If you’re a keen diver, you’re probably concerned about the health and well-being of the oceans. After all, without beautiful clean oceans, we can’t enjoy scuba diving. Unfortunately, some destinations which are popular with divers don’t pay a lot of attention to the well-being of the marine life in that area.
When choosing a dive spot for your next vacation, it’s time to think about selecting one which is known for its eco-conscious approach to diving. In such places, the local authorities have thought hard about how they can preserve animals and habitats that are threatened, and when you choose to visit them, you can be certain that you won’t be causing any damage to the world’s natural environment.
Here are some of the world’s most green diving spots for you to choose from.
Several years ago, Hawaii was leading the way in banning plastic bags in grocery stores. A couple of years later, resorts stopped giving their guests plastic single-use straws. This just goes to prove how dedicated this state is to preserving its natural beauty. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine national Monument has half a million square miles of habitat underwater that surrounds the islands to the north west of Hawaii’s main chain. Although you can’t dive there, the habitat is home to 7000 different marine species and this means that the rest of the waters surrounding Hawaii are especially teeming with wildlife. Head to eco-conscious Hawaii on your diving vacation and you’ll discover the joy of manta night dives at Kona – something which is only possible because of conservation efforts in the local area. The safe diving practices which are implemented here ensure that divers can see the stunning creatures without threatening or damaging them.
The first Caribbean national marine park was established in 1978 in Bonaire – something which was revolutionary at the time. Covering almost 7000 acres, this park protects marine life down to 200 feet and the Coral Restoration Foundation has long been active here working to regrow staghorn and elkhorn corals which once grew around the island. Bonaire is also home to the green sea turtle, which you can discover at Bonaire National Marine Park. The Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire group is responsible for protecting these beautiful creatures and you can discover them on a diving trip here.
Stay a little closer to home at the Californian coastline. Monterey Bay has its own national Marine Sanctuary which covers just over 6000 square miles of the ocean. It’s home to many of north California’s favorite dive sites such as Pinnacles of Carmel Bay, Monterey’s Breakwater and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve’s Whaler’s Cover. Almost 300 miles of underwater habitat and coastline support an enormous amount of biodiversity and you’ll see no less than 36 different marine mammal species such as blue whales, harbour seals, southern sea otters and Steller sea lions. There are lots of volunteers working here, and divers are encouraged to join the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s volunteer network every July for their annual fish count exercise which tracks the local population of giant sea bass, California sheephead and many more species.
When you’re preparing for your diving vacation, you also need to take great care that your actions won’t be destroying or threatening any of the natural environment that you’re keen to discover. Make sure that you don’t interfere with any of the creatures or touch any of the delicate corals under the water. It’s important to observe without interaction so that both you and the creatures can stay safe.
Make sure that you are also well prepared for your trip. In some of these areas you may find that there is no equipment available for hire or purchase when you arrive. That means if you’ve left some key item behind you won’t be able to get in the water for your amazing diving experience. You don’t want to miss out, so make sure that you have everything packed for your adventure in your suitcase before you set off. This article will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right equipment for your trip so that you don’t forget anything vital.
We’re stoked to announce that our web app is now live.
We’ve created an app that aligns with our brand values and is something we’re passionate about: Reducing our carbon footprints. Our app lets your pledge donation amounts for reducing your carbon footprint. It automatically calculates the carbon you will offset based on your total pledges. Finally, it will remind you when your pledge is due.
You can check it out here.
I saw this on Reddit today and whilst scrolling through the usual humorous platitudes such forums offer, an interesting comment was made about whether surfers are the best advocates for telling people to protect the environment. Indeed, many surfers have taken up recent campaigns, telling us not to use plastic straws, asking us to pledge something for the oceans and of course Kelly’s own sustainable clothing line being launched a few years back.
It makes you wonder when you think about how many flights these guys take in a year to compete at the spots, going to other surf spots or back home in between events. And if they really are the logical choice to be promoting environmental messages. The hypocrisy of it all has been noted many surfers and non-surfers a like. I bet you probably wouldn’t have to look too hard either to catch some of the pros using take away coffee cups or plastic straws even if they had featured on an ad against their usage.
“Do what I say, and don’t do as I do” springs to mind when I see these kinds of campaigns from Corona et al. I think more work still needs to be done on getting the right kinds of advocates to deliver these important environmental messages. Why surfers who actually live by the kinds of messaging these brands are wanting to promote aren’t approached is beyond me. Surfers like Dave “Rasta” Rastovich or big wave surfer Hugo Vau, to my mind, would be more logical choices to promote such messages.
In a way, I can understand why the CT surfers have been approached to say “Guys, c’mon we need to stop using plastic” as they have more mainstream appeal. But, wouldn’t it make better sense to do educational shorts where the CT guys and girls are perhaps learning how their current lifestyles can be modified to help the environment. Whilst, the sentiment and motivation to make a change is there I think the execution can be refined better.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree that other advocates should be used for promoting environmental messages? Let us know in the comments.
