate to women? o E.g. change the tone in wh i ch you speak to women e) H o w important are celebri ty athletes to your market ing strategy? D o you sponsor athletes? H o w many o f them are female? f) D o you do market research? What are the ma in considerations you put into product development? g) Where do the surf wear trends originate? W h o are the trend setters? B l u e C r u s h : a) D o you think B l u e C rush accurately portrayed the sport o f women ' s surf ing? b) What d id the release o f B l ue C rush last Augus t do to women ' s surf ing? Increased part ic ipat ion? Increased appeal? Increased support? W h o benefited? c) D o you think the release o f B l ue C rush increased the demand for surf wear and surf themed products among young gir ls and w o m e n in general?

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