SUSTAINABLE SURF is a non-profit organization founded by Michael Stewart and Kevin Whilden working to transform surf culture and industry into a tour de force of sustainability, environmental protection and conscious living. They work through a variety of programs including Ecoboard Project, Waste To Waves, Deep Blue Surf, and Deep Blue Life. The foundation of the projects is rooted in engaging both people and business in an interactive and fun way. The surfing industry is worth $7 billion USD, and with it comes the weighty CO2 footprint to produce all the equipment and run surf events which can pollute water, air and soil. For the surfing culture to thrive, it is important to protect the habitat that has given it rise over the years. This habitat is an ecosystem of clean oceans, marine critters, coral reefs and watersheds on land.
Threats to this delicate balance come from global contributors, namely sea level rise, ocean acidification and ocean warming; in addition to human threats of over-fishing, urban pollution, coastal development and oil spills. Sustainable Surf developed the Ecoboard Project as a means to make surfboards more eco-friendly through redesigning the production cycle to include recycled foam or wood blanks and epoxy resin made from a minimum of 15% biological content and low VOCs. Their Waste To Waves program has created multiple drop off depots all across California that accept foam to be recycled back into surf products. Deep Blue Surf carries these ideas further through the greening of surf events.
Chuy Reyna surfing the Firewire Technograin, Ph: Jason Kenworthy
In 2012, green guidelines were established with the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) and have been used at various surf competitions including Volcom Pipe Pro, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Quiksilver Pro France, Roxy Pro France and Volcom Fiji Pro. There are 5 categories that deal with reducing the impact of such events: waste reduction, renewable energy, cleaner transportation, social contribution by engaging with local environmental and social organizations and offsetting the carbon footprint.
For an event to get the Deep Blue Surf stamp of approval, it must meet at least two of the above criteria. Stewart and Whilden believe that if we can change our
surfboards to physically embody the ideals of sustainability, then we can change ourselves too. Such an effect will also spill over to our roles socially and environmentally – this is what Deep Blue Life is all about. The program entails efforts to educate people about health management, waste disposal, renewable energy, cleaner transportation, community outreach and climate impact. Sustainable surf is a force of change fueled by the desire to create positive impacts that reverberate across multiple areas of life. Knowledge and education are the way forward to catalyze this change and bring about new transformations.
What you can do:
- Donate to Sustainable Surf to support their efforts of spreading the news about greener surfing, protecting our watery planet and living a Deep Blue Life.
- Buy an ecoboard
- Recycle styrofoam at Waste To Waves locations.
- Live the Deep Blue Life. A few options include making your home more energy-efficient (there are even financial incentives and tax rebates), community gardening and community supported agriculture.
- Volunteer and collaborate with others who share the same vision.
- Join the Stringer Society