As the sport of surfing grows, so does its environmental impact. Surfing equipment made of non-biodegradable materials such as synthetic resin surfboards, neoprene wetsuits and petroleum-based surf wax are just some of the products used by surfers that can have a negative ecological footprint.
Environmentally conscious surfing companies such as Envirosurfer are attempting to address some of the ecological issues with surfing products and offer green alternatives. For example, wooden or epoxy boards, as well as surfboards made with bamboo-based resin, last longer, are less wasteful and less toxic than typical polyurethane boards. Other tips include using thinner and more durable wetsuits, which create less waste than typical models. Wetsuits which do not contain PVC are also a less toxic option. And while surf wax may not seem like the biggest problem in the ocean, there are quality petroleum-free waxes available, which are made from natural ingredients, making them more environmentally friendly.
In the more general beach-going category – and by no means limited to surfers – is the subject of sunscreen. Most sunscreens contain toxic chemicals like oxybenzone and other poisonous ingredients that pose dangers to sea life and may have human health concerns. Fortunately, sunscreens free of these toxins are also widely available.
Other ways in which surfers are trying to ‘save the planet’ include projects like Bali’s own Eco Surf Rescue Uluwatu, which is fighting to keep Uluwatu beach – one of Bali’s finest surf spots – clean and safe for future generations.
Then there is Surf for Life:
The organization’s mission is to channel the interest and energy of individual surfers into teams that travel internationally to various project sites where they serve as hands-on volunteers. The idea for the nonprofit WAVES for Development came about as a result of a 2004 surf trip to northern Peru. WAVES’ coastal community education and surf voluntourism programs develop youth into healthy and empowered adults and transform travelers’ views of the world and themselves.
Read more about surfing and the environment on Care2.