Is your Instagram feed in need of some inspiration? Do you want to find out more about sustainability and fashion? Fear not, we’ve put together the ultimate list of our top 10 eco conscious social media influencers. Make sure you give them a follow!
1. Anuschka Rees
Anuschka is a Fashion Blogger and writer of “The Curated Closet”. Based in Berlin, she is a big advocate of wearing what you feel comfortable in and not because it pertains to someone’s idea of beauty. Posts often reference the aforementioned book.
On Instagram: @anuschkarees
2. Sustainably Chic
Natalie Kay posts some great daily inspiration for people interested in sustainable fashion. A wide range of clothing ideas for all ages from kids to adults. As a mum, posts often feature sustainable fashion items for babies.
On Instagram: @sustainablychic
3. Eco Cult
An account that juxtaposes slow sustainable fashion with travel perfectly. Offers a great insight to where many clothes are made these days, India and Bangladesh creating more awareness and shining a light on this part of the world, Alden Wicker as a journalist and blogger is a great advocate for the sustainable fashion movement.
On Instagram: @ecocult
4. Michelle For Good
LA based Michelle established The Tote Project, a project that supports sex trafficked survivors through selling ethical fashion bags. Her Instagram gives a great fun insights into the world of slow sustainable fashion.
On Instagram: @michelleforgood
5. Eco Warrior Princess
Account run by Jennifer Nini who is on a mission to create awareness on the impact that our fashion choices have on the environment. Bringing together a mixture of eco-tourism, sustainable fashion and healthy living Jennifer’s feed will certainly give you more than enough inspiration for leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
On Instagram: @ecowarriorprincess
We’re celebrating Black Friday by offering our customers free shipping on all orders within the United States. No discount code required.
Also, we have launched a sitewide sale where you can save up to 45% on eco surf products.
If that wasn’t enough we’ve also launched a great Buy Any 2 Sunglasses and Get The Third Free. Again no coupon code required.
So what are you waiting for, shop and save before our Sale ends. YEW!!!!
This is something that I ask myself on a fairly infrequent basis, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about more in the last couple of years. It’s only when our wetsuits tears or shrinks, or we realise that our 3/2 just won’t cut it in colder waters during Winter, that we start thinking about our next purchase. Often we just go for whatever is easiest and perhaps been recommended to us by friends. The only problem is that most of the leading brands are still using Neoprene in their wetsuit manufacturer. This is a big problem if you’re ecological minded.
Is Neoprene Biodegradable?
Nope, no way, absolutely not. The chances are that the neoprene that makes up most, if not all your wetsuit will end up in landfill at some point. Take a moment to think about the scale of wastage that causes and let’s do some basic math.
Let’s take the ridiculously high estimate that there are 35 million surfers in the world (according to Ponting and O’Brien) and let’s half this number straight away to account for regular surfers, and est. at it at 17.5 mi. Approx. 85% of them will need a wetsuit at some point during the year, so that’s 14.875 mil. Wetsuits right there. This is only assuming that each person has one wetsuit each, and of course we know that for many surfers in colder waters (Northern Europe, East Coast, South America, NoCal etc..) will need more than just the one type of wetsuit in their wardrobe.
So if we assume about 40% will have 2 wetsuits then this increases the number of wetsuits to approximately 20,825,000. Now let’s say a very conservative ⅓ of all those wetsuits will end up in landfill that’s still 6.8 million wetsuits every two years (which is how often the average surfer replaces their wetsuits). At this point it’s also worth pointing out that surfing makes up a small percentage of water sports, the number is probably a lot great when you consider scuba diving, spearfishing, windsurfing, kitesurfing etc. Carvemag have in fact estimated that 380 tonnes of non-biodegradable chemical waste ends up each and every year.
Buying a ‘green’ wetsuit
The good news is that you shouldn’t to search too far and wide to buy a more eco friendly wetsuit. Already, well established brands such as Patagonia have lots of different sustainably produced wetsuits to choose from, for both guys and girls. Often their wetsuits come at a restrictive price point for those on a tight budget. They use Yulex neoprene for many of their wetsuits which means the material comprises of a natural based rubber rather than petrochemicals/oil. Their wetsuits provide great warmth, comfort and stretch and many of my friends are glad they made the investment as their wetsuits are known to last for longer than many of the competitors.
Lower Budgets catered for
The good news is that you don’t need to spend $500 – $700 on a wetsuit, there are some relatively newer companies that offer ‘green’ wetsuits at a lower. If you don’t mind paying a bit extra for shipping, France has a few companies that are looking to alternative materials and bio-based alternatives to Neoprene that are fast establishing themselves in the market. Picture Organic and Soöruz, for example that are trying as hard as possible to cut out all neoprene from their wetsuits. The former has a First Stretch wetsuit made from primarily NaturalPrene, with 15% made up of chlorine free rubber. Their wetsuits come in at a more palatable price of around $300 – $400. Then of course, there’s Vissla which are capturing more of the mainstream market thanks to their marketing efforts and provide wetsuits in the price range between Patagonia and the aforementioned French brands.
