It’s Earth Day! And not only that but the theme for Earth Day this year is “Restore our Earth,” which according to Earthday.org, “focuses on natural processes, emerging green technology and innovative thinking.” To be honest I didn’t even know Earth Day had a yearly theme until I was googling “Earth Day 2021” last night to make sure it actually was today. But restoring the earth with green technology is quite a fitting theme for the topic of this article.
It’s no secret that surfing products aren’t always great for the environment. While sliding across water might not be as destructive as, say, thundering down illegal trails on a mountain bike or turning large tracks of land into manicured lawns for golfing, the equipment required for water sliding certainly rivals any outdoors activity in terms of environmental-unfriendliness.
Surfboards made from polyurethane blanks and glassed with polyester resin are the industry standard, but the materials are downright nasty, and have a short lifespan. The same goes for traditional neoprene – unless your wetsuit is made of limestone neoprene or some awesome material like that, you can trace its chemical lineage right back to petroleum. The same goes for most surf waxes, which are made from paraffin, another fossil-fuel derivative.
But there are companies trying to do better and they deserve to be recognized. So here are five. Give ’em a follow, and maybe even buy your next surfing product from one of them. The environment will thank you.
Earth Tech is truly pushing the limits of how sustainable surfboards can be, making use of epoxy bio resin and epoxy blanks in manufacturing, as well as making sure nothing gets wasted through their Zero-Waste Initiative. Did you know that the waste produced in the production of a surfboard is roughly double the weight of the board itself? Instead of shipping that crap to a landfill, Ryan Harris (Earth Tech’s founder) and his team run it through their industrial shredder, and then use the shredded material to make all sorts of products from wax combs to leashes and fins.
Learn more about Earth Tech here.
Shred Skateboard Co. is a new venture from Marcelo Gagliardi. The boards are hand made in California with a core constructed from 100 percent surfboard production waste. Gagliardi told us that a typical six-foot surfboard creates six pounds of trash during the manufacturing process. Shred wants to keep that out of landfills and help inspire the surf and skate industries to use safer processes to build boards. Gagliardi estimates that each board keeps 1.5 pounds of trash out of the landfill, and the boards can be custom molded into classic skateboards, longboards, mini cruisers or surfskate decks.
Find them on Instagram here.
Timber Surf Co. is another company you should check out if you’re into Earth-friendly products. Timber Surf is based in Santa Cruz, Calif. and, similar to Earth Technologies, is working to create waste-less surfboards. But they’re going about the process a little differently. Timber uses slab-cut pieces of fallen redwoods from the Santa Cruz Mountains to line its EPS blanks, giving them unparalleled strength and longevity, as well as reducing the amount of resin and fiberglass required. In addition, brand owner Ryan Lynch has been doing his homework on sourcing his materials as sustainably as possible. Plus they’re beautiful to look at.
Read out full interview with Ryan Lynch on the state of the eco-surfboard industry here.
YEW stands for Your Environment’s Wax, but as far as whether the acronym or the title came first, I think we’re looking at a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. Regardless, YEW surf wax is made from beeswax in Manhattan Beach, Calif. and although it may cost a little more than the standard bar, it’s a product you can feel good about rubbing all over your surfboard. It smells and looks great on a surfboard with a natural yellowy tint. It takes a bunch of small changes to lead to big change, and this change is (in my opinion) an easy one and a total no-brainer.
See their line of eco-friendly surf wax here.
Anna Ehrgott has been making sustainable surfboard bags from coffee bean sacks and remnant or vintage fabric since 2014. Durable, protective, and unique, each bag is handmade in Southern California, and they’re proven to stand the test of time. “The first board bag we ever made has survived Hawaii, Baja, Oregon, and a 21-mile hike…and it’s still holding up fine,” Anna says on the website. Sagebrush has recently expanded its offerings to produce surf ponchos, tote bags, and more.
Check out their offerings here.