When it comes to saving the planet, we can't consume our way out of trouble, for obvious reasons. 

And we certainly can't "solve the plastic problem by sitting on your phone, virtue signalling" according to well, me. I said that.

But we can steer the ship on a better course, with a well-considered tiller adjustment.

Let's assume you still need to consume surf gear, whether or not you've gone vegan, denounced palm oil and switched to solar panels, and you'd prefer to make consumer choices that stand up to scrutiny. Who wouldn't?

"Puckered capitalist starfish is the ultimate/only harbinger of change"

The significance of that is, as a consumer, your best shot at exercising your voice, your true vote, if you like, is every day you make a purchase of any kind.

A hundred thousand of you all sign an online petition, or attend a preach-to-the-converted rally, big fucken whoopie.

Hundred thou of y'all stop buying one product in favour of another at the supermarket one day, and trust me, the corporate overlords' choc starfishes will twitch, and pucker.

And as we know, puckered capitalist starfish is the ultimate/only harbinger of change.  

Thing is, everything claims to be 'eco' these days in one way or another. How can you tell if it's legit, or just a brown recycled card swing tag embossed with tree/earth logo swindle?

Well you can't, as such.

But you can have a good ol sniff around, and scrutinise the surf industry's various eco-offerings. As have we, with our pick of the stand out green-ish surf gear of 2018.

 

 

Firewire Go Fish LFT

Firewire's eco policy seems to stand up, from what we could tell, certainly against any comparable board brand of its size and scale.

Firewire Go Fish

Dimensions: 5'11" x 20 3/4" x 2 7/8" / 35 L
Set-up: Twin
Shaper: Rob Machado
Materials: LFT (EPS/epoxy)
Price: £640

Firewire

There's a bunch of info on their site, much of which is aspirational 'aims to be' type-stuff. Fine. There's quite a bit of jargon and branding too, which is par for the course, really. But the nuts and bolts are that the Entropy Resin used in their Ecoboard certified production (all Firewire boards certify for Ecoboard, since 2014, the only brand to do this) is certainly less harmful for the planet. Just talking C02, 74lbs vs 105lbs. Now I know what you're thinking... lbs? What it is, like 1872? What they're trying to say is 33kg vs 48kg. 0ther best practices, the up-cycling of waste (e.g foam dust to paving slabs) and the use of resins that dissolve in vinegar and can be reused, all adds to a highly respectable eco stance. Read the full review

 

 

Skunkworks 7ft Surfboard

 

 

Skunkworks make heat bonded, durable softboards in Northern Ireland. Using a glue-less process, the idea being to make surf school boards that last, rather than end up in a skip every November after a long summer of getting bashed and buggered by the legions of the newly-jazzed.

Skunkworks 7ft Surfboard

Dimensions: 7’0” x 23” x 3” / 62.5L
Materials: PE foam / Patent-pending heat bonded process
Set up: Thruster
Price: £325

Skunkworks Surf Co

The brand is aiming to be waste free by 2020 and currently make their gear in the EU, sourcing material like foam in Ireland, meaning the process is transparent. The fact that production is in Europe also means things like proper worker and environmental standards are adhered to. If you're looking for a soft board with sustainability at the fore, this is the board for you. Read the full review

 

 

Hurricane Lil Green Ninja Green EPS

The cloth used in Hurricane's Green EPS construction is made from flax, aka lin, aka the stuff you should be sprinkling on your oatmeal daily, according to 'How Not To Die' author Dr Michael Greger. Well not the cloth, don't sprinkle that. What Greger neglected to mention was that even greater heights of health are surely reached by sprinkling lin on your porridge, and then sprinkling your Green EPS surfboard over the lineup, daily. 

Hurricane Lil Ninja Green EPS Epoxy

Dimensions: 5’8’’ x 19 1/4’’ x 2 3/8''
Shaper: Daniel Keggie
Set up: Thruster / Quad
Materials: Hemp cloth / EPS
Price: €685

Hurricane

Performance-wise, flax cloth is rated stronger lighter than fibreglass, and not only removes C02 in its production, but is much less harmful to work with. All this is info is begging the question, why aren't all surfboards made of plant cloth? We don't know... although if there is reluctance or inertia from the manufacturer's on that note, collectively as consumers, we can quickly help them make up their minds, right? Read the full review

 

 

Norrona Unstad 4/3

Norwegian outdoor brand Norrona used a plant-based rubber alternative, similar to Patagonia's Yulex, only different. For some reason, eco-cred from the Scandi's seem to carry a bit more heft, or sounds less like a branding exercise to cynics like me.

