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by Derek Dodds September 23, 2018

Wave Tribe

It’s a punch to the gut, this news of the Great Barrier Reef dying or dead, depending on whose point of view.

Published by Wave Tribe

Either way, it’s not a piece of news that one should take lightly, particularly when so much depends on our reefs.

We’ve always tend to appreciate reefs more because of its biodiversity and beautiful shades of color. What isn’t emphasized though is that there are a variety of ecosystems which depend on the productivity of these reefs. With what is now happening to the Great Barrier, these ecosystems are threatening to collapse.

Worldwide Crisis

The total area of the world’s coral reefs only amounts to less than one quarter of 1% of the entire marine environment  and yet these reefs are home to about 25% of all marine life. That’s about 2 million diverse species which are all important, not only for a healthy environment, but also for the world population’s food security.

Here’s a list on all the notable reefs but it’s by no means complete. What is alarming is that this list might as well be an endangered list because all over the world, coral reefs are struggling to survive amid threats from overfishing, pollution and climate change.

Scientists and conservationists have, in fact, designated coral reefs as a priority species because of its ecological, economic and cultural importance. Our lives are so entwined with these reefs and yet most of us don’t realize it.

And this is why the news of the Great Barrier’s demise is devastating and should make us all very alarmed.

The Largest Living Thing on Earth

The Great Barrier Reef, which has been dubbed as one of the world’s seven natural wonders, is a 1,400-mile structure of 3,000 individual reefs and 1,000 coral islands on the continent of Australia. That’s larger than the land area of the United Kingdom. It also happens to contain more biodiversity that all of Europe combined.

Formed during the prehistoric Miocene Age by corals, the reef slowly built itself along the coastline of Australia to become what it is today: a widespread labyrinth of atolls and shallow-water reefs ending dramatically in an outer wall that plunges half a mile into the abyss, 140 miles of the coast.

In fact, it’s so large that it’s the only living thing that can be seen from outer space.

Critical Importance

It’s responsible for around 10 percent of the world’s total fish species, with more than 1,500 fish species living on the reef. The diversity alone is staggering considering that there is still much we do not know these organisms. In medicine, current cancer drug research is focusing on marine organisms and the possibility of losing any of these marine organisms which might have untold curative properties for cancer, HIV or cardiovascular is heartbreaking.

Coral reefs also generate an estimated $352,000/ha/yr based on the critical values and services that they provide. The Great Barrier Reef, for instance, generates more than 1.5 billion dollars every year for the Australian economy, from fishing and tourism.

The increasing acidification of the ocean has further worsened the Great Barrier Reef’s condition. The acid is slowly dissolving the living coral.

— Derek Dodds, Wave Tribe Founder

Death by Bleaching

And now it will be gone.

If you’ve read this obituary, you’ll know that the death of the Great Barrier Reef is another result of global warming and its negative effects on climate change.

As greenhouse gases continue to rise around the world, it traps the heat inside the earth’s atmosphere . The ocean absorbs most of this heat, leading to increased water temperatures.

Now, the corals are dependent on the symbiotic algae living on their surfaces. These algae provide them food and are the reason why corals have beautiful colors which attract fish to live among them. But when the ocean temperature increases, these algae produce more oxygen. Too much oxygen is toxic for corals and so they eject these algae in order to survive.

This is what causes the coral bleaching. Without the algae, corals turn white and become starved. If the water temperature remains hot, it won’t be able to recover its algae and the corals will die off in a few months.

As if it wasn’t enough, the increasing acidification of the ocean has further worsened the Great Barrier Reef’s condition. The acid is slowly dissolving the living coral. Too much carbon absorption has resulted in increased acidity of the marine ecosystem and the acid has begun to dissolve the living coral.

Living on Borrowed Time?

This double whammy of a disaster has already resulted in the death of half of the Great Barrier Reef. And the prognosis continues to be grim.

In 2016, the world passed the carbon threshold . At 400 parts per million, the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is already equivalent to the levels Earth had during its Stone Age period.

