Surfing continues to lead charge in environmental consciousness and action
As we hurtle toward Earth Day on April 22, we surfers have a lot to be proud of—and a lot of work to do.
An environmentally conscious group, largely out of sheer necessity, surfers are on the front lines of some of today’s most serious ecological dilemmas, and they’re not just standing idly by. Heck, Trestles would have a toll road running through it if we didn’t occasionally rise up and make some noise.
In a world that seems to constantly bombard us with end-of-day bad news, this week we’re taking a hot minute to celebrate the progress we’ve made and the important wins we’ve put on the board when it comes to surfing and the environment.
It was just a couple weeks ago that we reported on the Surfrider Foundation’s successful trip to Washington, D.C., where they met with lawmakers to discuss everything from clean beaches to climate change. With more than 100 Surfrider representatives from around the country in attendance, their collective voice comes through large and powerful.
Along with Surfrider, organizations such as Save Our Waves, Parley, Wildcoast and Sea Trees are also fighting the good fight. As we speak, Save Our Waves is looking to select the next World Surfing Reserve.
Why couldn’t the Trestles and San Onofre area qualify? After all, the San Mateo Creek remains a vital natural watershed, while the myriad of surf breaks in the area are enjoyed by thousands of surfers from around the world every year.
Meanwhile, Parley is taking on plastic pollution and Wildcoast continues to harness the power of community to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife, most notably in Baja California.
Then there’s Sea Tree, which is combating climate change and coastal erosion by planting mangrove trees, kelp, coral and more. There are too many other effective surf-inspired environmental groups to keep listing here, but if you’re looking to get involved, there’s no shortage of good people doing good things out there.
It’s not just the NGOs that are initiating change; the surf industry has embraced the challenge.
Today, surf trunks are made from recycled plastic bottles, traction pads are made out of algae, surfboards are certified eco-friendly; heck, there’s even a revolution taking place on how all of this stuff is packaged and brought to market.
Almost every big-name surf brand these days has woven sustainability into their business models. San Clemente-based Rip Curl was recently certified as a B Corporation, meaning it will be accountable for environmental and social milestones when it comes to the growth of its business.
Patagonia has long been at the forefront of the environmental fight. Time and again, it eagerly puts its money where its mouth is.
The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) has a very active environmental fund. Every year, the Waterman’s Ball raises large sums of money for environmental causes and honors an Environmentalist of the Year—last year, it was Anne Earhart, founder of the Marisla Foundation.
Along the same lines, World Surf League PURE leans in on ocean issues via the power of pro surfing. Both SIMA and WSL PURE raise awareness for issues ranging from coral bleaching to wetland restoration, saving sand dunes and more.
Perhaps the best thing about being a surfer and caring about the beach and ocean, we can all do our part. Everyone can pick up a few pieces of trash when they get out of the water. Just that small, simple act can have a ripple effect.
We can all be the change we seek through being a little more aware and tweaking a few of our regular habits. This Earth Day, make it a point to be the change.