Challenging sustainability in surfing.

The project aims to highlight the inherently unsustainable nature of surfboard production and their contribution to climate change. Our primary aim is to show that there are alternatives to traditional petro-chemical derived surfboard construction. We will use local timber (from Cornwall) and have this shaped into a wooden big-wave surfboard. This board will then be surfed on one of the biggest days of surf in Cornwall and captured on film to promote alternative methods for surfboard construction.

Surfers Against SewageSurfers Against SewageBig-wave surfing is the one area of surfing that goes beyond the traditional surfing media and into mainstream media. We hope that images of a professional surfer surfing huge waves on a sustainable board will generate excellent media attention. The main aim of this project is to create exposure for the climate change movement and ensure surfers take personal responsibility when choosing products.  

Wood has been a principal material in the construction of surfboards since ancient Hawaiians started to shape wave-riding tools. Today nearly all surfboards are petro-chemical derived. The annual production of new surfboards, roughly 750,000 creates around 220,000 tons of C02, equivalent to the greenhouse gas emission output of a single, small-scale industrial coal-burning plant. We want to challenge this and persuade wave riders to think about the environment when choosing their next surfboard. 

We are delighted to receive funding from APE to go ahead with our “How Green Is Your Ride – challenging sustainability in surfing” project. It’s very difficult to receive funding for Climate Change work: to put this in perspective grants directed towards mitigating climate change account for less than 0.7% of total UK philanthropy. In 2009/10, grants made to climate change mitigation totalled £15.8 million; in the same year, the National Galleries in London and Edinburgh raised £50 million in four months to purchase a single painting. So thank you APE for being so forward thinking, we can’t wait to get stuck in to the project!

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