When you think of surfing, you think of a person standing on a board in the ocean. What you don’t realize is that there are many aspects of surfing that are not environmentally friendly.

Surfboards:Most surfboards consist of polyurethane foam and fiberglass. The Environmental Protection Agency closed Clark Foam, one of the world’s biggest foam plank distributors for surfboards in the world, in 2005 because the polyurethane is highly toxic. Fiberglass is a cheap and not-so-sturdy resin. Fiberglass boards break a lot easier and more and more surfboards are ending up in landfills today.

And don’t even get me started with the extremely cheap foam boards that most surf schools use. They fill up with water or breakdown very fast, but since they are so cheap, schools go through many of them every year.

With Surf eCo, our surfboards are made from Biofoam material. We do have a thin foam top and rubber fins for safety, but the boards are coated with an epoxy resin (commonly used on boats) which makes them very strong. Surfboards made with epoxy can last up to five times longer than fiberglass boards.

Wax and Sunscreen: Surf wax is petroleum based and not biodegradable. Some surfers wax their boards every time they surf and the wax continues to fall off into the ocean. This wax can build up on coral reefs or be eaten by fish and cause damage— since there have yet to be any studies done, we do not know what the results will show. Sunscreen is full of toxic chemicals and is one of the causes of coral bleaching —the sunscreen builds up on coral reefs, blocks the sunlight, and kills the coral. Many places, such as Cancun, are now requiring snorkelers to use biodegradable natural sunscreen to preserve the environment.

At Surf eCo we top our boards with a thin layer of Matunas Biodegradable sunscreen. All of the ingredients come from California and they are natural. We also provide Mexitan Organic Sunscreen (SPF 50). I’ve talked to many class participants who do not wear sunscreen on their face because they get rashes from the toxic chemicals in sunscreens, but after trying the Mexitan sunscreen, they had no problems (it doesn’t even sting your eyes).

We also offset our carbon emissions for driving the surfboards to the beach and donate 25 percent of our profits to save acres of rainforest in Costa Rica, through The Nature Conservancy. We are truly trying to find every way possible to go green and to set an example for other surfers, surf schools, and surf companies.

—TORREY TRUST

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