The ocean is our playground and therefore we must fight to keep the water waste-free. The surf community is moving constantly and keeps growing for decades. And over those decades the manufacturing of surfboards has evolved in design and performance, as well it shifted more from handcrafted custom-made towards machine-manufactured surfboards. What did stay the same, is the material surfboards are made of: a classical surfboard is made out of polyurethane foam blank, fiberglass, and a polyester resin. Both pretty toxic products and this classical surfboard still dominate the sales market. As surfers, we (or most of us) care about our planet and her oceans and try to take as much action to get rid of the waste we have produced so well over the decades. We are changing our state of mind to a more environmentally concerned one and try to take responsibility for all that we’ve done wrong to our planet. I believe that we are facing one of the biggest challenges in the human history.
So how come the lion share of surfboards out there aren’t the environmentally sustainable ones? Most of our surfboards (and unfortunately that includes my quiver as well) are made of toxic material and far from sustainable. Learning this, I find it a personal issue as much as it is an environmental issue. I believe it’s important we discuss this, as a surfing community, in order to find the best alternative so we can surf clean and keep our beaches and oceans healthy. Although the surfboard is not the biggest contributor to pollution of our environment (read: surfers flying or driving around the globe to find waves), but nonetheless it does add a small percentage. And all small bits can make a big chunk. For a change, we must begin with ourselves. I’m not claiming it’s time to toss out your entire collection of surfboards (I would go nuts!) but perhaps we can think about exploring the sustainable surfboard manufacturing brands when we are thinking of buying a new board. Or have a talk with a local shaper, let them know the demand for ecological, sustainable boards rises. Surfing this summer in France and Spain I saw one or two surfers with an eco-board, and boy, did those boards look awesome and they seemed to have a great flow! It looks like there is the ability to create more sustainable surfboards without forgetting about the performance improvements. The future of surfboard-manufacturing can lie in the use of materials that are based on more eco-friendly technique and which requires less waste. As surfers, we can start asking for more a greener alternative if it comes to surfboards, but even to clothing-manufacturing and much more. We can tackle many issues and take them one step at the time. But we’ve got to do it as a community. It may sound cliché, but together we do stand stronger. Here’s a list of interesting brands who are working towards creating a greener, more sustainable product:
1 Kuntiqi Balsa wood surfboards
2 Patagonia mostly retail
3 Yulex wetsuits – Patagonia wetsuits
4 Surf Natur online shop collecting eco-brands
5 Outerknown Kelly Slater’s online retail shop
6 Purakai retail
7 Ecoboards Project surfboard
8 Notox mostly hardware
9 Eco surf supplies hardware and retail
10 Five oceans mostly hardware
Know a brand, shaper, manufacturer and/or environmentalist who is not on this list but worth mentioning? Discovered one in the above list who is a phony?
Please let us know in a comment below