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How to be a Greener Surfer: Tips for more eco-friendly surf trips

As surfers, it is pretty safe to assume that we all love the beach, the sea, the sun and maybe even the cold! All in all, we love the water and we love nature. But how many of us fit the ‘Green Surfer’ profile? Nowadays most people are pretty environmentally conscious and aware that we shouldn’t do certain things. However there are a number of things that many people can modify to ensure that they are practicing a greener lifestyle and in turn protecting the environment and the overall surfing industry. Every one of us can start by making a small act daily, and start being a part of the change. Fortunately there are now many eco-friendly brands that are becoming more available and more campaigns that are raising awareness. We can all benefit from making sure that we keep a green environment. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Environmentally friendly travel

If you can’t get to your favourite spot in a green way (foot, bicycle, skateboard etc..) consider sharing a ride with friends or fellow surfers. Not only is this a cheaper and more fun alternative but you are also reducing your carbon footprint. If you are flying to your surf destination, aim to choose greener destinations such as Costa Rica, and look for eco-friendly accommodation.

Extend the life of all of your gear

This is incredibly important for all surfers! Rinse your wetsuit after each session, use a board bag to protect your surfboard, and take care of any dings in your surfboard immediately. Taking care of your equipment means that you have to replace it less often. It will also ensure that your gear lasts longer so you are not only saving yourself money but also reducing your waste production. Once your board does reach a point where it needs to be replaced, think twice before throwing it away! Some companies are collecting used wetsuits and surfboards to give to those who are less fortunate. Alternatively you can give your board a new lease in life by turning it into something else. Perhaps hang it as art?

Use bio suntan lotion

As surfers we need to be particularly aware of the risks of sun exposure. The chemicals found in many suntan lotions can be a real danger for marine life. We don’t want to put the ocean at risk! Happily many companies are now producing bio suntan lotions, made with only natural materials and without harmful substances.

Buy biodegradable surf wax

Much like sunscreens, the surf wax that we use can dissolve into the water and endanger wildlife. Fortunately there are now countless brands that are producing eco-friendly wax made with natural substances that is biodegradable.

Encourage the local economy

Buy from your local surf shops, shapers and surf gear brands. This will not only reduce the transportation footprint, but also empower your local surf economy. It is also important to eat local and seasonal food! Also don’t forget the local surf spots!

Clean your beach

Cleaning up the beach is a great and an easy way to be a greener surfer every time you surf! You can also join some movements, like the #2minutebeachclean, or non-profit organizations like Surfrider Foundation Europe which organizes various events every year to raise awareness on the issue of  marine litter.

Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures and memories.

Surfing does not have to have a negative effect on the environment. We can all make small changes every day that will lead to bigger changes over time. Be sure to talk to others about this, share what you are doing and encourage more people to get involved. The environment has been kind enough to give us the ultimate gift that is the world’s oceans. The least we can do is to give back by protecting what we love.

 

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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