Editor’s note: A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Jay Recinto of Warm Winds Surf Shop in Narragansett RI, asking if he could submit a guest post on environmental-friendly surfing. I support any initiative that will help the environment, and especially the ocean, so I said ‘sure.’ And no, I was not paid to run this post.
BTW, the cool building in the shot below is known as “the Towers,” a famous Narragansett landmark.
Here’s Jay’s post:
There are two potentially damaging misconceptions in the surfing industry as far as the environment is concerned. The first misconception is that the sport of surfing is not damaging the world’s oceans. While it’s technically true since the act of surfing a wave doesn’t really damage the ocean, surfing as an industry is damaging the ocean and the environment in a lot of ways.
The second misconception is that making the switch to sustainable surfing is hard and expensive. In fact, a lot of surfers think that it’s so hard that it will take the fun out of the sport.
This article on sustainable surfing will dispel both misconceptions. As a surfer with no regard for sustainability, you’re damaging the environment in ways you never imagined. As a surfer who cares for the environment, you can easily make the chance to sustainable surfing.
Start by Respecting the Ocean
As a surfer, you know how good the ocean has been to surfers and the surfing industry in general. It’s actually easy to start with sustainable surfing. Start by following the general rule – respect the ocean.
It’s the least we can do. With the countless of imperfect and perfect waves that it has provided us, the least we can do is to give the ocean the respect she rightfully deserves.
Unfortunately, it’s not getting 100% respect. Surfers and people in general do things that damage it like throw trash or use products that are not environment-friendly. This is something that needs to be changed.
This of course extends to the beaches. Respect the beaches as well. They’re basically the welcome mat to the amazing experience that the ocean provides.
Speaking of welcome mats, the ocean is part of Mother Nature’s home and we’re just visiting. You wouldn’t disrespect another man’s house as a guest, right?
Read and understand how the ocean works. Know what’s okay and what’s not. For starters, it’s common sense that it’s not a good idea to throw your trash, no matter how small, on the beach or in the ocean.
Take nothing. Damage nothing. Leave nothing.
Surfers usually have a bucket list of sorts. This bucket list has all the surf spots that they want to try before they die. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but you may want to “travel light” in such a way that you minimize your travel as much as you can.
You have to understand that traveling leaves a lot of footprints that can damage the environment. This is especially true with air travel. No one’s stopping you from flying to an exotic surf location to conquer its waves, but every now and then, make the choice to travel light.
For example, instead of flying to Indonesia to surf, why not just make the drive to Narragansett Town Beach? You get the idea.
There are a lot of opportunities for you to volunteer in. Ask your favorite surf shop if there’s an upcoming clean-up drive that you can volunteer for. Better yet, start your own clean-up drive. With social media widely-accessible, you can easily find volunteers that can help you out.
There are also organizations that encourage sustainable surfing. You can check them out, see their goals, and volunteer. Start with the Surfrider Foundation and Sustainable Surf.
Buy Used Surfboards
The manufacturing process of surfboards leaves a lot to be desired as far as sustainability is concerned. While there’s a conscious attempt to make the switch among environment-conscious companies, the best you can do right now as a surfer is to prolong the life of surfboards by buying used surfboards.
Check out surf shops in your area. The best ones have impressive stocks of used surfboards – some of which are as good as new. As a bonus, you can save a lot of money this way.
You can accomplish a lot of things on your own. Can you imagine the effects if you can get more people to join you in your efforts?
The important thing is to start now. Get in touch with your favorite surf shop. They can help you to start.
About the Writer
Jay Recinto is the Media Content Manager for Warm Winds Surf Shop in Narragansett Rhode Island. In addition to being a trusted surf shop, Warm Winds is also known in and around Narragansett for giving back to the community and the environment.
Check out the Warm Winds website for a Narragansett surf report for your next surfing visit!