The 10 mantras of the eco-responsible surfer

As surfers, we have a very special connection with the ocean. We recharge our batteries there, we have fun there and we find our balance there. We owe him a lot. And while the act of surfing itself isn't harmful to the ocean, the same can't be said for the surf industry. From manufacturing equipment to traveling on planes in search of the perfect wave, the environmental footprint of surfing is considerable. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to reduce it and actively protect the environment. We have therefore gathered here 10 principles to adopt urgently to be an eco-responsible surfer. More and more of us are enjoying the ocean, so let's join forces to protect it!

1. I monitor my movements

Lost in the swell truck on a northern European road

It hurts to say it because we love to travel. We all have mythical spots in mind that we dream of surfing one day. And there's nothing wrong with that: it's normal to appreciate and want to enjoy the wonders offered by our beautiful planet.

But is it really reasonable to go to the other side of the world for ten days several times a year? Airplanes emit large amounts of CO2. This contributes to global warming and ocean acidification, which has serious consequences for marine and terrestrial species.

Far be it from us to deprive ourselves of surf trips forever. Just adapt them to our times. Spending more time there to limit return trips or choosing closer destinations, such as Morocco or Portugal, are good approaches. Before leaving, find out about accommodation near the spot: you can go surfing on foot or by bike. In addition to being ecological and economical, it will be the perfect warm-up for your session!

So before becoming an expert international eco-adventurer like our ambassadors Lost In the Swell, don't forget that our beautiful country is full of spots to discover in magnificent places that are easily accessible by train, bus, bike or carpooling. Landes, Basque Country, Vendée, Brittany, with nearly 6 km of coastline, France is not left out in terms of waves. Winters may be a little chilly but a good wetsuit will keep you warm. And it is well known that immersion in cold water is excellent for your health!

2. I opt for an eco-responsible board

Cork surfboard at the beach

The surfboard is at the heart of surf culture. She fascinates us. However, it conceals an extremely polluting and dangerous manufacturing process, both for the planet and for the health of the shaper. Polyurethane foam, resin, fiberglass which often travel thousands of kilometers to arrive at the workshop. In other words: a concentrate of CO2 in a beautiful toxic cocktail.

Fortunately, alternatives exist to reduce the carbon footprint of this manufacturing process as much as possible. And NOTOX has embarked on the quest for an ethical surfboard. We explore sustainable technologies to produce high-performance eco-responsible boards suitable for surfers of all levels: KORKO, GREENONE, GREENFLEX, R-CARBON, EPS. These technologies are based on responsible sourcing and have allowed us to considerably reduce the environmental impact compared to a classic board.

3. I opt for an ecofriendly suit

Oxbow wetsuits drying in front of a surf spot

The vast majority of water sports wetsuits are made primarily from neoprene, a synthetic rubber made from petroleum. Added to this are glue based on toxic solvents, manufacturing processes that consume water and energy, and limited recycling. It is therefore a real polluting bomb that you wear on your skin.

Fortunately, several brands now offer eco-responsible wetsuits without algae-based neoprene. This guayule-based natural rubber, the result of technology developed by Yulex, requires a small quantity of water in its manufacturing process, making it less toxic than classic neoprene. It is now used in brand combinations focused on environmental responsibility, such as Patagonia, a pioneer in the field, and more recently, Oxbow. otherwise Sooruz has recently innovated by replacing the traditional limestone type limestone with a natural filler composed of recycled oyster powder. In addition to leading the way in environmental responsibility, these suits are just as efficient and comfortable. But no matter which brand makes your natural rubber wetsuit, if you no longer wear neoprene Mother Nature will thank you!

4. I maintain my equipment

NOTOX surfboard decoration by Lost in the Swell

Maintaining your equipment extends its lifespan. And the longer you use it, the less waste you will generate. By learning how to properly maintain your board, you ensure that it stays in good condition for as long as possible. Be careful if your board is damaged during a session to prevent it from taking on water and becoming fragile. If you are new to surfing or have a beginner-intermediate level, opt for one of our KORKO boards. This cork-based technology is more resistant to everyday shocks and surface damage is easily repairable.

There's no need to rush in and replace all your equipment overnight. Take small steps. If you only change boards when absolutely necessary, the planet will thank you. So resist compulsive purchases because reducing your consumption is the best way to limit your environmental impact. And the day you want to replace your board, donate it to an association like Paddle Paddle Surf Project ou Solidarity Surfers. Otherwise, find an original way to give it a second life: donate it to an artist, make it a shelf, display it on a wall. Whatever you want, as long as it doesn't end up in a landfill!

Same thing for your wetsuit: rinse it with clean water after each session. This helps remove sand and salt. Then let it dry naturally away from the sun. In fact, temperatures that are too high destroy the nitrogen layer of the neoprene and melt the glue. If it's a little torn, don't run to the store to buy a new one right away: many workshops and certain brands repair wetsuits at a lower cost (or for free!). It would be a shame to part with it when you could still use it for many sessions!

5. I use an eco-responsible wax

The Lost in the Swell who prepare before going into the water

Don't let its tropical scents fool you: wax is one of the most polluting elements in a surfer's kit. Mainly composed of products from oil refineries (first and foremost paraffin), it is found in water and on sand, with a direct impact on the marine ecosystem.

