Truth or rotten misinformation?

I was not prepared for a bombshell to explode in my lap this Sunday morning before America’s proud independence day celebration but here I sit, covered in soot, ears ringing, pants on fire. Kelly Slater, surfing’s great ambassador and its 11x world champion, has just declared to British GQ that there are currently more surfers on earth than golfers.

The explosive statement came in the middle of an interview about time telling, how good Slater is able to count in 15-second increments and watches and was delivered thusly:

Now, I wouldn’t say (surfing) is becoming giant, but the surfing lifestyle is massive around the world. I’ve heard there’s more surfers and golfers in the world and you see what kind of money’s in golf, so that caught me off guard. Most people that surf don’t compete, but most people love the beach around the world so a favourite travel destination is always going to be to get to the beach somewhere.


More surfers than golfers on earth?

Could it be?

Let’s research.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) declares that there are 35 million surfers on earth, though I have no idea how that figure was derived. Surfer Today claims there are roughly 6 million surfers, most in the aforementioned land of free, home of brave.

Can we agree the number is somewhere higher than 6 but well lower than 35? Something like 12 million feels right. No? Slips right off the tongue and doesn’t taste an outright lie.

Now, golf. The National Golf Foundation says, in Golf Digest, there are 24.8 million golfers in the United States alone, with 2021 showing the largest net participation increase in the last 17-years. That sort of number work exudes legitimacy. Real abacus work. If the U.S. has 24.8 million, Europe must have a heap and China has over 1.4 billion people so…

…Kelly Slater is wrong and out peddling misinformation, fake news, to the fashion-conscious British male public.

For shame.