LETTER FROM THE FOUNDERS
Now, in our eighth year, the Vision of Sustainable Surf is fast becoming a reality.
Our mission is to be the catalyst for surf culture to become a powerful force to protect ocean health. While the impact of a catalyst is sometimes hard to judge, our influence around the world is now apparent.
For example, the vision of a more sustainable surfboard is now a global phenomenon. There were 68,000 Verified ECOBOARDs made by 250+ board builders in 20 countries, with seventeen materials having passed our standard.
Numbers only tell half the story. We are continually inspired by how hard the envelope is being pushed by innovators everywhere there is surf - and beyond. From Earth Technologies and Firewire Surfboards making commitments to go zero waste, to 3x World Champion Mick Fanning proving that ECOBOARDS from the world’s best shapers work in all conditions, to Ashley Lloyd making 3D printed surfboards from packaging waste. There is one common factor:
The vision that surfboards can perform and be dramatically more sustainable.
While this may seem obvious now, we can tell you that very few believed this story in 2011. We partnered with pioneers, like Entropy Resins, Marko Foam, Firewire Surfboards and Earth Technologies, to gain exposure, acceptance and ultimately - sales of their sustainable board technologies. The rest is history - because we don’t see the movement toward sustainable boards slowing down or going away now.
What we’re focused on now is a shift from doing ‘less bad’, to the global ocean-loving community actually ‘doing good’. And to create that next wave of change, we’ve soft-launched our newest program - SeaTrees. A way for ocean-lovers all around the planet to plant and protect coastal ecosystems - saving the ocean playground we all enjoy so much.
Watch this space!
And finally, we would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to our partners and collaborators. Without you, the sustainable future for surf culture wouldn’t be reality.
Kevin Whilden and Michael Stewart
Co-Founders, Sustainable Surf
SUSTAINABLE SURFING TAKES FLIGHT IN CALIFORNIA
Surfing becomes the official State Sport in California
In August 2018, the Governor of California signed AB1782 into law, which designates Surfing as the official State sport. Sustainable Surf played a role in writing a significant portion of the law’s language, including two sections that reference sustainability. These are:
(h) California is the heart of the surfboard building industry, which has innovated surfboard technology and pioneered sustainable manufacturing practices and techniques.
(k) California’s surfing culture is taking a national and global leadership role in promoting sustainability as a core value, while also placing a high value on environmental protection and stewardship, in order to preserve the ocean, waves, coastline, and wildlife that make the state such a unique place to surf, live, and visit.
The significance of this designation is that it elevates surfing as a symbol of what it means to be a Californian. Symbols matter because they help define our values, identity, and world view. More on this here.
This can influence policy makers as well, which became reality when the California Coastal Commission used this law as part of the inspiration to require equal participation for women and men at the Mavericks big wave surf contest, which ultimately led to the World Surf League [WSL] providing equal pay for women at all WSL top-tier events.
United Airlines sponsored Sustainable Surf as a result of the visibility created through California designating surfing as the State Sport. United Airlines also announced an elimination of surfboard carriage fees on flights to and from California. This was received with much praise in the surfing world and gained widespread coverage in surf media.
SeaTrees Soft Launch
In 2018, we soft-launched the initial SeaTrees concept at the Global Wave Conference in Santa Cruz. This is our major program initiative in 2019. It has the goal of protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems worldwide. Learn more.
We were also invited to present at the United Nations Environment Program, Day For the Ocean conference in Thailand. This lead to the publication of this article by UNEP.
SeaTrees makes it easy for ocean-lovers to have an ocean positive impact by protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems - like mangrove and kelp forests, seagrass, coral reefs and waterways. The regeneration of these blue-carbon ecosystems provides critical habitat for countless species, sustainable long-term employment for local communities and sequester carbon emissions.
The performance of ECOBOARDS has been validated, with the continued success of professional surfers like Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Michel Bourez and Lakey Peterson riding ECOBOARDS on the WSL World Tour and the world's top Stand Up Paddlers winning on ECOBOARDS - Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer and the Hasulyo Brothers. While free-surfers like Rob Machado, Dane Gudauskas and more, inspire surfers with their own ECOBOARDS on daily basis.