Norrona Unstad 4/3

Materials: Naturapreen
Weight: 1585g
Price: €389

Norrona

Norrona use naturaprene rubber, as opposed to neoprene - naturapreen is a natural product, made from rubber trees, rather than from oil. The Naturaprene is then laminated to recycled polyester on the face and back with a water-based glue that is solvent free, except for the reinforcement areas that require virgin materials to provide enhanced durability. Read the full review

  

Patagonia R1 Yulex Shorty

Yulex lite is 85% plant based, and 15% synthetic material, used in the R1 Lite Yulex Shorty, and as such, produces a mere 20% of the C02 of a neoprene (made from oil) equivalent. Aside from raw materials and transparent manufacturing process, in terms of campaigning, Pata stand pretty much alone as the environmentally-conscious surf brand. Partly because of what they make and how, but also partly coz they were on this way before it was fashionable. 

Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Shorty

Thickness: 2mm throughout
Weight: 820g
Materials: 85% natural rubber, 15% synthetic rubber
Price: £200 / €230

Patagonia

How does Yulex stand up performance-wise with contemporary neoprene? According to suit tester Billy W, thusly: "So while it may be marginally, almost imperceptibly less supple than a standard wetsuit, on the other hand it doesn’t involve fucking the planet nearly so much. I’d say that’s an eminently reasonable trade-off."

Read the full review,  and if you're adverse to the shorty and much more of a long leg, exposed bicep and deltoids kinda guy, well this must be the place.

 

 

Finisterre Vendavel Boardshorts

Aka the 'Cornish Patagonia', Finisterre have made responsibly-sourced material and manufacture core to their schtick. As a brand, sharing a name with a rocky, wind-blown continental extremity (in their case an Iberian one, as opposed to the South American one) their fortunes have been inversely proportional to Finisterre as a BBC R4 shipping forecast region. While it died from R4 listeners' ears in 2002 (replaced by FitzRoy - named after the Captain of Darwin's Beagle and father of the Shipping Forecast) the brand came to being in 2003, and has powered on expanding their range ever since. 

Finisterre Vendavel Boardshorts

Length: 19"
Weight: 97g
Material: 100% recycled polyester
Price: £75 / €86

Finisterre

The Vendavel's important stats are impressive: 100% recycled polyester, 97grams. You can't get more recycled than 100%, and you can't really get fewer grams of mass than 97, unless you take the shorts off and surf in the raw. Read the full review 

 

 

Patagonia Wavefarer Boardshorts

The 100% nylon construction is perhaps the Wavefarer's main judges-pleasing point of difference, nylon being a harder-wearing material than your standard polyester.

Patagonia Wavefarer Boardshorts

Length: 19”
Weight: 161g
Materials: 100% nylon
Price: €65 / £55 approx.

Patagonia

We’ve not had them for long nor conducted a rigorous scientific experiment, but on the basis of past experiences with Patagonia and the sheer feel of these shorts both in and out the water, I’d be frankly astonished if there were a more durable pair of boardshorts on the market. And durable, of course, means down with incessant consumerism, up with Save the Planet... Read the full review

 

 

 

Van der Waal Grip

When you think of wax, it's unlikely you consider its carbon footprint. Factor in packaging, the likelihood of ending up in landfill, or worse, the natural environment and it doesn't seem like the most sensible way of getting surfing foot and paddling torso to stick to surfboard.

Van der Waal

Dimensions: 112mm x 98mm (x 1mm thick)
Weight: 5g per hexagon
Price: €29 (21 hexagons)

Van der Waal

Thus Van der Waal's alternative, which lasts a year or longer, does seem to resonate much more with reusable, sustainable vibes, as opposed to the consume and throw away non-ethics of yesterday. Factor in white spirit, if you clean your boards with that, and wax does start to seem like a pretty toxic proposition. Seeing as this is a V2, imagine how far the eco cred could go down the line, in terms of improved materials and durability. Read the full review