Surf culture – for all its associations with appreciating the natural world – is actually a bit of a drag on the ocean. Surfboards are made with crazy chemicals and foam that won’t ever decompose. Wetsuits are made of neoprene, another toxic product that requires a heavy does of petroleum to construct. Now consider the labor we put on the environment when we drive up and down the coast for a weekend session, or the heavy amounts of overseas travel we do.
None of this is to guilt you into giving up surfing. But it can serve as a reminder that we can offset our footprint and make a positive impact on mother nature with a little dose of mindful consumption. And here are four companies whose work is built on that exact idea.
Buero is Turning Fish nets into Skateboards
Bureo was formed to find solutions for the growing issue of ocean plastic pollution, inspire future generations and initiate social change. In line with this mission, Bureo founded Net Positiva, a fishnet collection and recycling program aimed at combating the detrimental impacts of discarded fishing nets. A major threat to marine mammals and ecosystems, discarded fishing nets make up an estimated 10% of the ocean’s plastic pollution. Fishnets are a challenging material for fishermen to manage and properly dispose. In response, Net Positiva supports environmentally sound disposal points, from which Bureo is able to source highly recyclable and durable raw material.
California Surf Craft makes bodyboards, handplances and surf accessories from cork.
It’s the dirty little secret every wave rider knows: our boards don’t last forever, but the materials they are made out of do. Dave’s business, California Surfcraft, is an odd mix of shoestring start-up, backyard science fair, and aerospace design firm–the kind of surf company that only San Francisco could produce.“I’ve been working on this for about 18 months now,” Dave says, motioning to what looks like a thin bodyboard made out of stolen grade-school bulletin boards. “At first, I was working with wood, but my boards ended up too expensive, they dinged easily, and they needed a lot of chemicals to seal properly. Honestly, I think if wood was our best option, then we never would have invented foam boards in the first place. I came across cork and I never looked back.” Dave’s boards, a mix of bodyboard and paipo that he calls a Bodypo, are made out of sheets of cork vacuum-bagged between layers of fiberglass to create stiff-yet-flexible sandwich composites. The cork surface and rails are left exposed since they, like the fiberglass, are naturally waterproof.
Fair Harbor Clothing Turns Plastic Bottles into Boardshorts.
Fair Harbor Clothing was born on the beach (well, a block away), so naturally they have a love for our planet and everything that it has to offer. At Fair Harbor Clothing they embody what they love: living presently and maintaining awareness of our impact on our planet. Fair Harbor makes board shorts that are artfully and thoughtfully crafted out of plastic waste from the environment, while also being durable enough for any challenge that Mother Nature throws at you. By creating a brand focused on simple living, they knew they could raise awareness about plastic pollution, help clean up beaches and spread the word about mindful consumption. Our plan: upcycle discarded plastic bottles and reinvest your money into the environment by donating 5% towards nonprofits. In a world of ever growing distractions they strive to inspire men to reconnect to nature, its beauty and to live for today.
Solve Sunglasses Gives People Clean Water for Life
With every pair you purchase SOLVE will give someone in need clean water for life, partnered locally with Water Missions International, an organization dedicated to transforming lives through sustainable safe water solutions. Money is taken from every pair of sunglasses SOLVE sells and put directly into a clean water fund. This clean water fund is what ensures that the company will supply water systems built at the Water Missions warehouse and keeps the “one pair, one life” model of giving alive.
Editor’s Note: You can Support Coastal Playground’s Indiegogo Campaign to start 3 new monthly cleanups – click here