Date of Award

Spring 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Recreation Management and Policy

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Joshua Carroll


The 18 miles of New Hampshire coastline is a popular destination among recreationists, attracting millions of visitors each year. Swimming, surfing and spending time on the beach are just a few of the many activities that take place on the coast. While swimming has been utilized as a recreational activity for thousands of years, surfing has just recently become an established activity in the last few centuries. Surfing's popularity continues to grow around the world and particularly in New Hampshire and on the east coast. With increasing interest in these recreational activities at the beaches and the amount of resources staying the same, the potential for conflict between surfers and swimmers appears imminent. However, little research has been done on potential conflict between surfers and swimmers. The purpose of this study is to explore the potential for conflict between the two groups in relation to five proposed management options at two different state beaches. A 26-question quantitative survey was completed by 205 participants. Descriptive statistics and the Potential for Conflict Index were used as the primary methods of statistical analysis. The results indicated there was more out-group potential conflict between surfers and swimmers than between other user groups, there was more potential conflict between out-group users than within their own groups, and surfers had the most in-group potential conflict overall. In addition, the study showed that overall beach condition evaluations were good, and that overall all groups found the proposed changes in beach management to be unacceptable.