In the late 2000’s there was an eco-friendly boom. It seemed that every company was jumping on the train. Clorox was making bleach alternatives from orange zest and lime, Skateboard companies experimented with bamboo and recycled maple, and even Fast food chains replaced their styrofoam cups with a more eco-friendly paper version that was recyclable.
Yes things were looking up. The Green fad was the newest, coolest thing to be a part of. But for surfers, this fad wasn’t new or incredibly groundbreaking as most in the media made it out to be.
For decades, surfing culture has gone hand in hand with being eco-friendly. Surfers have a unique relationship with Mother Nature- one that takes years of sitting in the swell to develop.
Surfers understand that Earth is valuable, precious even, and that it’s up to them to take care of it.
The most heartbreaking thing you can experience during a morning set is paddling out, finding that perfect wave, standing up, and then noticing floating debris all around you. After pulling out of the break early, you pick up one of the items that got in your way and discover it’s a plastic bottle. Upon further inspection, you realize that you’re surrounded by trash that was brought in overnight by the tide. This is a very real occurrence and happens more than non-surfers like to think.
Because of our intimate relationship with nature, surfers have been eco-conscious for years. Understanding that trash doesn’t just “go away”, rather, that it has to go somewhere else, is the biggest misconception that most in society just don’t seem to understand.
“I don’t have time to recycle” is a common excuse. Well, you’re not going to have any time at all if you keep treating the planet like your personal trashcan.
Further, several surfer-owned companies have gone above and beyond when looking for materials to produce their goods with. Right here on Rack Your Board, we carry Surfboard racks for home made out of bamboo by a company called Grassracks.
Other companies such as Sustainable Surf take it upon themselves to educate the surf community about sustainability and recycling at major surf events. They also engage in projects that produce green products such as the ECOBOARD project which has gained support by organizations such as SIMA (Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association).
Today, you can find almost any alternative to a traditional surf good made from sustainable materials. A great example of this can be seen in the company Wave Tribe. Wave Tribe makes surfboard and SUP racks for cars out of hemp as well as deck pads from cork, leashes out of recycled plastic, and Board bags from hemp.
As the green bubble bursts over traditional “trendy” society, it’s up to surfers and others around this community to pick up the pieces. We as surfers understand that protecting the environment not only enables us to have better sessions, but to protect our families, our communities, and our first true love: surfing.