Mick Fanning - Stab in the Dark
3x World Champion, Mick Fanning rode 11 ECOBOARDS from some of the world’s best shapers for Stab Magazine’s annual blind surfboard test - Stab in the Dark.
When you see Mick surfing on these boards, it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that surfboards made with more sustainable materials performance at the highest level
Congratulations to Channel Islands for taking out the win on their Spine Tek construction and Pukas Surfboards a close second with their InCa Tek construction.
ECOBOARDS in the Media
In addition to Stab in the Dark, surf media and mainstream media outlets continued to cover the progress of the ECOBOARD Project. The story of sustainability and surfboards is a very attractive proposition, and pro surfers are perfect advocates for the message of ocean protection. Two of the best examples from 2018 include:
- The World Surf League and Corona running the 'Highline' series of events on ECOBOARDS
- Wired Magazine's review of Firewire Surfboards' latest ECOBOARD technology [reaching an audience 20 million people]
EOS x Ashley Lloyds Surfboards
We brought together EOS [Evolution of Smooth] and renowned female surfboard shaper, Ashley Lloyd Thompson to explore ways to use technology to upcycle packaging waste and ocean plastic into a range of surfboards.
Made in collaboration with SURFFF, Closed Loop Plastics and Earth Technologies, we produced a range of surfboards that were used to promote a new ocean-friendly lip gloss range from EOS.
Volcom Pipe Pro - expands sustainability focus to food and sourcing
The 2018 Volcom Pipe Pro continued to set the bar for sustainability at a surf event. It became the first major contest to be powered entirely on renewable energy in 2017 and pushed to focus further on food and their supply chain as part of the 2018 event.
Each Deep Blue Event has a transparent sustainability report that gives quantitative performance data and suggestions for further improves. Please see the 2018 Volcom Pipe Pro sustainability report.
Events that went 'Deep Blue' in 2018
- Volcom Pipe Pro, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
- Pacific Paddle Games, Dana Point, California, USA
- Log Jam, Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa
- Red Bull Heavy Water, San Francisco, California, USA
We believe that the key to solving most environmental problems, including climate change, is for individuals & organizations to begin making sustainable choices in their everyday lives that are engaging, cost effective, fulfilling – and yes, even fun.
Deep Blue Life is a simple strategy for creating an Ocean-Friendly lifestyle. Better Choices. Daily
Our programs, projects and activations provide the "onramps" people need to start living a Deep Blue Life. Below are some of our key Deep Blue Life activations for 2018. Below is a snapshot of several Deep Blue Life activations from 2018.
Discovery Channel - Innovation Nation
ECOBOARDS and Sustainable Surf were featured by the Discovery Channel in their Garage Innovations documentary. Several of our key partners were highlighted and interviewed. This show had a maximum reach of 80 million people across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Our segment appeared in Episode 1 - 7:55.
Discover of Cape St. Francis - Inspiring #oceanpositive Surf Travel
We are excited to help produce a feature length film on the origins of surf travel. Richard Yelland's "Discovery of Cape St. Francis" film will follow the story of Dick Metz, who's pioneering surf travels led directly to the famed Endless Summer movie. The film will highlight the sustainable solutions around surf travel and surfboards, and will feature an ECOBOARD made by Josh Martin, Tyler Warren and Mickey Munoz. The film will also be wiping out its carbon footprint with SeaTrees.
Deep Blue Discussions – Designing Sustainability Into the Fabric of Surf Culture
Sustainable Surf hosted an exclusive event at SoHo House / Little Beach House Malibu - a private club for creative influencers. We invited friends and members to join us for a relaxed conversation & exploration into the current state of innovation, design thinking, creativity and ocean conservation within modern surfing culture.
Sustainable Surf founder Michael Stewart kicked off the evening with an overview of our “Deep Blue Life” program, followed by a roundtable discussion with a select crew of some of our favorite collaborators, to discuss how their creative pursuits and entrepreneurial businesses – are reinventing “surf culture” as a force for good.
- Kassia Meador – founder / Kassia+Surf
- Marcos Mafia – founder / Mafia Bags
- Donald Brink – founder / Brink Surfboards
- Julie Cox – founder / Traveler
- Brian Shields – founder / Suga Yoga Mats