SUSTAINABLE SURF PROJECTS: creating a sustainable future
by Jamieson Wilson·
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is a hot word these days, it’s thrown around everywhere, all over the media, and goes hand in hand when referencing the environment. But what really does it mean, and why is it important?
Sustainability is the ability to maintain something at an ongoing, stable rate. This is important because to be able to sustain something, like the health of our surrounding oceans and natural environment, will benefit not just the anthropocene, but our natural world.
Why is Sustainability important?
Now why is sustainability being mentioned in a surf blog..? Well, hold onto your rails cause we are about to duck dive into a heavy swell of knowledge.
Sustainability is extremely important in the surf community because what is one thing every surfer cares about? The ocean! Without the ocean none of us would be surfers, and quite frankly, it’s cool to care about your environment and be sustainable! Recently many surf brands like Patagonia, and Vissla have switched over to more sustainable alternatives and materials like Ninefoot Studio [has been for over the past five years since we launched] and our sustainable swimwear for instance!
Sustainability is the Solution:
Sustainability is really important because it is one of the most important solutions to help reduce carbon emissions, which is the leading cause of global warming. Climate change or global warming is also a gnarly issue when it comes to the health of the oceans.
The ocean is the biggest sink for carbon dioxide, and the more we produce, the more the ocean takes in. This is not good because when more carbon dioxide is absorbed into the ocean, the oceans temperature increases, resulting in ocean warming, ocean acidification, and a few other catastrophic events.
Why We Need it:
Into further depth, ocean warming is bad because coral reefs bleach out and die when the ocean water warms, and becomes acidic. As the ocean takes in more carbon dioxide, this lowers the pH of the ocean making the water more acidic. This stresses, weakens, bleaches, and kills the coral. As surfers, reefs create some of the most iconic barrels like Pipeline, Hawaii, Teahupoʻo, Tahiti, etc, so we should take care of them.
1. Fishing Nets | Source: Sustainable Development
Why is it important to create sustainable and eco-friendly products?
Creating sustainable and eco-friendly products is important for several reasons:
- Environmental Protection: Sustainable and eco-friendly products help reduce the negative impact on the environment. They minimize waste, pollution, and energy consumption, and promote the efficient use of natural resources.
- Healthier living: Many eco-friendly products are made from natural materials and free from toxic chemicals, making them safer and healthier for consumers to use.
- Resource Conservation: Sustainable products aim to maximize the use of natural resources, reduce waste and minimize the environmental impact of production.
- Social Responsibility: Companies that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness in their products and practices show their commitment to social responsibility, contributing to a better quality of life for everyone.
- Competitive Advantage: Sustainable products can also provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace, as consumers increasingly prioritize environmentally-friendly products.
Overall, creating sustainable and eco-friendly products is crucial for protecting the environment, promoting healthier living, conserving natural resources, demonstrating social responsibility, and staying competitive in the marketplace.
Introducing the solution:
The ECOBOARD Project by Sustainable Surf builds sustainable surfboards. Shapers can get ECOBOARD certified and put the label on their boards. The two labels are either
- Plant-Based, Low To Zero VOC Resin With At Least 19% Bio-Carbon Content In The Fully Cured Resin
- Core With At Least 25% Recycled Or Plant-Based Content, Or Wood Constituting At Least 50% Of The Core By Weight
Brands that are Level One certified:
-Firewire: Mostly owned by Kelly Slater, designed for high performance and sustainability
2. Firewire Surfboard | Source: Eco Warrior Princess
3. Level One ECOBOARD label | Source: Sustainable Surf: ECOBOARD
Or Gold Level:
- Subject Of A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Focus Areas – Carbon Footprint, Renewable/Recycled/Up-Cycled Inputs And Reduced Toxicity
- Plant-Based, Low To Zero VOC Resin With At Least 25% Bio-Carbon Content And Has Received USDA Biopreferred Certification For The Fully Cured Resin
- Core With At Least 25% Recycled Or Plant-Based Content, Or Wood Constituting At Least 50% Of The Core By Weight
- Demonstrate Material Inputs Are Sourced From A Sustainably Managed Supply Chain
Brands that are Gold level certified:
NOTOX: eco surfboards with very minimal carbon footprint. Made of organic natural or recycled materials with no toxins
4. NOTOX eco board | Source: Eco Warrior Princess
WYVE: the 3D printed honeycomb core structure of a HEXA Surfboard is made out of bio-based plastic, known as PLA, that comes from fermented corn starch. For glassing, WYVE use’s a France Made bio-epoxy certified with the ECOBOARD Project.
