We’ve been thinking long and hard on this one. Reality is that business is more likely to save the world rather than legislation, we live in a globalised capitalist system which isn’t going to change anytime soon. If we keep buying loads of single use, or even long term plastic based products, which have no end of life plan, then they will keep getting made. Unfortunately creating a circular economy is a huge task, we need to start small, so let’s start with us all getting together in our own little surfing bubble.
All of the essentials in surfing come from oil, they are toxic, but are essential for what we do. It’s one of the great ironies of being a surfer, we love the environment but use pretty gnarly equipment to enjoy it. But things are changing: Finisterre, OuterKnown, Riz Boardshorts to mention just a few are making clothes out of fishing nets, Bureo make skateboards out of nets, EcoFins are making fins out of ocean plastic. There is a revolution in board making: algae based tail pads, and perhaps most significantly Vissla and Patagonia are starting to make wetsuits almost entirely out of natural rubber and not neoprene.
The big question, however, is are any of these things any good? We thought about blagging one of everything and testing them, but that would leave us open to all sorts of criticism. I know from twelve years working on surf mags that wetsuit reviews are hard when it comes to long term tests and the fact that manufacturers pay for them means they are rarely of much use and lack objectivity. So whilst we are going to buy some of these items and test ourselves, we want you to be the test pilots. Whether you’re splashing out the extra cash for a Yulex suit from Patagonia, or one of Kelly’s algae based tail pads, or a bamboo board, we want to know how it feels, how long it lasts and ultimately is it as good or better than the current tech that most people use and spend less cash on?
So mail me firstname.lastname@example.org, we want to build up a big set of host reviews for every product, getting people to switch to new tech, especially if it’s a little more pricey, and especially in essential areas like boards and suits. This will not be easy, but if they work well let’s put it out there. You can write an essay about a wetsuit or one line about a deck grip we don’t care.
You can get involved and help The Plastic Project HERE