How to be a green(er) surfer

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

For us surfers having a environmental friendly attitude toward life is not only a good habit or a new trend to follow, but also a real need. Every inland garbage, every chemical, every trash we see on the streets will inevitably end up in the ocean, polluting the water and becoming dangerous to our health.

Bacteria can turn into infections, sickness and other unpleasant diseases and the idea of getting my health at risk while doing what I love the most is not appealing. But no-one is saying we should give up and find something else to do. Everyone of us can make even the smallest act everyday and be the change, not only for our planet (let's think big!) and for our health, but also for our overall surf experience.

Here are some tips to become a green(er) surfer. The change doesn't need to be radical - little by little we can learn how to reduce our ecological footprint, preserve the ocean and protect the surf spots as long as possible.

Why not start the new year the best way?

Share a ride to the spot
If we can't reach our favorite spot in a green way (by bike, foot, skate, etc..), we can think about sharing a ride with our fellow surfers friends. The positive aspects are multiples: it is financially cheaper because we can share the expenses, it is environmentally friendlier because we reduce our CO2 emissions and it is way more fun because we share the experience with other surf-passionate people!

Use bio sunscreen
Nowadays the risks of sun exposure are well-known. Most of all, as surfers we all know we need to protect ourselves from UVA and UVB rays to prevent skin problems and cancer. The chemicals in many common sunscreens though can be a real danger for the marine life. We don't want to put the ocean at risk! Luckily many brands are producing more and more bio sunscreens, with only natural materials and without harmful substances. This way we can protect ourselves and what we love the most! You can read more about it here.

Take good care of your gear
Taking care of our gear is a good practice every surfer should put in place day by day. Rinsing our wetsuit after each session or use a board bag to protect our surfboard from damages are good examples. When we take care of our gear it means we don't need to throw it away and replace it so often. Our gear will last longer and we will be saving money and reducing our waste production at the same time!

Recycle your gear
When we want to replace our gear for some reason, we should think twice before throwing it away! Fixing it is a good way to avoid the trash bin, but when it is not possible we can imagine alternative ways. Some associations are collecting worn out wetsuits and second-hands surfboards to bring to the less fortunates who would love to feel the stoke of surfing. Another creative way is to give our old wetsuit a second life with a simple DIY project (learn how to turn an old wetsuit into a tablet cover here). Also, we can buy second-hand gear from our fellow surfers who want to get rid of theirs even if it is still in good conditions. This way we can save money and give a perfect useful gear a second life.

Use biodegradable surf wax
Yes, like sunscreens, the surf wax we use can dissolve into the ocean and put the marine life in danger. Luckily there are many brands on the market that are producing ecological wax with natural substances that won't harm our beloved ocean. I'm normally using Greenfix, but you can ask your local surfshop and I'm sure they will be happy to show you the perfect biodegradable wax for every water temperature.

Buy local
Buying from our local surfshops, shapers and surf gear brands not only will reduce the transportation footprint, but it will empower our local surf economy as well. Here we can also ensure that everybody's work is fairly paid and that the conditions of work are good. Everybody wins.

Eat local
Like for our surfgear, it is important to eat local and seasonal food. In addition to the reduction of the transportation footprint, we will give the chance to local businesses to develop within our community. Also we can more easily make sure they didn't use chemicals and pesticides in your food. We are what we eat! And if we need a lot of energies for surfing, we better eat well and local!

Clean your beach
Cleaning our beach is a good way to be a greener surfer everyday. Every time we go surfing, let's try to pick up some trash on our way back. This little act can exponentially improve our lives by the ocean and can make other people start doing the same. We can also join some movements, like the #2minutebeachclean, or non-profit organizations like Surfrider Foundation Europe which organizes every year the Ocean Initiatives to rise awareness on the marine litter issue.

Talk to people
Yes, even if it can feel weird at the beginning, the most effective way to make people realize we should change our lifestyle is talking to them about the problem! The environmental issue is a sensitive matter for many and sometimes the subject can be difficult to approach. At the same time, nowadays it is luckily well-know as a global problem and being honest to others and becoming a role model for them can be a good start. Try not to be judgmental, but whenever someone is acting in a non eco-friendly way, don't be afraid to share your point of view and explain why, in your opinion, this is something wrong. Some of them will laugh at you, but many others will join our movement and grow our community! Just remember that together we are the change.
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