SURFING is worth £52 million a year to Northern Devon and supports around 1,500 jobs in the area, according to a new survey. The survey was commissioned by TRISURF, a European community surfing project based in Northern Devon and run under the North West

SURFING is worth £52 million a year to Northern Devon and supports around 1,500 jobs in the area, according to a new survey.The survey was commissioned by TRISURF, a European community surfing project based in Northern Devon and run under the North West Devon Leader+ programme.It was undertaken to find out how important surfing is to Northern Devon's economy. TRISURF project coordinator Chris Farris said: "It is generally accepted that surfing is an important economic driver in Northern Devon, but nobody knew to what extent. Surfing surveys in the past have concentrated on Cornwall or the South West as a whole, so no figures at all existed for Northern Devon. "I think that the results of this survey will highlight how important surfing is to this region and dispel the widely held myths about surfers contributing little to the economy".Martin Wickham, General Manager of North Devon+, said: "This is obviously an important finding, and goes some way to reinforcing the value of surf tourism in the region. Businesses have obviously been doing things right for a long time and it would be great to build on this by adding a sustainable edge and making Northern Devon a pinnacle of green watersports tourism. This fits perfectly with one of the objectives of North Devon+ - to promote our area as a fantastic holiday destination with a multitude of things to do, in the heart of an outstanding environment, the North Devon Biosphere. ''A funding application to the European programme INTERREG 4 for a new research project to answer some of the questions thrown up in the survey and to work towards a sustainable watersports strategy for the region has been submitted and it is hoped this will begin in November.Anyone with queries regarding the survey, how to get involved in future research or how they can support TRISURF can make contact by e-mail chris@leaderplus.co.uk or ibromham@northdevonplus.co.uk, or go to the contact option on the www.trisurf.eu website.