Pipe Pro Gone Green

A model for sustainability in surf events

The folks at Sustainable Surf have just released a report officially certifying the 2014 Volcom Pipe Pro as an ocean friendly, carbon neutral surf contest. Sustainable Surf—the same organization that verifies sustainably-produced surfboards under their Ecoboard label—also runs a program called Deep Blue Surfing Events, which works with event organizers to put on surf contests in as environmentally-friendly a manner as possible. Sustainable Surf has worked with the ASP, and the brands backing ASP events, on eight contests so far, beginning with the 2011 Rip Curl Search event in San Francisco. This is a good thing.

To be designated as a Deep Blue Event, a surf contest has to meaningfully address five areas: waste, renewable energy, social/community impact, climate change, and transportation. There must be an achievable plan in place that can be measured to make sure that standards are being met, and minimum impact-lessening goals must be reached. The 2014 Volcom Pipe Pro shined in all five areas. 82 percent of waste was diverted from landfills by making recycling and composting easy for all the spectators and staff. Event organizers partnered with a local biodiesel producer to run all the generators for the contest and the event webcast on biodiesel. Community impact was addressed by directing some of the sales from various merchandise tables toward local schools and community outreach programs, and by donating space for local non-profits to reach out to the public during the event. The Volcom Pipe Pro was a totally carbon neutral event, made possible by using carbon offsets from a wide variety of environmental and social carbon offsetting sources. Sustainable Surf was able to calculate the total carbon footprint of the Pipe Pro (259 metric tons of carbon dioxide), including air travel for all the surfers and staff of the event, as well as the biodiesel for the generators. Finally, staff, fans, and competitors had ample access to shuttles to and from the Turtle Bay resort, cutting down on an estimated 1,760 miles that would otherwise have been driven by passenger cars.

Once the contest had finished, representatives from Sustainable Surf leafed through the data they’d piled up during the event and determined the 2014 Volcom Pipe Pro had been run according to the eco-friendliness standards of the Deep Blue Surfing Event program. Plus, the event organizers can plan for how to further reduce the environmental impact of future events based on the data gathered by Sustainable Surf.

It’s not bringing back melting ice caps by itself, but it’s a big step in the right direction for a sport that requires a healthy environment to thrive.

The full report outlining the Deep Blue Event standards and how the Pipe Pro met them can be read here: http://sustainablesurf.org/volcom-pipe-pro-2014.