5. WYVE surfboard | Source: WYVE
6. Gold Level ECOBOARD label | Source: Sustainable Surf: ECOBOARD
7. The Eco Board Project | Source: Sustainable Surf: ECOBOARD
When you see a ECOBOARD badge on a board, Level One or Gold Level, it means that the board consists of one or more of the following:
- A measurably reduced carbon footprint
- Renewable, recycled and/or up-cycled material inputs
- Uses materials and processes that reduce toxicity during manufacturing
- Reduces waste during manufacturing
-Uses the invasive balsa wood in indonesia to craft surfboards
- balsa is what the ancient hawaiians first made their surfboards out of
8. Varuna Surfboards | Source: Varuna
-Made entirely out of 100% recycled plastics (ECO SLICK), along with the: leash plug, fin key, and fins
-each board made, a mangrove tree is planted
9. Spooked Kooks | Source: Facebook @Spooked Kooks
Patagonia is known as THE sustainable brand. Patagonia uses Yulex (a plant based neoprene alternative) and has been since 2016. Patagonia also has a Worn Wear option where you can buy used Patagoinia. Patagonia also offers a lifetime warranty where you can get your clothing from there repaired when shipped into them at little to no cost.
10. Patagonia Rubber trees to make Yulex | Source: Boardsport Source
Ninefoot Studio is not only a super cool womens surf wear brand, but it also is sustainable. Ninefoot delivers recycled and eco-friendly garments to help the environment in every aspect to provide the best functional activewear for all women. There is no plastic created for the Ninefoot Studio company. Ninefoot uses recycled ocean plastic that is then created into ECONYL yarn as the main material in producing surf wear. Not to mention, ECONYL provides UV 50+ protection from the sun. Ninefoot also takes into consideration that small batch production results in a small carbon footprint. For shipping, Ninefoot also uses biodegradable packaging, along with a linen tote to reuse forever.
11. Ninefoot Studio’s Lakey top and Nyang bottom in yellow | Source: Ninefoot Studio
12. Ninefoot Studio’s Soka towel short and bonian towel crop top in the color fish | Source: Ninefoot Studio
Outerknown is a California based, very sustainable surf apparel brand created by 11 time WSL champion Kelly Slater. Outerknown’s clothing is made from Second Spin yarn which is recycled from old clothes and factory scraps, and is sourced from a LEED certified building. This fabric GOTS certified and known as REFIBRA lyocell. Also, Outerknown uses ECONYL, a sustainable regenerated nylon. Not stopping there, their hat brims are also made from recycled fishing nets. Outerknown also offers their clients to be able to sell their worn Outerknown clothing known as Outerworn to keep the cycle going and reduce their clothing in the landfill.
13. Kelly Slater’s brand Outerknown | Source: Outerknown
Vissla is also another sustainable surf apparel company who uses this unique fiber made out of recycled coconut husks called COCOTEX. Vissla also utilizes eco-lastics, eco-wovens, eco-knits, recycled tees, eco-hats, eco-zy flannels and eco- fleece all made from recycled plastic, hemp and recycled cotton.
14. Vissla Sustainability | Source: SGB Media
15. Vissla Cocotex | Source: Hawaiian South Shore
Eco Friendly Surf Wax-
Wave Maiden Organic Eco Surf Wax: all Organic, All Natural, High Performance wax.
Crafted with clean ingredients safe for the ocean.
- Small batch, Hand poured
- Made in USA
- Non-Toxic + Biodegradable
- Contains No Petrochemicals
16. Wave Maiden Surf Wax | Source: Salt + Snow
Matunas Surf Wax from Santa Cruz, California is 100% natural, non-toxic, biodegradable, and the wrappers are made out of recycled paper and soy ink.
17. Matunas Surf Wax | Source: Amazon
Maria’s Surf Wax is straight from California 100% natural, non-toxic, biodegradable, eco-friendly vegan surf wax wrapped in 100% recycled paper using all natural dyes.
18. Maria’s eco-surf wax | Source: Maria’s Surf Wax
Rob Machado Organic Blend Surf Wax is created with Bubble Gum Surf Wax made from a natural vegetable base wrapped in recycled box packaging. .
Travel Surfboard Bags-
Into Blue And Green
-Surfboard bags that are created from recycled sailboat sails
- Based out of Santa Barbara, California
19. Sails into board bags | Source: Into Blue and Green
Wave Tribes Hemp Pioneer Surfboard Bag
Order two inches up for an easier fit
20. Wave Tribe’s Hemp Board bag | Source: Wave Tribe
21. Hemp Boardbag | Source: Lush Palm
Eco Fins-REBEL FINS
These fins are all made out of some sort of recycled material, whether being fishing nets, carbon, fiberglass, etc.
