Sustainability in Surfing

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TL:DR;Sustainability in surfing is on the rise. There are number of companies who are actively promoting a more sustainable way of living through their brand values and products. The use of chemicals in surfing apparel and products is affecting all aspects of marine life. As surfers we need to shop in alignment with our love of water and protecting our oceans. 

We live and breathe in our ocean environment. We are enamoured with the conditions, the tides and the times of day. We literally sweep the ocean surface with our hands, our fins, our toes. Some of us call our surf time “our solace” yet many of us are not actively protecting it.  What can we do as surfers to protect the environment?  

What brands can we support that are not harming our precious beaches and surf spots? In 2018 many forward thinking surf companies have risen up and committed to using sustainable and eco-friendly materials and/or selling sustainable products. Companies like Patagonia, ECOboards,  Eco-Flex Surfboards, Surfyogis, Avasol Organic Sunscreens, Riz Boardshorts, and Indosole, for example, have used organic and/ or recycled materials to produce their surf gear. For instance, Patagonia Outdoor Clothing and Gear uses recycled plastics and other materials for their durable clothing like their cashmere, wool sweaters and down jackets. 

Of course it's one thing to make sure your product contains more renewable and sustainable resources, but it's also important to look at the cause of why there is so much plastic wastage and what can we do to repurpose our waste. This is why many companies from equipment manufacturers to clothing are looking for new and innovative ways to repurpose collateral waste. At Shaka Surf it's something we're committed to as well. Our 100% recycled materials surf fins use discarded materials to create something both functional and aesthetically pleasing. 

Patagonia is also part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which is “a global alliance of retailers, brands, suppliers, advocacy groups, labor unions and 
academics, that aims to create “an apparel, footwear and home textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on people and communities.” And this doesn’t just apply to their clothing-FCD Surfboards (their surfboard brand) uses sustainable surfboard blanks re-made of recyclable EPS foam.

So why would a consumer want to buy these sustainable surf products instead of 
the more mainstream, sometimes cheaper, alternatives? First and foremost, without the ocean, water sport enthusiasts would have nowhere to enjoy their beloved hobbies. Ocean enthusiasts tend to be a lot more tapped in to the importance in protecting their water environments because they see first hand the negative effects plastics, dyes and chemicals can have on sea creatures, beaches, and coral reefs. Chemical sunscreens, for example, have been proven to kill coral reefs. “Even in minute doses, the researchers found, oxybenzone rapidly bleaches coral and slows new growth.” In this day and age companies that live and breathe the ocean are taking positive steps Sustainability in Surfing towards sustainable consumerism. That means surfers can now jump on board and set positive examples of how to live and shop in alignment with their love of the water.

Sources: 
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/19/opinion/sunday/sunscreen-poisoning-ocean-reef.html