Il surfista, eroe romantico nell’Australia contemporanea. Un’analisi etnografica a partire dal caso della Gold Coast

Dario Nardini


Through the ethnographic analysis of surf culture on the Gold Coast, this paper examines the relevance of the surfer’s image in Australia’s representations. In fact, surfing epitomises some of the cultural traits that symbolically define the national identity such as the relation with nature, the beach, fitness and “larrikism”. Among these qualities, bravery represents the cornerstone of an exclusive and mainly manlyand whitesporting culture. As a seductive echo of the Romantic hero, surfers embody the ideal appeal of “fun” and freedom, as well as the competitive attitude of sport and the athletic allure of youth; with no contradictions, they also exemplify the individualism of the “neoliberalist ethos”, a virile kind of brotherhood and the discriminating dynamics which have characterized the history of sport in Australia. The Gold Coast is an ideal context to observe these processes in fieri, for its role in promoting competitive surfing and surfers’ representations in the Country.


Surf; Australian identity; Gold Coast; Representations; Surfing culture

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Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary - Biannual - Edizioni Mimesis