Surfing can be a little bit contradictory sometimes. Many surfers, as they should be, are concerned about the state of our environment. The term “carbon footprint” has become a buzzword in the last few years, and surfers — especially the ones who travel for waves — have big feet. But the organizers of the Perfect Chapter, a one-day, invite only tube riding event in Portugal, are doing their best to make those feet a little smaller. They’re making the ninth-annual Perfect Chapter powered by Billabong carbon neutral.
“By bringing some of the best tube riders to Portugal, all from the four corners of the world, we knew that our carbon footprint would be significant”, the organizer Rui Costa said. “It became decisive for us to revert the environmental impact generated by our event by finding compensatory ways to preserve the planet and, by extension, the oceans, which is where the Perfect Chapter takes place and the shared home of all of us surfers.”
To do so, the Perfect Chapter teamed up with Reflora Initiative, an environmental startup “committed to calculating, reducing and offsetting the carbon footprint of its partners.” That means they take all sorts of information about the emissions produced by the contest and figure out a way to offset them. The Reflora Initiative worked with the Perfect Chapter’s main sponsors to make it happen.
So what, exactly, are they doing to neutralize those big-ass feet? Well, a lot. Over the next three decades, they’ve committed to helping with the conservation of a swath of the Peruvian Amazon. They’ll be part of a project that is focused on protecting some 320-million trees, facilitating the cultivation of sustainable forestry, the funding of research programs that evaluate the local flora and fauna, donating technology and equipment destined to preserve and protect the forest, funding of certificated training in fire management, and forest cultivation that will benefit over 400 local families.
The Perfect Chapter is also asking sponsors to scrap the use of plastic-based advertising materials. The winner’s trophies, always incredibly crafted, are made by hand from driftwood. On the day of the contest, a beach cleanup will take place, all waste will be properly separated and prepared for recycling. All food surpluses will be donated to local organizations in an effort to reduce waste.
Surf contests can be hard on the environment, but with enough effort, they don’t have to leave behind such a dark stain.