Surfing Industry Uses Collective Voice to Encourage Sustainable Lifestyle

By JAY RECINTO

Surfers love the ocean. That goes without saying. But in the past, plenty of surfers, surf shops and other industry players didn’t really care about sustainability. They were under the impression that surfing as a sport is sustainable as it is. They’re not wrong. After all, the act of riding a wave doesn’t really hurt the ocean.

However, what they didn’t know is that the past and present surfing lifestyle in itself isn’t sustainable. Unless there are changes, there will be no future to the sport. More and more people in the industry are recognizing the need for change.

There’s the issue of some surfers, and beachgoers in general, being non-committal to the welfare of the environment. They use products that can harm the ocean. They leave trash on the beach. Simply put, they have no respect for the ocean that they truly love.

More importantly, industry players don’t realize that they’re in a good position to not only help the ocean, but ensure its health. And, in the process, ensure the future of surfing.

Fortunately, that has been changing.

One doesn’t have to look far to see how the industry is making the move to ensure sustainable surfing. Rhode Island surf shops are leading the charge to protect the waters off the coast of the Ocean State.

For starters, Rhode Island surf shops have teamed up with organizations that ensure sustainable surfing, such as the Surfrider Foundation. Local shops joined Surfrider Foundation in its call against the federal government’s plans for new offshore drilling in the Atlantic. The collaborative effort helped score a major win, as the plans were eventually canceled.

This is what the players in the industry now recognize — they have a voice that they can use collectively to protect the environment.

Here are just some of the things that industry players can do to ensure sustainability:

Clean up. Join a clean-up drive, or better yet, organize one.

Join an organization. The Surfrider Foundation is a good start. So too is Clean Ocean Access.

Buy used surfboards. The industry is notorious for its surfboard manufacturing process that leaves quite a footprint, so prolonging the life of surfboards makes it more sustainable.

Lessen air and land travel. Surfers do tend to travel a lot in search of new waves. Traveling leaves quite the footprint. This is not to say that you should stick to your local beach all the time, but just lessen your travel as much as you can.

Respect the ocean. The ocean has been very good to the surfing industry. It’s time to pay her back by showing the respect that she rightfully deserves.

Jay Recinto is the media content manager for the Warm Winds Surf Shop in Narragansett, R.I.