sunscreen

Did You Know That Surfing Is Toxic To Our Oceans?

Image By Sheridan Dixon

Image By Sheridan Dixon

The environmental cost of Surfing and how to reduce your impact on our beautiful oceans?

Surf culture has long inspired an appreciation for the sea and our natural world. Surfers are known to be some of the greatest ocean advocates, but what if this very industry was contributing to our ocean’s decline?  

What can we do about it?

We can all make a positive impact on mother nature by mindfully selecting products and making careful decisions about how the products we use everyday could be contributing to our planet’s pollution. Every little bit helps and being aware of alternatives is a good place to start. Here you will find some amazing brands making significant changes to our favourite ocean past-time.

Image by Sheridan Dixon

Image by Sheridan Dixon

What surfboard do you use?

Surfers have been riding the same types of surfboard for years. While the design has evolved and changed for continued performance, the average surfboard contains toxic polyurethane, fiberglass and is coated with toxic resins. These products impact on our oceans, and are unhealthy for surfers and shapers as these products have known carcinogens. The entire surf board is non-recyclable and there are apparently 63 million surfboards globally. What happens when they are no longer needed or we decide to upgrade?

They end up in landfill and will never breakdown.

Ocean pollution and plastic waste is only increasing; the best thing we can do is look for healthier and more sustainable alternatives.

If you choose one from the Sustainable Surf’s ECOBOARD Project, you know you will be making an ethical choice. Check Notox Surfboards , Spooked Kooks and also Firewire who are working to improve the sustainability of their boards.

Image By Good Surfwax

Image By Good Surfwax

What About Surfboard Wax?

Surfboard wax can contain ocean-harming and health-harming synthetic ingredients such as petroleum-based waxes and synthetic fragrances.

Many popular waxes contain paraffin, which pollutes the ocean. A massive proportion of surf waxes contain ingredients that harm our seas, affecting the delicate ecosystems and reefs. Paraffin wax is obtained from crude oil and we all know how harmful that is to our oceans. There are a few alternatives such as Good Surf Wax Australia, and Sticky Bumps.

What About Wetsuits?

Wetsuits tend to use neoprene which is synthetic rubber. Unfortunately, it is not ideal for your skin or marine life in the ocean. A good dose of petroleum is used for its construction. There are brand alternatives you can consider instead like PatagoniaFinisterre, Vissla and some of the big surf brands like are Roxy are bringing out better options.

Image by Winki Suits

Image by Winki Suits

How about Our Swimwear?

Swimwear is often made from synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, spandex and polyester. While these have been used for decades, they are a poor choice for our environment as these fabrics are not biodegradable. There are so many brands now creating recycled, ethical and sustainable swimwear made from materials such as Econyl - a fabric made from recycled nylon and plastic - that there is no reason not to buy swimwear that won’t harm the ocean.

Such brands include Salt GypsyWinki SuitsNine Foot StudioAbysse, Riz Boardshorts and The Bondi Alchemist.

What About Surf Fins And Leashes? 

A few brands are doing some fantastic things for the environment by recycling plastic waste and making it into something useful, including Five Oceans make who make surf fins from recycled plastic waste found on beaches in Bali, Revolwe, and Wavetribe who have created surf leashes from recycled plastic.

Image by Sunbums

Image by Sunbums

Finally, Our Sunscreen?

Sunscreen contains harmful chemicals that can damage our coral reefs and harm our skin. Some of these chemicals found in regular sunscreen decreases a corals’ defence against bleaching. Every year tonnes of sunscreen enters our oceans. This is one of the greatest things we can change to improve the health of our oceans and coral reefs.

Some recommended brands include Winki ZincSurfyogis, Sunbum.

There are so many things we can do in order to make positive changes for the environment. Our consumerism is destroying the planet for future generations. Selecting sustainable and ethical products is just one step to changing what we buy and how our purchases can impact our world.

Do you have any further product recommendations, leave me a comment below?