Surfers are intimately connected with the ocean and its waves. Relying on its beauty and power for their passion. However, plastic pollution poses a significant threat to our beloved surf breaks. As well as endangering marine life, polluting the water, and degrading the overall surfing experience.
In this blog, we will explore the impact of plastic pollution on surf breaks and provide surfers with practical tips on how they can help reduce plastic waste. Consequently preserving our oceans, and ensure the longevity of our favourite surfing destinations.
1. Plastic Pollution: A Threat to Surf Breaks:
Plastic pollution has become a global environmental crisis. It’s impact on surf breaks is undeniable. Discarded plastic items, such as single-use bottles, bags, and straws, find their way into the ocean, polluting the water. This poses a danger to marine life. Plastic debris can entangle marine animals, disrupt their habitats, and causing injury or death. Additionally, plastic fragments break down over time, contributing to micro-plastic pollution, threatening the health of marine ecosystems.
2. Protecting Surf Breaks: Surfers as Agents of Change:
Surfers have a unique opportunity to become advocates for change and protect the surf breaks they love. By adopting sustainable practices and reducing plastic waste, surfers can make a positive impact on the environment and preserve the integrity of their favourite waves. Here are some actions surfers can take:
a. Embrace Reusable Alternatives: Swap single-use plastic items for reusable alternatives. Carry a reusable water bottle, use cloth bags for groceries, and bring your own food containers and utensils. By making these small changes, surfers can significantly reduce their plastic footprint.
b. Participate in Beach Clean-ups: Organise or join beach clean-up initiatives in your local community. By removing plastic waste from beaches and coastal areas, surfers contribute to creating cleaner and safer surf breaks for everyone to enjoy. Aotearoa Surf’s “Surfing for Good” initiative has a holistic approach to sustainability and one of their pillars of sustainability is hosting “Take 3 for the Sea” beach clean up days, so if you’re local to Te Arai, New Zealand jump on board next time!
c. Educate and Inspire Others: Spread awareness about plastic pollution and its impact on surf breaks. Encourage fellow surfers and beachgoers to join the fight against plastic waste by sharing information, hosting educational sessions, or organising community events. Or get involved with a local company such as Aotearoa Surf, who has a passionate commitment to educating communities. Through their kids programmes not only do they get to learn how to surf and have fun the children leave their experience more knowledge about not only water safety but also practical ways to protect the environment, fuelling the next generation to be more conscious of their plastic footprint!
d. Support Sustainable Brands: Choose surf gear and equipment from companies that prioritise sustainability and use eco-friendly materials. By supporting these brands, surfers can encourage the industry to adopt more environmentally conscious practices. Head to the Aotearoa Surf Shop and have a brows through some of their sustainable brands today!
3. Surfing and Plastic-Free Initiatives:
Surfers around the world are leading the way in plastic-free initiatives, inspiring change within their communities and the surfing industry as a whole. From organising plastic-free surf competitions to collaborating with local businesses to reduce plastic waste, the surfing community is showing a strong commitment to protecting surf breaks and preserving the ocean.
As surfers, we have a responsibility to safeguard the health and beauty of our surf breaks. Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to the oceans we cherish, but by taking action and reducing our plastic waste, we can make a difference. By embracing reusable alternatives, participating in beach clean-ups, educating others, and supporting sustainable brands, surfers become agents of change and contribute to the preservation of our beloved waves. Let’s paddle out together, armed with knowledge and determination, and make a positive impact on our surf breaks and the oceans we hold dear. Together, we can create a plastic-free future for the waves we love to ride.