When I left off the last Journal I had been chasing swells on three sides of the Tasman and mentioned I was going to look into the environmental footprint of a travelling surfer. I started researching and decided to start with the basic necessities for surfing: surfboard, leash, deck grip, wetsuit and wax. I know you can surf with less, but these items are the basics for the majority of surfers. I would then add into the equation the travel time associated with surfing.
Very quickly I realised the process was going to be a depressing one. Every part of every item listed above is an oil derived product, none of them biodegrade well and the useful life of each product is quite short. So instead of spending a week looking into just how terrible the surfing community is to the planet, I decided to seek out companies and manufacturers that were doing their best to create products that were better for the environment. I soon discovered that most of what is sold as ‘environmentally friendly product’ is really just Green Wash marketing with little to no solid science behind the products true environmental impact.
I tried to line up a few interviews with the people that truly were producing something positive, but time was not on my side and my travel schedule got the better of me. So this story will have to go on ice for a while. I promise I will get back to it as I am sure there are a lot of you interested in what I find. Until then, if anyone reading this has any information on surf related products (please keep it to the essential items listed above) that are environmentally friendly please let me know and I will get in touch.
The northern NSW coastline is one of those amazing places on the globe where the surfing and alternative lifestyle cultures have melded with the financial ‘sea changers’ from the cities and grown into very unique towns where fine dining restaurants and Hare Krishna run eateries exist side by side. Of course the centre of this universe is Byron Bay. It is one of the few places I have seen where hipsters on old school longboards surf side by side with bearded mountain goats, swarms of backpackers and some of the worlds best free surfers. Anyone who moved there in the last year is a local, anyone who was a real local has long gone as the property prices pushed skywards. It’s a town that has seen so much change in such a short space of time it is hard to imagine what it will be like in the future, which way it will go next. But one thing is for sure, the beaches are spectacular, it has a great selection of waves and the climate is pretty close to perfect…
An out of season ECL (East Coast Low)
A spring time swell turned a Sydney rock shelf into an almost surfable slab while, further south, there were moments where things started looking good but quickly faded into a wind blown mess…
Ending October in Manly
The next time you hear from me it will already be December. I am heading back to PNG soon, this time to Manus Island with the crew on the PNG Explorer. Every time I go to PNG it totally blows me away. I am sure this trip will be something special and I can’t wait to put the next issue of The Journal into your inbox.
Enjoy your day,
Phil SwanPosted at 08:23h, 03 November
OMG the ‘Golden Hour’ photos are just beautiful, can’t help but feel inspired to get my camera out and head off to see if I can create something as beautiful, thanks for sharing your art.
Jay FoleyPosted at 04:32h, 23 March
Ah well its a Good Life. That’s my hill and trees in the background of most your photographs.
Swim and surf all you can.