Surfers are all about the ocean, and why shouldn’t they be? When you surf you connect to the surroundings, fully immersing yourself in nature and riding the waves. But while surfers may be environmentally conscious, the equipment they use out in the water usually isn’t the most eco-friendly. Below we’ll explain why surfing may sometimes be bad for the environment, and what you can do to minimise its negative impact.
To start with, surfboards that are fibreglass laminated can sometimes be made using harmful chemicals. These include styrene, isocyanates and volatile organic compounds (VOC), plus at the end of your surfboard’s lifecycle it can’t be recycled. This means your board ends up decomposing in a pile of rubbish somewhere, leaving a carbon footprint due to the fact it was probably made using petroleum products. This goes on to affect the most important thing for surfers: the ocean.
It’s thanks to increasing carbon dioxide levels that sea levels are increasing. This goes on to influence the surf, with some scientists even claiming that famous breaks could be ruined if they are altered by higher tides. Carbon dioxide can also be absorbed through the sea, and this is extremely bad for marine life. Corals could be a thing of the past unless a big change is made to the production of excess carbon dioxide.
But what can you do to help? The next time you’re browsing for a surfboard you can try to choose one that is made with EPS (expanded polystyrene). These are less toxic and won’t harm the environment as much as regular surfboards. You can also choose a type of board that is certified by the ECOBOARD project, like Firewire. Boards like this include features such as a primarily sustainable structure, 40% per cent recycled material or low VOC content.
When you head to the beach you can also pack your board in an eco-friendly bag, and be careful to clean up after yourself when it’s time to leave. There are also a number of different groups you can join which are dedicated to protecting the oceans and the beaches. It may not seem like it, but surfing can be very bad for the environment if you’re not careful. This is why it’s best to be as eco-friendly as possible, so we can continue to enjoy the surfing in the ocean for years to come.