As a species, we use too much plastic—way too much. Like if-we-keep-this-up-we'll-have-more-plastic-than-fish too much. And as surfers, we don't need to be environmental scientists to be acutely aware of that (floating Gatorade bottles and Ziploc bags are basically how we Southern California surfers judge the direction and strength of currents).
That's why it makes sense that certain surf brands (Billabong, Volcom and Quiksilver, to name a few) have at one time or another offered boardshorts made from recycled plastic bottles: they get to create a product that keeps discarded plastic from potentially entering the lineup, and surfy consumers get to feel all warm and fuzzy knowing they're being better stewards of our aquatic playground. It's a win-win.
Well, Norton Point's new boardshort makes those wins just a little bit sweeter. Their new trunks, The Starboards, are made from 100-percent recycled plastic bottles (11 of them, to be exact) and they feature buttons made from 100-percent recycled ocean plastic.
Never heard of Norton Point boardshorts? Well, that's because this is their first pair (they mainly specialize in recycled ocean plastic sunglasses, for which they've partnered with the Ocean Conservancy and the Plastic Bank, and pledged to “reinvest 5% of net profits into research, education and development efforts towards stemming the impact of ocean plastic”). But they collaborated with Fair Harbor (a company that actually specializes in sustainably-made boardshorts) for surprisingly comfortable and rash-free results.
Their specialized plastic-woven fabric doesn’t offer a ton of stretch, but with a modern cut that has the shorts stopping well above the knee, the lack of stretch isn’t all that noticeable on a wave, where they feel perfectly functional. The Starboards come in one color—the retro-ish burnt orange you see in the above image—and feature two front pockets and a zip pocket in the back, should you choose to take them onto dry land.
Are The Starboards the most stretchy, high-tech boardshorts you'll ever wear? Probably not. And at $98 a pair, they certainly aren't the cheapest either. But they have a clean, simple look, and for long warm-water sessions, they perform comparably with any mid-range boardshorts made from traditional materials. For the surfer perpetually looking for more ocean-friendly products, that sounds just fine.