Surfs up! The warmth of the sun radiating down, waves shimmering like delicate crystals, a feeling of deep harmoniousness to be in this glorious natural habitat, then boom up pops a plastic bottle, then another, and then trash all of a sudden breaks the moment.
Many of the predominant issues we hear about on the news worldwide is issues around global warming, melting ice caps, plastic pollution and coral reefs being destroyed so we know surfers most cherished place to be in danger.
We keep hearing the fashion industry is one of the number one polluters on the globe and slow to make changes. This includes surf gear – so it looks like it’s time to explore Eco surf wear brands. Check out the documentary The True Cost on Netflix if you want a broader insight.
Created in Byron Bay, in the heart of Australia’s sustainably minded surf community, Salt Gypsy is made ethically from 100% recycled nylon ECONYL®. They use repolymerised waste materials in their ocean activewear and are committed to developing a closed loop system with a focus on supporting the slow fashion movement. They also use biodegradable packaging.
As a member of the Fair Trade Foundation, Picture’s goal is to minimize textile waste by reusing it’s offcuts. The french brand creates eco-friendly organic surf gear, along with skiing and snowboarding lines. The materials are 100% recycled, organic or responsibly sourced.
95% of their cotton collection is produced at the Seyfeli Factory in Izmir, Turkey. The products are made of organic cotton are either GOTS or Organic Content Standard certified.
Katherine Terrell, the designer behind this brand is a surfer, mom, and activist.
One of the leading innovators in recycled fabrics is ECONYL® regenerated nylon, is used by Jeux De Vagues in the manufacturing of their swimwear. The material is made from abandoned fishing nets, which constitute a huge source of marine plastic pollution at 1.28 billion pounds per year.
Their printed fabrics are made from recycled water bottles. From the fair labor factory in Los Angeles where their bikinis are made, to their dissolvable, biodegradable hangtags the whole production process is focused on ethical practices. Terrell’s brand is committed to giving back to the environment, as a member of 1% For The Planet.
Finisterre designs functional and sustainable swimwear and wetsuits made from ECONYL® recycled plastic. They are a Certified B Corporation. The corporate ethos is fair wages, diversity in hiring, no child labour, and no discrimination.
They believe eco is all in the details focusing, as well, on eco packaging. Those little plastic twigs which connect swing tags to product, instead of plastic are natural made string at Finisterre. In addition, they have replaced plastic for paper mailbags made from unbleached kraft pulp, from renewable FSC/PEFC compliant paper mills. Both products are recyclable and compostable.
Yulex wetsuits are made from a renewable material that performs as well, or better, than traditional neoprene. Patagonia developed a plant-based rubber called Yulex, choosing not to patent to encourage widespread use. It’s more expensive, but that you might ensure your favourite surf spots a bit safer long term with your support.
Panamuna Project puts the protection of the ocean at the heart of everything it does. This independent surf label uses eco-friendly materials, and a production process that limits the amount of water and waste-water used.
Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a sustainable menswear brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. The brand uses recycled nylon, ECONYL®, made from recovered fishing nets and nylon surplus then transforms it into premium nylon jackets and board shorts.
The brand manufactures globally with companies who value and abide by the strict guidelines of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) & Bluesign.
In designing their wetsuits they utilize limestone-based polychloroprene for most of their neoprene products. The goal is to reduce dependence on oil and oil-derived chemicals.
Located in the Bruce & Huron country of Ontario, but with online sales available. With a mandate to only have ethically and environmentally friendly merchandise, and a store made with 75% recycled materials, they are walking the walk and surfing the eco surf.
All set now to get your eco surf on!
Looking for Eco surfboards and gear? Check out Charlotte Carson’s story here