Breathe the hypocrisy.
The World Surf League, self-billed “global home of surfing,” is not shy when it comes to burnishing its environmental bonafides. Talking points sent down from twin chiefs Erik Logan and Jessi Miley-Dyer include referring to the ocean as “office, home and playground” thereby necessitating preservation. Action items involve coordinating planting a bush in Western Australia. But behind the scenes, deals are struck with landfill-ready, carbon spewing Chinese SUVs and any other company willing to open a chequebook in order to be covered by a green wave.
Well, it appears the jig might be up as a new entirely damning BBC piece fingers the average surfer as having a 50% greater carbon footprint than an everyday Joe. Professional surfers, with the amount of boards chewed through, non-stop airline travel, passively shilling Great Wall Motors, certainly scratching 80%.
Historically, surfing has had an image of a sport and lifestyle that is in tune with, and protects, oceans and the environment.
But environmental campaigners say the manufacture and export of polystyrene and polyurethane boards and neoprene wetsuits comes with a significant carbon footprint.
One long-standing study estimated the manufacture of a traditional polyurethane board, covered with epoxy resins and exported across the globe, could be responsible for producing the equivalent of up to 250kg of carbon dioxide.
The reporter did find a glimmer of hope, however, in the top UK women’s surfer Lucy Campbell who has declared, unlike the World Surf League, that she will no longer accept sponsorships from gross polluters.
“It’s often hard to turn down a big pay cheque, if they’re a brand that isn’t sustainable, but it’s definitely more worthwhile in the long run,” she said, adding, “I think that they (the brands) need to take the onus and make that difference. It may come at a higher price but I think eventually that price will come down as technology advances.”
Mark Dale, the chief marketing officer for Agit Global, the US company that makes the mass-produced board Wavestorm dumpster-anticipating VAL boards, might have agreed, in theory, but quickly pointed the finger elsewhere, stating, “The misconceptions about Wavestorm is that we are creating this mass of boards that are meant for landfill, but you can use a Wavestorm board for many years. We don’t build boards as disposable boards here.”
The World Surf League’s Logan and Miley-Dyer are yet to respond but be on the lookout for another bush planting somewhere near you.
Or maybe an exciting new partnership with clean coal.