'I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it's almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time’ (Kelly Slater).
As a passionate surfer it may happen that you spend more time in the ocean than on land. You are most likely deeply connected to the sea, the beaches, the landscape around, the seabreeze and the marine wild life. Doing what you love in this unique and breathtaking environment is simply amazing! For each of us it may seem that we do not harm this beautiful ecosystem by sliding a few waves and strolling at the beach.....we feel so connected to nature and especially the ocean but tend to forget our own impact on it.
Sure, the act of riding a wave doesn’t harm to the planet, but from the carbon footprint and toxins involved in the production of non-biodegradable surfboards, wetsuits, fins, wax, etc. etc to the amount of travelling, it’s unfortunately hardly an ecofriendly sport.
The number of surfers is continuosly rising and with it the already bad carbon footprint of the surf industry. The environmental impact is becoming greater each year and if we don’t do anything about it, that trend will continue. Fortunately, there are many different ways to act and get on board with the sustainable surf movement. In this blog post I want to point out only a few of them.
1. Extend the life of your equipment
If your equipment is broken, there are several ways to repair it (either yourself or by a professional).
Try to resist the consumer urge to constantly need to change or upgrade your equipment. Ride your current board until it dies and buy second hand. Once the board/wetsuit is no longer surf-able - make an attempt to reuse or upcycle it. If you this is not for you, try to find out if there are upcyclists/artists around who can transform discarded material into new treasures. Here at the Algarve we are blessed to have a surfboard (HOLY SURFBOARDS) - AND a wetsuit upcyclist just around the corner ;) Donate it. Or give the old board to a grom and the old suit to a fisherman. Don’t throw it in the bin which means it will end in a landfill!
2. Buy second hand
The more surfer there are, the more second hand products there are out there. Social Media and other online platforms make it ver easy to check for suitable second hand equipment. There is more than you think.
3. Support brands trying that make a difference
Even though there is still a long way to go for the surf industry to be ‘green’, there are more and more companies that have been working on ecofriendly solutions regarding surfboards, wetsuits, fins, tail pads, wax, zinc, etc. Just google ecofriendly surfboard/wetsuit/.....and you will find a bunch of offers. If you live in a coastal area with nice waves, it is worth it to check out if there are any people around repairing and upcycling equipment or producing biodegradable wax and sunscreen and support them.
4. Travel less
I know. We all love to travel and to surf all the different waves around the world. We are the generation where this is all of the sudden possible and affordable. But is it really necessary? Is it really worth it? Try to limit your long distance travels and check out closer options. Travel more by train and bus or gather together in cars to find the perfect wave around.
5. Reduce your dependence on single use plastic
The ocean environment is literally drowning in plastic. Scientists predict that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. The oceanic plastic pollution has already impacted a few hundred species across the planet - including 86% of the sea turtle population.
There are heaps of good guidelines of how to reduce plastic in your life. In the following link you will find a list of 20 ideas to get plastic out of your life: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/20-switches-to-get-plastic-out-of-your-life/
6. Clean the beaches
7. Join or support an organization that is beneficial for our oceans
There are several amazing organizations with the goal to reduce pollution and raise awareness. The following list only provides a few of them:
- Sagres Beach Clean is organising regular local beach clean ups. Just recently they are fusing with NALU PROJECT and working on brilliant ideas about how to make the clean ups more efficient and attractive. https://www.facebook.com/sagresbeachclean/
- Blue Awareness is an organization with the goal to educate kids in schools by making great projects and speeches about the pollution of our oceans. He is travelling around the world to find people who are having a positive impact on the oceans pollution; films and interviews them and uses the material to catch the kids (and adults) attention for this topic. GREAT! Https://blue-awareness.com
- Take3ForTheSea is a beach clean initiative in Australia (Byron Bay) encouraging people to take 3 pieces of trash each time you are going to a beach. They are also running programs to educate kids in schools. Https://take3.org
- Surfrider Foundation is a great non-profit organization that works to protect our oceans, waves and beaches. They do this by using an extensive list of volunteers across the world and using grass roots tactics to help solve our ocean issues, both at the local and federal level. Https://surfrider.org
- Sustainable Surf is running different programs such as celebrating and encouraging people to build surfboards out of waste, and incentivizing surfboard manufacturers to build eco-friendly boards to be labeled as an "ecoboard”. Https://sustainablesurf.org
Learn to give back to the ocean. Shift your mindset. The steps above are a good start. We (and our children) are the ones who will benefit in the long run
- and of course: Nalu Project ❤ I hope this blog post could show you how important and easy it is to make a difference. The steps above are a good start. Try it out and help to inspire even more people :) Até já.
ღ Namaste ღ