Some people may want to consider a limestone-based neoprene for their wetsuit. Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed of Calcium carbonate. It is often found in marine environments e.g coral, algae, fecal debris that settles on the ocean floor and is compressed by oceanic currents/movements over time. However like petroleum it is energy intensive in its extraction, transportation and transformation into a usable material. It is also a non-renewable mined from the earth. Matuse in California have been using limestone-neoprene but are looking for more sustainable materials for wetsuit production.
As more experimentation with materials, expect more players to enter the sustainable wetsuit market, although at the moment it appears that the major players such as Quiksilver, Rip Curl and Billabong are yet to change their manufacturing process as they chase profits over sustainability.
So, next time your due for a new wetsuit take a moment to think about buying a ‘green’ wetsuit even if it may cost a bit more. You’ll be doing your bit and chances are you’ll save more in the long run as the wettie will last longer.
Or Not…The Choice is Yours. But if you’re after some great advice on how to repair creases / a buckled surfboard, watching this video is highly recommended.
Me personally, if it’s a small repair I usually do myself, but something where I’m not confident I have the necessary skills and equipment I’ll always hand over to a professional. After, all if it’s one of your favorite board’s and you want to get some more use out of it for the other swells, you don’t want to fu** it up. It’s good to see pro’s like Joe Roper also being thrifty with what they have and recycling whenever possible.
We’re stoked to announce some new products that have just been added this week on the site. We have been working hard the last few months to bring these 100% recycled swell lines fins exclusively to Shaka Surf. These fins have been designed and developed in Europe and we have teamed up with the amazing street graffiti artist Vasco Maio to give these eco and sustainable fins a very distinctive look. Vasco takes his inspiration from nature and what could reflect this better than the manifestation of the force of mother nature a.k.a swell lines.
These fins earn their eco credentials as they are made from 100% recyclable and reusable materials. Available as: blue single fins, purple single fins and orange single fins for the 7″ and 9″ single fins. We also have released a limited batch of G5 Medium fins in blue for shortboards.
Use them in your setup, or to decorate the home, the choice is yours. But don’t miss out on these bad boys!
Often as surfers are minds can be fixated on waves, that sometimes we forget to slip, slap, slop. I’m sure we’ve all been there, rushing to get ready and out into the lineup as quick as possible that we forget to put on sunscreen. Melanoma is a serious business after all, and getting sunburnt is never fun. If like me, you natural skin color is on the pale side anyway, it’s best to go with higher SPF factors such as 30+ or 50+ depending on where you are in the world and how strong the sun is.
I have been lucky enough to surf in some amazing hot and exotic countries, but countries were the sun is so much stronger than back home. I always make sure I pack enough sun protection for the trip, as you never know when you might be caught short for instance in more remote places or where basic necessities such as suncream might come at a higher price point because of greed or import cost.
Like many surfers, I’ve also tried the usual brands of suncream protection and zinc sticks. Remember that SPF is a guide, so if your usually burn in 10 minutes without sun protection it’s best to go for a higher rating such as SPF 30+ which will offer 300 minutes protection. But, keep in mind it degrades the moment you put it on your skin, so this should be used as a general guide. Also, is the surf is pumping you’re not gonna be going in and out of the water every 1hr to reapply, so with this in mind always go for a much higher level of protection and ideally choose a product designed and tested by surfers for surfers.
Whilst, often these may be the most convenient to buy they are not aways the best for your skin. Many suncreams actually contain chemical filters such as oxybenzone, homosalate and titanium dioxide. So what’s the problem you’re problem asking yourself? Well the problem is that many of these chemicals that are typical in cosmetic products such as the aforementioned oxybenzone have a very high toxicity rating. Despite its function to protect our skin from harmful UV rays, when we apply it sunscreen oxybenzone actually gets absorbed into our skin and stays in our body for an unknown period of time.
That’s pretty alarming. After all we’ve been buying these products for most of our lives and going out in the sun on the assumption that not only will the sunscreen protect us, but be free from toxic chemicals that will be absorbed by our skin. Shouldn’t these sunscreens be more closely scrutinized by industry regulators before being allowed to be stocked on shelves?
Unfortunately, until regulations change these big pharmaceuticals are still going to carry on producing sunscreens with oxybenzone in them in. That’s why it’s essential to always check the label on what you’re buying. If you’re not satisfied the sunscreen is free from parabens and toxic chemicals DON”T BUY IT! There are alternatives, such as our natural organic sunscreen which is a non-nano zinc oxide that is free from parabens and offer SPF 45+.
Thankfully, there is a positive moment towards change in sunscreens, and more companies are starting to produce non-toxic sunscreens. Hopefully, this growing awareness will put pressure on the big boys to buck their ideas up and start removing chemicals like oxybenzone from their sunscreens.