PLANNING to hang ten this summer? Keep in mind that surf equipment can carry a high cost not only for your wallet but also for the environment. Fortunately, there are several brands now focusing on boards and accessories made from eco-friendly materials.
Diving under the waves, then being carried by the current and feeling at one with nature: surfing is the classic summer sport. While dedicated surfers are often conscious of the importance of ocean conservation, surfing equipment itself has a significant impact on the environment. To begin with, surfboards are most often made of a polyurethane foam boardstock encased in resin, a material that is extremely polluting for the environment. On top of this, a majority of surfboards used worldwide are made far from their point of sale, generally in Asia, which means a sizeable carbon footprint: about 270 kg of CO2 for a 6-foot long surfboard weighing 2.5 kg.
The boards aren’t the only problem. Wetsuits, surf wax, fins, even the leash connecting the board to the surfer can be made of materials that are toxic for the environment. Wetsuit neoprene, for example, is derived from petroleum.
The surfing community is increasingly turning to brands which opt for local production and materials that are more ecologically responsible. For instance, boards can be produced locally from materials like cork, wood and plant residues. Some brands offer board wax made without paraffin or palm or soy oil.
Innovative companies offering these products are popping up in various countries. Spanish brand Two Thirds offers wetsuits made from recycled and organic materials. American brand Wave Tribe sells leashes made from recycled plastic bottles, while French eco-shop Akotzen sells surf gear and also offers eco-friendly surfboards on rent for beginners or occasional surfers. – AFP-Relaxnews