Surfboards are typically made from polyurethane foam, fiberglass laminate and polyester resins.
Basically, carbon filled components that can really inflate one’s carbon footprint.
From a purely environmental perspective, looking for an eco-friendly surfboard may be considered a pipe dream of catching that perfect wave.
But the sport itself is one of the most eco-friendly, green, green living, sustainable sports out there. Just by its nature, compared to other sports, it has a naturally low carbon footprint. Free sun, sand, surf, and water – hardly any measurable carbon footprint, except the energy consumed and CO2 you emitted getting to the beach. Drive one of those new Prius wagons and you’ll be all set. Or better yet, hitch a ride in a Tesla!
I am not a surfer, but I went once flew over Hawaii and looked down wishing I had stopped. None of this makes me an authority on surfing, but bare with me, I’ve done a little useful research that you will find helpful if you’re looking to green your surfing scene.
I found some great green alternatives to any budding surfer, who wants to keep it really, really green.
Because as much as an eco-friendly surfboard may be an oxymoron, an uneco-friendly surfer seems even crazier. Try these alternatives next time you ride a gnarly wave (is that even cool anymore? I am so Midwestern).
Bamboo: I imagine a big concern for the avid surfer would be that using a non-traditional material would negatively affect one’s performance. But according to Treehugger.com, bamboo surfboards are not only 15% lighter making them easier to control with respect to speed and turns, but they are also dent resistant. Even World Surfing champions use them. Bamboo uses non-toxic, eco-friendly material that actually makes a more durable product than the conventional surfboards. And what’s better? It’s an extremely renewable resource (3 to 5 years rather the 50 years it takes for most timber crops).
The bamboo is sandwiched between a recyclable, non-toxic polystyrene form core. And just like a regular surfboard, bamboo surfboards can be customized. Check out Bamboo Surfboards of Hawaii. The owner, Gary Young, is passionate about his eco-friendly yet contemporary shapes. You can contact him with your ideas and specifications for your perfect surfboard and he’ll give you a quote. His boards usually run between $125 and $200 per foot of length.
Hess surfboards : Each surfboard or boogieboard is made using sustainable woods like cork and poplar. The creator, Danny Hess, prefers these woods because of their strength. And, luckily, they come with a plethora of environmental benefits: reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood, the use of EPS foam rather than polyurethane which is a recyclable surfboard foam, and an epoxy finish which emits a very low amount of Volatile Organic Compounds. According to Hess’s website, each board he makes uses approximately half as much fiberglass as a regular surfboard and will last much longer since wood has more resistance to deteriorating than a foam board would. Hess even has a blog on his website for every handmade board he makes – with details about all the sustainable practices and products he uses. To get your own surfboard you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Homeblown surfboards: British-based surfboard maker, this company was a recent winner of the Surfers Path Green Wave Award. They created a revolutionary biofoam that makes surfboards stronger, lighter and approximately 35% more sustainable than a regular surfboard. If interested, you can contact them at email@example.com. If you are concerned about the long trip over the pond, they’ve thought of that too. To make their shipping more environmentally friendly, they ship raw materials instead of actual surfboards (18 times more fuel efficient) and create the surfboards at satellite manufacturing plants in the U.S.
Give these options some consideration before catching that next wave with your new surfboard.