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7 Tips to Lessen the Impact of Your Surfing on the Ocean
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7 Tips to Lessen the Impact of Your Surfing on the Ocean

Wave Tribe

By now, we’re aware of how the surfing industry can be a toxic business.

Published by Wave Tribe

The sustainable gear market, where Wave Tribe belongs to, produces eco-surfing gear and helps reduce the negative effects that surfing brings to the ocean and to the environment.

Each year, it produces around 400,000-600,000 surfboards made from toxic materials.

The sustainable gear market, where Wave Tribe belongs to, is actually just a small part of it. There should be more us now, of course, given how climate change is turning for the worse. But change is slow, and while surfing is getting more popular than ever, using eco-surfing gear has yet to pick up in the consciousness of your average American surfer.

Still, it’s never too late to start going green in your surfing lifestyle. Here are seven tips on how to lessen the impact of your surfing on the ocean.

  1. Go Surfing at Your Local Break
  2. Use Eco-friendly Surfboards
  3. Keep Your Board Protected with Organic Wax
  4. Use an Eco Leash
  5. Put on an Environment-friendly Sunscreen
  6. Pick Trash on Your Way Out
  7. Protect Your Board with a Hemp-based Surfboard Bag

1. Go Surfing at Your Local Break

Why fly to distant surf breaks when you can just go surf at your nearest local surfing spot? Sure, there’s fun to be had surfing in far away places but unless you’ve got the mad skills to survive surfing a break like Nazare, it’s best to just surf local.

That’s because flying produces a lot of carbon emissions which isn’t friendly for an already warming world. The airline industry accounts for at least 2 percent of global carbon emissions. In 2018 alone, commercial airlines burned 94 billion gallons of fossil fuel globally.

Besides, there are pretty good reasons for surfing at your local break. For one thing, it’s an opportunity to do something proactive for the environment. You can organize beach clean-ups to reduce the amount of trash dumped on our coasts. Additionally, you can help support the local economy by staying near home.

Surf at your local break. It will not only reduce the carbon emission that airplanes produce, but it'll also help support the local economy.

2. Use Eco-friendly Surfboards

If you’re looking to buy your first surfboard, pick any of the dozens of sustainable surfboards on the market. If you’re a pro, I think it’s about time you considered changing your boards with eco-friendly ones. Like Kelly Slater.

Traditional fiberglass surfboards are made by covering polyester resin over polyurethane foam, which involves hazardous chemicals like styrene and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Epoxy boards, meanwhile, use expanded polystyrene foam glassed with standard epoxy resin, a less toxic production process, but one that still comes with a heavy carbon footprint.

Because of these materials, your average surfboard isn’t recyclable. It’s going to stay stuck in a landfill or else sink into the ocean where it will become one with the plastic trash on the seafloor.

Kelly Slater's eco-friendly surfboard.
Photo by: Erin Kunkel from an article in Sunset Magazine

One alternative is to use boards which use at least 40 percent recycled or biological materials and epoxy resin with at least 15 percent biological, low VOC content. Because there is now a demand for eco-friendly surfing, there are more and more companies which are coming up with new materials that are really environment-friendly. There’s even a mushroom-based surfing board being developed—how cool is that?

3. Keep Your Board Protected with Organic Wax

Today’s surfboard waxes are generally made from paraffin wax which is a by-product of petroleum. Petroleum processing is environmentally destructive. By the time paraffin is produced, the whole process would have generated more carbon emissions and wasted huge amounts of energy. There’s also the dirty fact that it contains toxic and carcinogenic elements.

Fortunately though, there are now eco-waxes available in the market. These use natural and sustainable materials like beeswax and natural tree resin. And the awesome thing is that it works even better than the commercial brand.

Wave Tribe's Eco Wax is 100% organic and made from beeswax and coconut oil.

4. Use an Eco-Leash

Surfboard leashes are an essential gear for surfers. Not only do they provide protection for your surfboard but they also prevent your surfboard from hitting nearby surfers.

But they are made from polyurethane, nylon, and velcro. While these materials give the leash a manageable recoil and a better tensile strength, urethane, which is the primary material that gives surfing leashes their elasticity, is a synthetic polymer that is made with a large carbon footprint.

So if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, use a surfboard leash that’s made from sustainable materials. For instance, leashes that are made from recycled plastic often work better than standard commercial ones. By also using recycled materials, you can also help fuel the consumer demand for recycling and help sustain the recycling chain.

Wave Tribe's Recycled Eco Leash are made from
recycled plastic.

5. Put on an Environmental-friendly Sunscreen

Because a surfer is always exposed to UVA and UVB rays, a sunscreen with some major league skin protection always comes in handy.

Unfortunately though, most sunscreens contain ingredients that are toxic to the environment. Two of these are oxybenzone and octinoxate which are responsible for converting the harmful rays into harmless heat.

Oxybenzone, in particular, is toxic to corals even at very low concentrations. This is what led Hawaii to pass a legislation to prohibit the distribution and sale of sunscreen with oxybenzone and octinoxate content in order to protect their corals which draws in tourists yearly.

The good news is there are now a lot of eco-friendly sunscreens which don’t have these harmful chemicals. So if you want to protect your skin while saving the environment, pick one that is chemical-free.

The ocean is very important to all of us. That’s why we should do everything we can to protect and sustain it so that we can enjoy more clean and bigger waves for years to come.

— Derek Dodds, Wave Tribe Founder

6. Pick Trash on Your Way Out

Don’t ignore trash on your way out of the beach. Consider ending an awesome day of catching waves by collecting the trash that gets dumped on the beach by the tides or the foot traffic. Call it an impromptu beach cleaning effort.

When one is a surfer, one is also an environmental steward not only on sea but also on land. Besides, it’s a great opportunity for the uninformed to see a surfer doing his bit to clean the beach of plastic trash. You educate the uninformed by showing the value in action.

If we all cleaned the beach after using it, the ocean would be a better place not only for the marine creatures but also for the people too.

7. Protect Your Board with Hemp-based Surfboard Bag

As a surfer, we all know how important our surfboards are. That’s why we need to protect them by using a surfboard bag to lug them around.

And what better way to protect it than by using a bag made from sustainable raw materials. Hemp is actually an environment-friendly and sustainable plant-based material that can protect your surfboards more than polyester-based surfboard bags.

Here at Wave Tribe, it’s our best selling product because it’s durable and also stylish. When you’ve got a Wave Tribe surfboard bag for your boards, you’ll be assured that your boards are protected and safe.

Wave Tribe's Surfboard Travel Bags are made from hemp. They're not only durable, but stylish as well.

Surfing Green

That’s our mission here at Wave Tribe: we make eco-friendly and stylish surfing products. That’s because we want to lessen the toxic impact of surfing on the ocean.

The ocean is very important to all of us. That’s why we should do everything we can to protect and sustain it so that we can enjoy more clean and bigger waves for years to come.

To see more of our products, visit our site.



More Wave Tribe Eco Reads

Why Oceans are so Important - Everything You Need to Know
Ultimate Guide To The Top 10 Endangered Marine Creatures
The Ultimate Guide on How To Lower My Carbon Footprint - Surfer's Edition

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