But good news: eco-responsible alternatives can now be found in any good surfshop. Brands like SimWax ou GreenFix are turning to natural biodegradable products and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. And if you like to get your hands dirty, you can even make your own wax. Many recipes and tutorials exist on the internet. Or even better: do without wax completely with our KORKO models because cork is naturally non-slip!

6. I prefer non-toxic sunscreen

Surfing sunscreen

According to the WWF, nearly 70% of coral reefs are seriously threatened and 25% have already suffered irreversible damage. These figures are chilling. The main culprits? Pollution and global warming but also the chemical components and harmful substances present in sun creams.

Every year, 25 tonnes of chemical active ingredients from sunscreen are dumped into the oceans. In fact, after 000 minutes, 20% of the cream is already diluted and its chemical UV filters (oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, etc.) form compounds that destroy zooxantella, a microalgae essential for the development of coral. The choice of sunscreen therefore has a direct impact on your environmental footprint.

To limit the destruction of the ocean ecosystem, eco-responsible cream solutions are multiplying. Check the labels carefully and remember that:

  • Opt for mineral filters and forget about chemical UV filters
  • Favor biodegradable ingredients.
  • Prefer sticks that adhere well to the skin
  • As a surfer you have a special bond with the ocean so don't hesitate to lead by example!

7. I minimize my use of single-use plastic

Beach full of plastics on the African coasts

Single-use plastics are a real scourge for our oceans. Most are not recycled and end up in the sea where marine wildlife mistakes them for food. This phenomenon often has fatal consequences for hundreds of species of fish, birds and marine mammals across the planet.

We have developed an overdependence on single-use plastics. They are everywhere: they are there when we go shopping, when we drink coffee, when we brush our teeth. And it is not impossible that there is even some in our stomach! Every minute, 15 tonnes of plastic waste are dumped into the oceans.

By minimizing your use of single-use plastics, you are helping to reduce the amount of waste produced. To help you, apply the “3 R” concept in your daily life: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. And for the single-use plastics that you can't live without, make sure you throw them away in the right place so they don't end up in the environment.

8. I think about my meat and fish consumption

Fish fishing

It's no secret: livestock production is responsible for a large part of greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. Animal feed is also involved in deforestation. Without becoming vegetarian, reducing your meat consumption to plant-based your plate allows you to reduce your carbon footprint without reducing the nutritional quality of your diet. In summary: consume less but better!

The same goes for fish: 90% of commercial marine species are today overexploited or fished at the limit of sustainability. So to choose your fish carefully, limit the most endangered species (like bluefin tuna) and vary your menu with different varieties. Generally speaking, favor fresh products, unprocessed fish, products from artisanal fishing. No point eating a fish that has traveled around the world!

9. I support an environmental protection organization

A whale that jumps

Many organizations are dedicated to protecting the environment. Several of them are closely linked to the world of surfing. This is the case, for example, of the Surfrider Foundation which was created in 1990 by a group of surfers. Others, like the WWF for example, are known worldwide and act in several areas of environmental protection: seas and oceans, forest conservation, protection of biodiversity.

An association whose approach is particularly interesting is the Water Family. Born in 2009 in France, she positively educates young generations in scientific ecology to make them aware of environmental challenges from an early age. It's no longer a secret: one of the main reasons for indifference towards the environment is its ignorance. The more we discover it, the more we want to protect it!

These organizations are always looking for volunteers to help them carry out their actions. The Surfrider Foundation regularly organizes beach cleanups, for example. It's a great way to get out of the house and have a good time while doing positive things for the planet!

If you don't have much time but still want to support one of these organizations, making a donation is also a good way to help them carry out their actions. Each contribution provides them with resources to act more effectively. Find the one that best matches your values ​​and make a one-time or recurring donation, depending on your means. If you live in France, you will be able to deduct this donation from your income tax. Pretty cool, right?

10. I respect the places

Surfers Adventure Lost in the Swell

Sometimes it's the little details that make the biggest difference. It might sound crazy but you'd be surprised how many surfers don't respect the ocean. They leave waste behind, they disrupt the ecosystem and are not at all concerned about environmental issues. We live in a world that encourages overconsumption and waste. Constantly bombarded with information, it becomes difficult to take a step back. Do you want to help change things? Reject this mentality.

When you leave the beach, only your footprints should indicate your passage. Throw all your trash in the trash. Keep a bag in your car and pick up some trash at the end of each session. You can even equip yourself with Trshbg, a bag that allows you to collect waste when you are in the water. Because it may seem anecdotal but every little gesture counts and above all it sets an example. Maybe other people will see you and say they can do the same.

If you love the ocean and nature, being an eco-responsible surfer goes hand in hand. These reflexes are easy to adopt and can make a big difference taken together. So apply them in your daily life: invest in a water bottle, use metal straws and wooden cutlery, save water, favor local products. And above all, continue to educate yourself and talk about these subjects around you because environmental protection concerns us all.

Surfers adventure boat

We all know that feeling of excitement when we arrive at the spot and the waves are beautiful. So channel this energy and use it. Far from claiming to be an exhaustive list, these 10 mantras are small levers that we can all activate at our own level. It's not about changing the world alone, but about initiating a global dynamic and feeling in tune with your convictions!

A big thank you to Clément Defontaine of COWORDS for the writing of this article and Ronan Gladu from Lost in the Swell for these magnificent photos!