Written exclusively for Raglan Surf Company by Lucy Galbraith
As surfers we take sustainability pretty seriously. And as surfers we see first hand the effects of not looking after our precious natural resources.
Sure, you could blame tide and wave surges for coastal erosion but it’s not just that stuff that’s the problem. If you’ve been surfing in Bali in the last ten years you’ll know what I mean. Or closer to home, if you’ve sifted through the sand at any beach you would have seen that it’s speckled with micro-plastics. It’s not anything to be stoked about.
Having a retail store and knowing this is going on can be a little conflicting. We understand our role in not only offering products that have a low impact on the earth, but also our influence as part of the community.
We know we’ve got to choose the right things to stock our shop in order to help facilitate the change we want to see. We’ve tooted on about Patagonia heaps already so we thought we might shine some light on a few other planet-conscious products and brands we supply.
Surf hardware hasn’t had the best reputation for being sustainable but that’s all changing. The products we stock aren’t only the best for complementing your Hughesy SB19, they are also doing their thing for sustainability.
The popular Neo Glass fins, Freedom leash and the Traction pads have undergone a sustainable makeover with recycled and considered materials. The Neo Glass Eco fins has the same performance capabilities as regular Neo Glass fins, but they’re now 50% glass and Bio-Resin EcoBlend™, materials that reduce the company’s carbon footprint by being way more sustainably sourced.
The Freedom Helix Leash is similar in ways to the old Freedom Leash that hit the shelves a few years ago, but with Helix in it’s name and some solid improvements in its construction. It’s stronger, lighter and less-draggy thanks to the naturally sourced, corn-based bio resin used to make the cord. The corn-cord also features a textured surface to flow through water smoother than your other basic leggies and has a built-in shock absorber thanks to it’s inner-Helix. And if you don’t know what an inner-Helix is it’s probably best you buy one and find out.
The T-3 Eco Traction pad takes all the design traits of the classic T-3 pads, one of our biggest sellers for grip (excluding wax of course), but is made with sugar-cane based bio foam. This non-edible but delicious sounding material is way more natural than other foams.
FCS also donates 1% of all sales to Gowings Whale Trust, a trust set up to help look after our oceans and support activism and awareness around environmental issues.
Creatures of Leisure
If you’re more of a Creatures fan you’ll be pleased to know they’re working towards a better earth through sustainability and ethical practices too.
Traditionally traction pads are made by shaving down a block of EVA foam until it creates the pad you stick on your stick, resulting in a fair bit of EVA foam being thrown away. Creatures have devised a way to avoid this unnecessary wastage by instead moulding the entire pad, from the kick to the arch support, right down to the lumpy bits that hold your feet.
What’s also impressive is that Creatures of Leisure hold a B Corp certification meaning their business is “meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving, to supply chain practices and input materials”. AKA, they give enough of a shit to earn a certificate. Nice.
Globe’s Zuma Cruiser Skate/Surf Board
If the waves are average or you don’t want to get your hair wet, Globe’s Zuma Cruiser is a good alternative for adding some shred to your day.
Like all cruisers, the set up is designed for speed and carvability so you can get all the tree-barrels you want (if you grew up in a place with consistently average surf you’ll know what I mean). That is, provided you can skate.
The sustainable side isn’t just that you can use it instead of your car on your daily commute, but in the materials used too. The deck of the board is made with natural coconut fibres that have been “up-cycled” into sheets of ply.
The coconuts come from a self-sustaining crop and don’t require a heap of processing. Incorporating coconut means less maple is used for the deck which is a very good thing for that precious timber’s sustainability. The art on the board is by Chris Miyashiro, a native Hawaiian who drew inspiration from the “voyagers who connected the old pacific”. Not that art directly contributes to sustainability, but it does make your board look cool.
It’s not really bikini season right now but, when the sun comes back and the water no longer gives us ice-cream headaches, you can rest assured that your cozzie will be conscious (environmentally).
Heaven Swim uses 100% recycled fabric which is very impressive. The Lycra used for their togs comes from up-cycled plastic bottles combined with recovered fibres from nylon garments. There’s a detailed description of all the reasons this material is great on their website, but you can rest assured that Heaven’s environmental footprint is a pretty small one.
Levi’s, Reef, Billabong
We’ve lumped these clothing brands together as they’re all doing their bit to be more conscious of sustainability and ethical practices.
Making the perfect pair of slacks uses a shocking amount of water, but the folks at Levi’s are working their little denim butts off to reduce this. They’re recycling and reusing tens of billions of litres of H2O for softening the denim and creating that worn-in look. 75% of Levi’s cotton now comes from more sustainable sources and they’re aiming for 100% sustainable sourced cotton by 2025. They’re also aiming for 100% renewable electricity in their owned and operated facilities and cutting their greenhouse gas emissions down by 40%.
Our buddies at Billabong are incorporating more recycled fibres in their garments too. Items like the A/Div Furnace Flannel uses 100% recycled polyester to keep you toasty warm. All their products created for anything ocean related are now made from eco-conscious fabrics.
Reef footwear is supporting some epic causes through the “REEF X Surfrider Better Beach Alliance” that works to clean up beaches world wide. They’ve also partnered with “Urban Surf 4 Kids” helping at-risk youth experience the healing benefits of the ocean.
The rest is up to us…
While we’re stoked that these major brands are doing their bit and we’re proud to stock them, the reality is that we all have a part to play. Let’s all be sure to take good care of our precious beaches and oceans and make sustainability a big part of our brand choices.