Day 4 / 365
While we’re on the subject of water, I figure the habit of riding it should come into the conversation.
When my husfriend and I travelled to Fuerteventura, Spain last month I was amazed at how eco friendly the surf community there was. They even had shops set up selling items upcycled from ocean pollution and eco surf items to help support their Clean Ocean Project (which I wrote a post about yesterday) and educate the public on the harms of our habits.
The sea is a magical place, whether you’re swimming, surfing or sunning yourself, I doubt there's a person on Earth whose spirit isn’t moved by the rise and fall of the sun over luscious lapping waters.
We'd gone to Fuerteventura for a short camping/surf trip which we'd intended to do on bicycles but due to a random turn of events, we ended up in a Fiat 500 (which are apparently the "most eco friendly" car, competing with hybrid cars, but I'm not sure I trust my source), accompanied by a tent which had no poles (which we did sleep in for one night - despite its lack of structure).
My partner and I had so many magical moments during the trip, but there was one evening that topped them all. As we set out to surf, the sky and sea were seamless, drenched in a cotton candy coloured sunset so magical it felt as if we were in a dream. I lay on my surfboard paddling towards the rolling waves with salt licked blissed out tears of joy rolling down my face. All the tension in my body melted away, my mind was quiet, and my heart full. The beauty that surrounded me took hold of me and cathartically massaged my every emotion. It was the most beautiful sight I have seen in my whole life.
As the light dimmed to darkness I paddled into the shore, joy still tickling my senses. But that joy suddenly shifted to something unsettling when a portion of plastic popped out from the water in front of me. My heart sank and reality set in.
We are the suckiest species.
Enjoying the ocean on or in objects that will one day pollute it is like doing yoga in human harming gear. You’re not honouring the very thing that supports your spiritual nor personal enjoyment. It’s ass backwards and hypocritical, and I'm as guilty as the next for my blissful ignorance in both realms.
I’m not saying one should run out and replace these objects toute de suite, quite the contrary. I have products from evil enterprises that I bought years ago, love, and hope will last forever. I truly believe that it is our responsibility to make what we have last as long as it can, and it is our job as individuals to find a responsible way of donating, recycling, upcycling, or disposing of each object when it dies/is un-reparable, or no longer of use to you. And when/if said object needs replacing, that is the time to search for an eco + ethical option.
When it comes to surf stuff, there used to be hardly an option to be had, but today, it’s full of inspiring ideas and promising products to choose from.
- Surf Boards -
The first surf boards were made out of wood by Polynesians (who invented the sport) and could be returned to the earth when they no longer served their purpose and biodegrading seamlessly. Today’s plastic surfboards or fibreglass surfboards, which are laminated with polyester resin over polyurethane foam are full of hazardous chemicals, which are harmful to shapers and glassers as well as the earth (as they can’t decompose). Plus due to the petroleum products in its make up it leaves a big ole carbon footprint. Luckily some good men (and women) of the sea have come up with a solution, all you gotta do is ensure your board is a certified EcoBoard.
There are quite a few big brands with an ecoboard option, but I’d rather hero the smaller brands, as they're the ones truly committing to our future (and less likely to be greenwashing):
ONE. Notox (France / UK)
THREE. Fire Wire (USA / Australia)
FOUR. Buy Second Hand (make the non-eco ones already made, last longer)
FIVE. Rent A Board (the more use it gets, the more worthwhile it is it exists)
- Wetsuits -
[The Problem] Wetsuits are traditionally made with petroleum-based ingredients, which are harmful to the environment. There has been talk about limestone neoprene, but it is not really more eco-friendly than oil-based neoprene. The thing that makes limestone neoprene 'greener' is that the production can be more sustainable and less toxic during production. It also has a longer lifespan (ie//stay out of the landfill for longer). So Limestone neoprene is better, but not best.
[The Solution] There has yet to be a completely eco-friendly wetsuit produced. But there is one brand who has been dipping dollars into research to find a more eco way of creating, and that’s Patagonia. They recently paired with Yulex, an eco-friendly biomaterial firm, and spent four years researching to create the first ever plant-based wetsuit material (the final product came out last month). The natural rubber comes from organic matter derived from an inedible plant called Guayule (renewable, non-edible crop, whose growth does not adversely impact food equality as some biofuels do). The manufacturing process is almost entirely green, making Patagonia's Yulex suits - currently made with 60% plant based rubber - the greenest wetsuit product to be produced thus far. If I find more brands, I will update this post and the corresponding Pinterest page. (If you find/know of some good ones please comment below!)
TWO. Buy Second Hand (make the non-eco ones already made, last longer)
THREE. Rent (the more use it gets, the more worthwhile it is to exist)
- Surf Wax -
Most surf wax’s are made with petrochemicals or paraffin. Which is toxic and doesn’t biodegrade.
I’m only going to recommend one wax, because I’ve used it, and I believe in their product: Matunas, is an organic surf wax made in California. Their ingredients are grown on their 25 acre farm in Santa Cruz. The product is made from 100% natural ingredients with fragrances from real strawberries, raspberries ect… to top off their loveliness, their wax is wrapped in 100% recycled paper. And it works as any non-eco wax does, but with more charm. (if you've tried another eco-surf wax brand, which you recommend, please comment below and I'll add them on to this post and the corresponding Pinterest page.
(*they sell around the world, so just type “matunas eco-surf wax” into your browser and a local dealer will pop up)
- Eco Surfboard Leash -
Every single thing we produce as humans is more than likely made in an earth harming way. One of the many eco questionable items that never crossed my mind, was if my leash was bad for the planet or not. As it turns out, today's surf leashes are made from a length of urethane cord, which does not biodegrade.
Wave Tribe makes eco-friendly leashes (and other eco surf accessories) out of recycled plastic, and they’ve done it so well they were awarded the Product Of The Year by Outdoor Magazine, as they're some of the toughest in both eco and non eco markets. Though I'm not a massive fan of plastic, if one can create an item both long lasting and trash reducing, than it's better than newly produced urethane items ten fold. We have enough plastic already, lets recycle it if we can!
ONE. Wave Tribe (they sell around the world, so just type “wave tribe eco surfboard leash” into your browser and a local dealer will pop up)
- OTHER IDEAS -
To follow up with yesterdays post, just doing your part in cleaning up any garbage or harmful items you find when you leave the beach, or on the streets, is enough to give back to the large portion of our planet that brings us such serenity.
Not For Profit: www.sustainablesurf.org