22. REBEL Eco Fins | Source: Surfpreneurs
- Also makes sustainable surfboards
-has a collaboration with Rebel Fin Co.
-made with carbon fiber from car parts
23. KANOA sustainable fins and board | Source: Kanoa Surfboards
Grass Racks: surfboard wall racks made of 100% bamboo to support your quiver
24. Grass Racks 4 board bamboo shelf | Source: Grass Racks
Zero Waste Sunscreens-
- I use this
-produced in the U.S. by 100% solar powered energy
-gives back to a non profit to coral restoration to surf therapy for underserved children of color
-made with surfers in mind
-palm oil free
25. Surf Dirt | Source: Surf Dirt
This brand is:
- non- toxic
- palm oil free
- filled with antioxidants
26. Raw Elements Sunscreen | Source: Raw Elements
Eco Surfboard Leash
-new product of the year from Outdoor Magazine
-you break it, we replace it guarantee
-made with recycled plastic pellets
27. Wave Tribe eco leash | Source: Wave Tribe
-made with the Surfrider Foundation
-made with recycled nylon and neoprene
28. Kun_Tiqi eco-leash | Source: Kun_Tiqi
Kaiola Surf Hat
-duck dive and wipeout proof
-made from recycled nylon
29. Kaiola surf hats | Source: Kaiola
Surf wax comb-
Ninefoot Studio: Made in small batch locally, 100% bamboo
30. Ninefoot Wooden Wax Comb | Source: Ninefoot Studio
Wave Maiden: Recycled bio epoxy from SoCal custom eco board shop
31. Wave Maiden recycled bio epoxy wax comb | Source: Wave Maiden
Ethan Estess- Santa Cruz, California native, takes washed beach trash, ocean plastic and discarded fishing gear, and makes it into art. He does this to spread knowledge on marine conservation.
32. Jack Johnson enjoying Ethan Estess’ art | Source: Jack Johnson Music
All of the following sunglass brands utilize recycled marine plastics to construct their glasses.
33. Sea2See Glasses | Source: Sea2See
34. Waterhaul Sunnies | Source: Instagram @waterhaul_co
Costa X Bureo
35. Costa X Bureo The Untangled Collection | Source: Bureo
Bigger projects buzz worthy to mention:
Works with the ocean to combat climate change through reducing our carbon footprint using these three programs:
ECOBOARD Project , SeaTrees, Ocean Positive- Verified Climate Neutral
36. Sustainable Surf logo | Source: Sustainable Surf
Dedicated to protecting the world's beaches, oceans and waves through a powerful activist network, for all people.
37. Surfrider Foundation | Source: Surfrider Foundation
Surfers for Climate
Wants to empower surfers to care about the climate and take action implementing climate solutions. Also, help the surf community play a powerful role in coastal and offshore fossil fuel development when influencing politicians on climate action.
-partners with Sustainable Surf and Surfrider Foundation
38. Surfers for Climate | Source: Surfers for Climate
Take 3 pieces of trash when you leave the beach, waterway, or anywhere for that matter to make a difference in plastic pollution.
39. Take 3 for the Sea | Source: The Green Hub
-switching over to wetsuits made of Yulex
- buying boards that are from shapers who are ECOBOARD certified
- support sustainable brands that utilize recycled materials
The future is Sustainability
What I see in the future is sustainability. I strongly believe that all wetsuits will be made of Yulex like Patagonia, and boardshorts of Cocotex like Vissla or recyclable materials. I think that all fabrics will switch over to second spin yarn and econyl and follow after Outerknown’s sustainable practices. I hope that consumers will do research and become more conscious when it comes to what they buy and support sustainable brands.
40. Fishing nets | Source: Business Wire
As surfers and consumers, sustainability should be at the forefront of our minds.
In California specifically sustainability is very prominent, I see it all over the media and farmers markets for instance. Sustainability is just an adaptation of your lifestyle, it is just taking the extra time to do some research on what you are consuming.
When it comes to fast fashion, stay away. Buy clothing that will last, and from ethical and sustainable businesses who make the effort to take care of our planet. We only have one. Take care of it and it will take care of you.
41. Ocean Beach Farmers Market | Source: Half Moon Inn
42. Ocean and the world | Source: Eagle