Being involved in action sports we as a group are more exposed to, and acutely aware of, the impact that humanity is having on the biosphere. Whether getting sick from surfing after a heavy rain, or finding discarded trash in the middle of a natural preserve while splitboarding to that untouched line, we are on the frontlines of the battle that humanity is waging against the natural biosphere.
As children of the shred some might say that we’re intimately connected to our natural environment in ways a non-board rider couldn’t understand. Considering this, one of the greatest ironies is our disregard for the impact of those very boards that make us different. Take snowboards: start with a questionably sourced piece of poplar, apply plastic base and sidewalls, lather on a generous portion of VOC resins and a good helping of fiberglass filling, top that baby off with some plastic graphic topsheet and some steel trimmings, bake for 15 mins and voilà! What McDonough and Braungart term a “toxic hybrid.” This product can’t be recycled at end-of-life, not to mention all the excess material that was discarded, and overall non-renewable raw resources consumed, in the sourcing, construction and distribution of said product. Surfboards are much the same in that petroleum and VOCs are combined to form a product that is not very enviro friendly in construction, consumption or disposal.
There is no silver bullet, and the solution lies in moving forward with closed system sustainability as the ultimate goal. Addressing the excess post-industrial, pre-consumer polyurethane foam consumption of surfboard manufacturing, Joey Santley of Green Foam Blanks turns a waste problem into a resource solution - one-simple-thing-surfings-dirty-little-secret
For more information regarding the reduction of impact within action sports and the greater society check out Yvon Chouinard’s Education of a Reluctant Business Man - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVfy2T0rzMc