Surfing lends itself naturally to an environmentalist mindset by being attuned with the rolling waves and the stunning landscapes. The moment you become a surfer and realize the beauty of the ocean, you become an environmentalist. That being said, surfing often involves some products that aren’t environmentally-friendly. All surfers should aim to be a better custodian of their playground, as a surfer your playground is the ocean. Each one of us (surfers) can make an impact, do our part to increase the sustainability of our sport and reduce their impact on the water and beach environments we so frequently inhabit:
Purchase Eco-Friendly Boards- Your surfboards aren’t as eco-friendly as you might think. Typically, surfboards are currently made with petroleum by-products, laminating polyester resin over polyurethane foam and using toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, neither of these materials is good for the environment. What adds to the problem is the fact that these boards are not biodegradable and not recyclable at the end of their life, with the toxic chemicals ultimately ending up sitting in a landfill. By purchasing them you are leaving a heavy carbon and chemical footprint. Now, the obvious step would be to choose eco materials: many brands are now offering more eco-friendly boards with recycled or new materials such as bamboo and algae. Not only are these boards great for the planet, but they are also durable in comparison to traditional boards.
Recent times have seen an exponential growth in the market for more environmentally friendly surfboards which leaves no reason for you to not choose these products, and not do your part for Mother Earth.
Purchase A Planet-Friendly Wetsuit- Most wetsuits sold on the market today are made from neoprene, which is a material either made from a petroleum or limestone derivative, meaning that your nice warm wetsuit is the product of mining or drilling. Thankfully, there is no dearth of companies selling environmentally-friendly wetsuits made of neoprene alternatives, with most alternatives consisting of plant-based, organic, and chlorine-free rubbers such as NaturalPrene or Yulex. It’s high time you went for a greener alternative and ditched the toxic neoprene once and for all.
It’s just as important to go green with your wax, sunscreen and accessories. Since many surfing accessories are made of toxic materials (most commonly, made of paraffin, a petroleum by-product, and contain other substances that are harmful not only for nature but also for our own health). The toxic chemicals end up in the water, on the beach, or in a landfill where they cause massive harm by polluting the ocean. This causes harm to marine wildlife and the ocean surfers depend on. Go for organic wax brands based on soy or beeswax and other petroleum-free and biodegradable materials. Sunscreen can be very harmful for the ocean, Oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals present in most common sunscreens, are two of the worst. While these sunscreens are fine for most sports or swimming pools, surfing requires specialised sunscreen that will stay on in the waves and can easily be purchased with eco friendly ingredients. COnsider getting your surf-sunscreen at a local surf shop.
Participate In Beach Cleanups- Organize a beach cleanup with your friends and family, and utilize social networks to invite the community around you, and work towards one common goal of keeping beaches trash-free. This will not only help the environment but also prevent toxins from reaching animals and even small children.
Taking Venice Beach surf lessons, or taking surf lessons in general can be highly beneficial, you’ll acquire knowledge in ocean and beach safety which will go a long way towards shaping you into a sustainable and eco-friendly surfer.