As anything recreational in life, no matter how fun it is, there will be a budget matter at some point. So, how much does it cost to surf? Well, it depends. But we will do the breakdown for you.
Mostly, it will depends on where you live and how often you will go.
1) The water temperature of your closest breaks/your area and how much it varies
If you live in a tropical region (Indonesia, central America, Caribbean’s islands etc.) where you can surf all year in boardshort, you are lucky. Sure, you should change it occasionally, but you probably won’t need more than two per year. So, your budget to cover your skin will stay very reasonable, let’s say 100$ yearly to keep the math simple.
Cold/variable water temperature
If you live in a cold place, or a place where the water temperature is variable depending on seasons (California, France, etc.) it will cost you a lot more if you want to surf all year round. You will need at least two different wetsuits (one for the winter, one for spring/summer) and maybe more for extensive comfort. Considering that one wetsuit is around 400$ for the winter ones, and between 150 and 300$ for the lighter ones, you get it, not the same budget. For the cold-water surfers, you will also appreciate booties, gloves and hoodies. You can consider 60$ for booties, same for hoodies and slightly cheaper for gloves.
So, just to keep you warm, you are already around 800$ worth of equipment, and that is probably a low value. It can go a lot higher depending on the quality of the equipment, or how many you have. Let’s say that you surf often but not like a maniac, so you will need to change your equipment every two years. So, your cost is around 400$ a year. And you don’t even have a board yet.
2) The distance between your house and the closest breaks
If you live down the beach and you can just walk there, you are lucky. You are also clearly one of the few.
Unfortunately the average Joe is not that close, so you need to take into consideration the cost of transport, the consumption of your car and so on. If you are more than 1 hour away from the beach, or if you need a lot of driving to find the perfect fit, not only that’s not eco-friendly, but it will also hurt your wallet. Most car these days consume between 5 and 8l/100km of petrol, so depending on the price of the black gold in your country and how much you drive, it can easily cost you 20$ per session.
I spare you the cost of amortization of your car, and how much you spoil the seat with your wax, salt and sand, I’m not accountant. But you get the idea. Transport can be your highest expenditure as a surfer. 50 sessions per year at 20$ each is already a 1000$ bill… and that’s only 50 session, and only 20$.
3) The Type of breaks surfed
Why this is also to take into consideration? Because it will determine how much you use your boards, how many you will need, or how often you will break them…
Most surfers need at least 2 boards. One for everyday waves, one for small days/bigger days. Again, it depends where you live. You can be fine with one everyday board if your spot is really consistent. If it’s not, you will enjoy a small wave board. And if you are experienced, you might use a “perfect day board”. It depends on situations.
The classic duration of a board depends a lot on how much you use it, but also the kind of boards you use. Most shortboards will last around 2-3-year maximum. Or until you break them… One the other hand, longboards are mostly surfed in smaller conditions, and are usually heavier/stronger, so you can expect more.
If you surf shallow reef/shorebreaks (=barreling waves), you will likely snap your boards a lot more often. Let’s say you will keep it one year on average. A shortboard being around 500-700$ depending on countries, and a longboard usually more expensive, you can do the math.
You can consider a minimum cost of 100$ per year (not frequent usage of one board) to 1500$ and (a lot) more (multiples shortboards due to snapping, or high variety of boards).
Of course, if you go every day, you will use and damage your equipment often. On the other hand, if you go twice a year, you will be able to keep it a lot longer.
You now have a basic idea of the “real” price of regular surfing. You can add the surf trips in your list if it’s something that you do often. Prices can vary greatly as well.
To sum up, the cost to surf can range between 200$ per year assuming that you live right on the spot in a tropical location that requires no equipment and that is not damaging your boards too much… to a minimum of 1000$ for the same thing in a colder place. If you add the transport costs, the board snaps and repairs, the pleasure of multiples surfboards or surf trips, it can go up pretty fast and pretty high!
If you wonder where your money had gone the past few years, maybe we brought you back to reality, and we are sorry for that. But you can’t measure happiness in $$, right?
What about you, how much does it cost you to practice your favorite sport?