How to Make Surf Travel Sustainable

For its proximity to nature, surfing has a measurably harmful impact on the environment. While the act of surfing is relatively harmless for the planet and the ocean that we all enjoy so much, the surfing industrial machine is a freight train of toxic chemicals with a gargantuan carbon footprint. Every aspect of the surf industrial machine is harmful, in some way, to our one and only home planet. So, what is a surfer to do when surfboards are made from toxic polyurethane, wetsuit production of neoprene requires burning troves of fossil fuels, and everything from our boardshorts to our fins and leashes contains plastics? The answer is simple, we do everything we can to curb our impact and to protect the earth and, of course, our oceans that serve as a playground for surfers. While jet setting around the world in search of perfect waves may not seem environmentally friendly, there are steps every traveler can take to reduce their own impact to become carbon neutral. Whether you’re traveling to our Popoyo surf resort, Malibu Popoyo, or halfway around the world to Indonesia, follow the steps below to ensure you leave the earth, the beach, and our oceans a little cleaner than you found them.

1. Invest in eco-friendly surf gear.

Fortunately for us environmentally conscious surfers, both guests at our Popoyo surf resort and elsewhere, there is a whole budding sector of the surf industry with the lofty goal of creating sustainable, reliable, and durable surf gear. For the most part, these all-star companies are succeeding in their efforts to change the way we produce and consume surf gear. Board brands like Firewire are shaping boards with sustainable Timbertek and Woolight constructions to reduce the amount of fiberglass, polyurethane, and resign that go into surfboard production. While brands like Patagonia, XCEL, and Vissla are reducing the amount of toxic neoprene in their wetsuits while utilizing recycled materials. Patagonia actually makes neoprene free wetsuits made from Yulex rubber. Apparel companies like Patagonia, Outerknown, and Vissla sell sustainable boardshorts made from recycled materials that are often made from ocean plastics and repurposed fishing nets. Wave Tribe, a small California brand, produces sustainable board bags made from hemp.

2. Drive when possible – then offset your carbon footprint.

Now, we know that driving isn’t exactly green, but neither is flying. When you’re forced to choose between the two options, there is clearly a lesser evil and in this case, that’s driving. So, if you’re keen for a quick Baja run and you’re considering flying into Los Cabos rather than taking your sturdy surf mobile, you’re mistaken. Flying should be avoided when possible. When it’s not avoidable like during your trip to our Popoyo surf resort, do what you can to offset your carbon footprint with donations to sustainable organizations aimed at reducing atmospheric carbon, such as Climate Partner.

3. Ensure your local transport is as green as possible.

Now that you’ve done what you can to make up for the nasty airplane business, address your ground transportation. Can you get to where you’re going in an eco-friendly manner? Does your morning surf commute require a vehicle? Could that vehicle be as green as a bicycle? If not, how about a trusty scooter? At our Malibu Popoyo surf resort, our surf tanks are more than just ascetically pleasing 4x4s, they’re carpool friendly. At the very least, share a ride to reduce fuel consumption.

4. Clean up as you go.

Beach cleanups are an engaging and easy way to rid the oceans of dreaded trash and clutter that often drifts into the lineup. While local NGOs, charities, and companies often organize formal beach cleanups, an invitation isn’t necessary to pick up trash. It’s good practice for surfers and regular beachgoers to strive to pick up every piece of trash they see in and out of the water. By the end of your stay, you could theoretically remove hundreds of pounds of trash from the ocean and her beaches.

5. Eliminate single-use plastics from your luggage.

This may seem like an obvious step towards sustainability, but it is easier said than done. Take the average toiletry bag, for example, it’s teaming with singe use plastics like toothpaste tubes, shampoo bottles, razor handles, and body wash bottles. Nearly every commonly used bathroom item is made of or contains plastics. So, what is a traveler to do? Turn to sustainable bathroom items like shampoo bars, toothpaste tablets, and bamboo toothbrushes and razors.

6. Cut down on food waste.

Americans waste approximately 150,000 tons of food a day. That evens out to about a pound per person per day in the United States, which is an enormous amount of food if you think about it. When we travel, it’s easy to say not to food items that may go to waste. First, eat all your food. That shouldn’t be too hard at our Popoyo surf resort where La Catina serves three delicious meals a day to guests and visitors. Additionally, Malibu Popoyo provides sustainable meals through La Catina thanks to our 5-acre orchard that produces limes, 8 varieties of mangos, dragon fruit, coconuts, oranges, plantains and soon, chickens and bees!

7. Say no to single-use plastics during your journey.

Regardless of where you may be in the world, single-use plastics will follow. To truly make your surf trip as sustainable as possible, always refuse single-use plastic items when possible. Go beyond just saying no to a straw in your mojito, refuse food packaged in plastic as well.

8. Bring a reusable water bottle.

This easy step could cut down your single-use plastic consumption by 90%! It is recommended for the average adult to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, which translates to nearly six 12-ounce plastic water bottles. While avoiding bottled water is not always feasible in countries without potable drinking water, the amount of plastic used can be controlled. If you find yourself in a destination without potable drinking water and you’re forced to purchase bottled water, opt for the largest possible container and use said container to refill your own reusable bottle.

Join us in the new year as we strive to make your surf and travel experience as sustainable as possible!



Be the first to hear about special promotions, news and events.