Toward a greener future with sustainable surfboards

The world has changed, as well as the surf industry, that’s why we need to stay up-to-date by living in a total symbiosis with nature and by challenging our usual landmarks. Nowadays, surfboards, wetsuits, surf wax and even driving – or flying – to find the right spot is far from being idyllic for the planet. As a matter of fact, surf is totally linked with petroleum.

Surfboards shaped by Otter Surfboards, makers of beautiful wooden surfboards.
Capture by Jacob Guy

“When people enjoy a place deeply, they begin to see it differently, and are ultimately moved to protect it.” – Joel Cesare, Surfrider activist and costal defender for the city of Santa Monic

The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

Throughout the years, ocean pollution awakened an environment awareness in surfers and shapers, and they have started to become more ocean-friendly and green. In this manner, surfers and shapers should encourage the implementation of best practice and enhance environmental awareness among the surfing community.

There are many ways to encourage changes in behaviours for a brighter future. The return to the wood and new sustainable materials, as well as sustainable organisations and their programs have radically changed mentalities. Those initiatives are a great start, and it should be replicated throughout the world.

Plastic in the ocean, a real change within the surf community

8 billion metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, and it’s growing every year. Thus, in a few decades, plastics will take over the marine wildlife.

Over the past decade, surfers have explored the world seeking for new waves to surf. Their fear of losing their connections with nature has led them to raise awareness about the environmental issues within the surf industry.  This habit of surfing abroad has paved the way for the development of a sustainable surf tourism, as well as a shaping movement.

Ironically, wooden surfboards were the first to be born, and gradually vanished from the market in the 1960s to let place to foam based surfboards. Easier and quicker to shape, lighter and more manoeuvrable, these new surfboards where globally a great progress for the global surfing industry. But today, as we face a real environmental urgency, maybe time has come for a change to reduce our footprint on the environment.

“The natural world around us is such a gift and it’s important to never lose sight of how lucky we are to find ourselves here.” – James Otter, owner of Otter surfboards.

James Otter, owner of Otter Surfboards has decided to dedicate his life to shape wooden surfboards. Discover his story and the wood shaping process here.


Today, a lot of initiatives are spreading into the surfboards shaping business, and shapers are involve non petroleum materials in their work. Hemp, cork, light wood, lin, bamboo, cardboard or event recycled cigarette filters open fields toward experimentation to built eco-friendly surfboards.

For example, Chad Jackson, owner of Hemp Surfboards, uses hemp as a fiberglass substitute. Indeed, hemp is stronger, more durable and as malleable as fiberglass. Chad has taken a step forwards in the development of eco-friendly surfboards that has driven other shapers to increase their desire in acquiring new shaping techniques.

Waste to Wave is a program sponsored by Sustainable Surf that recycle polystyrene foam into new surfboards. Anyone can participate by bringing their used polystyrene foam at surf shop or to Waste to Waves collection bins. At the factory they melt it in order to create a foam blank from scratch.

The result of this sustainable mouvement is that this material will never end up in landfills or on the beach. Most of all, surfers and shapers are comfortable in using it. So, it is totally a win-win for us and for the planet.

To learn more about this sustainable surf movement, watch the Waste to Waves Story.

The nature is offering us on a silver platter unlimited resources; it would be an outrage not using it. Thankfully, some are taking actions to improve the health and prosperity of ocean, avoid waste, reduce footprint on the environment, and promote recycling. Nevertheless, as surfers and shapers shouldn’t we all be the voice of the ocean by encouraging and improving access to sustainable livelihoods.

At TheBigQuiver, our philosophy is simple: to surf tirelessly perfect waves with the perfect surfboard anywhere on the planet. Above all, we would like to take part in the creation of a new community where shapers and surfers will share a common philosophy by adopting a new way of surfing life. We love the ocean, we love to ride those magnificent waves with incredible surfboards, and we respect Mother Earth. We would love to count you as part of our utopian but realistic world.

Lock, J. (2016). Board talk: wooden surfboards and sustainable shaping. Available from:

The Surfrider Fondation. Available from:
Otter Surfboards. Available from:
Sustainable Surf. Available from:
Hemp Surfboards. Available from:

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