The interaction surfers have with their natural environment is elemental to the wave riding experience.
While the act of surfing has very little environmental impact, surfing does have some components that are less than green. It's never a bad time to examine how our surf habits affect the natural environment.
Here are several steps you can take to surf green in and out of the water:
SurfboardsLet's start with the most critical piece of surf equipment: your surfboard. Most surfboards are made of toxic materials that are harmful to our planet. Worse yet, the typical surfboard is not built to last. Durability is often an overlooked feature of the modern surfboard. Broken surfboards (and all their toxic materials) often end up in the landfill.
Luckily, there is a quiet revolution taking hold in the surfboard industry. A cadre of shapers uses stronger, innovative materials to make surfboards last without compromising performance. Check out what Hess Surfboards, FCD Surfboards and Green Foam Blanks are up to, or talk to your local shaper about your options for stronger, greener alternatives to a typical surfboard.
In addition, take care of your surfboard and keep up on maintenance. While few things rival the excitement of getting a new or custom surfboard, consider getting one second-hand. There is a glut of high-quality used surfboards out there.
Vote With Your WalletAs consumers, we have choices in the kinds of companies we support. When making purchasing decisions, why not support companies that use earth friendly materials and processes in their manufacturing. A few examples: The Surfer's Path magazine (100% recycled materials), Patagonia (organic cotton), Sector 9 Skateboards (green manufacturing), FIREWire Surfboards, and companies that sport "1% For the Planet" on their labels.
Get InvolvedIn our modern, crowded world, our waves and beaches are constantly under attack. Unchecked development can threaten water quality, beach access, and the serenity of our favorite surf spots. Only by getting involved can we hope to keep our surf clean and our natural environments natural.
Check out organizations like the Surfrider Foundation, Defend Oahu Coalition, and Heal the Ocean—all great organizations working diligently to protect our oceans and beaches for this generation and the next.
It All Flows to the SeaTwo main sources of ocean pollution include urban run-off and garbage left on the beach. What you pour down the drain eventually flows to the sea. Consider using certified organic products, which don't use harmful chemicals that can wind up in the ocean.
Finally, limit your use of disposable plastic products. Get a stainless steel reusable water bottle, bring cloth bags to the store and endorse products that use minimal or no plastics in their packaging.
Do your part to surf green and keep our ocean healthy for future generations of surfers.Check out these surf camps.
Accomplished waterman and lifelong surfer Todd Walsh is the co-founder and producer of Surf Stronger training videos.