Skip to Main Content

Course Descriptions

Surf Studies (SURF)

SURF 341 Surf Studies in Hawaii (3)

This is the introductory course for the Surf Studies minor/certificate program. Surf Studies in Hawai'i presents surfing as a global cultural phenomenon that has Hawai'i as it place of origin. Students develop skill at analyzing and critiquing key aspects in the growth of surfing culture through the study of diverse cultural perspectives using sources that include books, magazines, film and other aspects of popular culture, as well as interviews with key people in contemporary surf culture. The course is forward-looking with regard to contemporary technological developments (e.g. artificial surfing sites, jet-skis) and the introduction of surfing into the Olympics. Because of Hawaiiʻs centrality to global surf culture, studentsʻ own experiences as surf participants and spectators figure prominently in the course.

SURF 351 Philosophy of Surfing (3)

One of the most influential historians of classical western philosophy in the past 25 years is Pierre Hadot, whose ground breaking work emphasized that philosophy as practiced in the ancient world was always more than an academic pursuit, it was a way to organize and live an examined life that addressed issues of ethics, physical/emotional/mental health, connection to nature, and, ultimately, the goal of human being.  For this reason, many contemporary authors have begun to refer to avid surfers as possessing a kind of philosophy of life.  This course will examine the philosophical theories of Hadot and a few others and consider whether the writings of modern surfers correspond or conflict with these theories.

SURF 361 Business and Entrepreneurship in Surfing (3)

Overview of different dimensions of the surfing industry; case studies in surf business and entrepreneurship; surf tourism; Surf design; ethics and impacts of surfing industry.

 SURF 371 Environmental Studies and Surf Science (3)

This course will explain, explore and analyze surfing from a scientific perspective. The course summarizes the dynamic meteorological, oceanographic and coastal phenomena that determine the size, shape and frequency of ocean swells, inshore waves, tidal bores and tsunamis. The course explores the relationships between the many sizes and shapes of surf boards and the types of waves each is designed to best surf.  The course requires students to analyze surf skills, catalog terms that describe them, like “floater,” “hanging ten” and “pearl” and explain the dynamic physical processes that enable us the catch a wave, or not and bust these moves. Students will also identify anthropogenic ocean threats that degrade surf breaks, coral reefs and water quality and learn how to protect each.

 SURF 410 Surfing and Marine Science (3)

Wave dynamics and theory; meteorology and surfing; surfing and the nearshore coastal environment; surfing environmental impacts; surfing and climate change; surfing as a vehicle for conservation messaging.

SUR 480 Special Topics in Surf Studies (3)

This course is designed for Surf Studies minors. Topics include, but are not limited to Surf Feminism; Surfing in Film and Television; Health, Fitness, and Nutrition in Surfing; Surfing and the Olympics, etc. May be repeated for credit.