Six Steps to Sustainable Surfing

Change the way you change

Surf change towel robes are doubling in popularity as more and more hardcore surfers realise that they’ve been doing it wrong: Using the hand towel in public carparks in high wind is high risk. Sure, in a robe you might look like a kook, but if that means being warm, cosy and putting on a suit without getting the pre surf shiver, sign me up. And now people are starting to make them from more sustainable materials. People are learning that synthetic fibres shed microplastics and are bad for our watercourses and the marine ecosystem. We make ours from a super thick terry loop towelling made form organic cotton. Natural materials are softer, kind to skin, super absorbent and don’t stink when you leave them in the boot for ages.
surf towel

Ask your shaper to use low impact materials

Boards are getting more sustainable, but what people might not realise is that traditional, local shapers now have access to this kind of tech right now. EPS / epoxy boards can be lighter and stronger than traditional PU, and the EPS route is where some fun sustainability stuff is happening.

EPS blanks are available made with recycled polystyrene, along with bio based supersap resin.

The outcome is a frighteningly lightweight and responsive board, made from lower impact materials, that you can get your local shaper to rip out in something totally custom. We’ve been collaborating with Luke Young on an Isle of Wight specific South Coast slop rocket board to keep the small/weak wave project alive in the UK. Check out the tug boat, and if you’re thinking of ordering a new stick, check up on the construction. A more sustainable surfboard might be a quick question away.
surfboard from bio resin and recycled core

Ask Kelly Slater for help

It makes sense on the topic of surfing to consult the gods, and Kelly Slater has a potential solution to the sticky-back plastic back foot dilemma in the form of a new type of deck grip construction from Slater designs.

It sounds bananas, but these deckgrips are made from Algae.

Needless to say, they work great – a product that looks, performs and lasts just as well as what people want, made with what we need in mind: Lower impact products. It’s all we ride now.
algae deck grip

Flannel Shirt

In the UK you’re likely to be spending more time checking spots than surfing them, so getting a solid beach side look is an essential part of the gameplan. When you do that, your priorities should be comfort, radness and in the 21st century there are more conscientious options available if you care about where stuff comes from and how it’s made. Some surf brands in the UK are leading the charge and Rapanui is no exception.

Our mediumweight flannel is made from 100% organic cotton and made in Portugal.

Portugal is where Supertubos is: And after learning that, our test pilot reported, after wearing one, he surfed better 80% of the time 20% of the time. Coincidence? Try one out and let us know.
organic cotton flannel shirt

Someone please do a recycled fin?

This one is a placeholder, because despite a day of googling, we couldn’t find a recycled plastic set of surfboard fins for futures fin boxes. There’s so much waste plastic in the oceans and companies are making products from innovative recycling techniques, including super fine synthetic textiles for clothing. It seems like an easy win that something like a surfboard fin, which is essentially some injection moulded piece of plastic, could be made using post-consumer recycled plastics. Imagine how radical the patterns could be if they left the plastic as it was found, random, multi coloured. Calling all surf entrepreneurs out there, here’s your niche! Or has someone done it? If so, please let us know – whole squad of surfers this end want to buy a set.

recycled surfboard fins

Take a little away

Barrels and barrels of rubbish. This photograph by Zak Noyle is iconic for all the wrong reasons. The photo shows Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya surfing a barrel thick with rubbish. Zak and Dede had been scouting surf spots in a remote cove on the Indonesian Island of Java.

“It was crazy. I kept seeing noodle packets floating next to me,” “It was very disgusting to be in there; I kept thinking I would see a dead body of some sort for sure.” sais lensman Zak.

Here’s a tube trashed by trash – like too many places all over our planet now, plastic free beaches are now just fading memories. So here’s an idea, when you next head out surfing pick up just piece of rubbish and take it with you, you’ll be doing something good for the planet.surfer in plastic waste zak noylePhoto: Zak Noyle

Spread the message

A report out by the Ellen MacArthur foundation found that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. A sad stat in a sea of sad stats about our oceans.Plastics like drinking straws and plastic bottles wear down into microplastics and bioaccumulate, affecting the entire ecosystem from plankton to fish to the top predators, like us. There are alternatives – like making stuff from natural materials like organic cotton. Check out our range of organic cotton t-shirts, spread the message and help stop ocean plastics.
save our seas

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