Scientists consider this as clear red line into the danger zone. And for Charlie Vernon, the chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science , a further increase into 450 ppm CO2 concentration will finally kill off the Great Barrier Reef.

What Can One Do?

Now more than ever, we need to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that we don’t go over the tipping point. The surfing industry has long been regarded as complicit in increasing carbon emissions. From our petroleum-based neoprene wetsuits to our paraffin waxes and most especially our polyurethane surfboards, we have far too large a carbon footprint.

And we so need to reduce that. Like, yesterday. That’s how urgent this has become in the light of what is happening to the Great Barrier Reef.

In fact, this is one of the reasons why we put up Wave Tribe so that we can help propel the movement to lessen our carbon footprint in the industries that we create. We are also working with other organizations to Heal the Oceans. We encourage our customers to do the same by volunteering or donating to these organizations because every little bit of effort helps.

The more of us work for a responsible surfing lifestyle, the more pressure we will be placing on the industry to create sustainable, eco-friendly gear and swim wear. For most of us, surfing is our life. But so is the ocean. Surfers need to work with designers to create new alternatives in order for us to reduce surfing’s carbon footprint.

Because if we don’t, it’s just not our surfing lifestyle that will be at stake. It will be our lives. Think about that.

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Derek Dodds
Derek Dodds

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Size Chart

Surfboard Leashes

You Break It We Replace It in First Year. 

Buy a leash closest to your board size—i.e. for 6'4 surfboard you need a 6' leash. 

All leashes are 7mm thick, competition leashes which are lighter/thinner 5.5 mm. 

Pioneer Day Boardbags - Fits One Surfboard

All boardbags have +2 inches. Thus a 6'6 board fit's perfectly in a 6'6 boardbag. All Pioneer bags have expandable fin gussets, so you can keep your fins on your board in the bag—or you can roll with glass-on fins.

Pioneer Sizes:

All bags have interior pockets (fins, leash and wax), bags fit industry standards. 

Our 8'6, 9'6 and 10' bags have fin slots and round noses. 

Pioneer bags also have an exterior pocket and zip all the way to the nose.

Travel Bags - Fits Two Surfboards

All Global boardbags have +2 inches, so if you buy a 6'2 boardbag, the real length is 6'4—thus you have a bit of room to play. 

Global Travel Bag Sizes:

Travel boardbags are 6'-8' inches deep to accommodate two boards—though you can travel with one in these bags without a problem—there are two interior pockets for leash, wax, and fins.

Surfboard Travel Bag Pockets Fin Wax Leash

Travel boardbags have two padded boards separators and two pockets for your gear. 

* Travel boardbags also have 13mm + 13mm of extra padding in the nose and tail.

Travel Bags with Wheels - Fits Two Surfboards

New in 2016 is the double travel bag with wheels. Sometimes you want a smaller bag with wheels, now you can have it. All Global boardbags have +2 inches, so if you buy a 6'2 boardbag, the real length is 6'4—thus you have a bit of room to play. 

Global Travel Bag Sizes:

Travel boardbags are 6'-8' inches deep to accommodate two boards—though you can travel with one in these bags without a problem—there are two interior pockets for leash, wax, and fins.

Wave Tribe Wheelie Surfboard Travel Bags

Travel boardbags have two padded boards separators and two pockets for your gear. 

* Travel boardbags also have 13mm + 13mm of extra padding in the nose and tail.

Boardbag Material & Hardware - All Bags

Side A of the bag is made from a strong density Rugged Eco Hemp exterior which is one tough fiber and naturally built to last with high impact padding protection with Rebound Foam Dynamics including open-to-nose technology.

Side B is the reflective (rental-car-roof-side) made from Reflective Energy Shield for "Cooler Surfboard Safeguard" protecting your surfboard from the sun's harmful rays made from an alloy-steel mesh weave.

All Sides are guarded by our Japanese Never-Rust-or-Break Nickel Platted Zippers streamline zipper trails and our trademarked Easy Flow Zip System.