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Empire in WavesA Political History of Surfing$
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Scott Laderman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520279100

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520279100.001.0001

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Industrial Surfing

Industrial Surfing

The Commodification of Experience

(p.131) Five Industrial Surfing
Empire in Waves

Scott Laderman

University of California Press

By the early twenty-first century, surfing was a multibillion-dollar industry. It relied on the neoliberal globalization of the preceding decades, with surfwear corporations employing sweatshop labor in the developing world and contributing to the environmental damage produced by apparel manufacturing. At the same time, it marketed an image of surfing as cool and even rebellious. This industrialization exposed a tension within the surfing community: should surfers embrace their sport’s growth and professionalization or did the industrialization detract from the “purity” of people riding waves? By the early twenty-first century, the organic surfwear brands faced a growing threat from non-endemics such as Nike and Hollister.

Keywords:   North Shore, surf industry, sweatshops, Quiksilver, Patagonia, Nike, Hollister

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