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How to become a sustainable and eco-friendly Surfer

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Sustainable and eco-friendly surfing
By Vera Schemainda

As surfers we know about the strong connection with nature when we are catching our waves in the ocean and gaining happiness, inner peace and freedom when we surf. More to that the ocean makes out 71 % of our world, serving us food, energy and minerals. The ocean is central for the stability of the weather and climate is dependent on a functioning interplay between the atmosphere and the ocean. That’s why we should know about our responsibility to try to protect this environment with the aim of a clean and healthy ocean. As surfers we can make use of our shared interest and use this community to unite. Well guys, as Gota d´Àgua Surf Camp we are convinced that we can make a difference. That´s why we would like to give you some ideas to act more sustainable and eco-friendly on your surf trips and at home.

1. How to travel eco-friendly to Gota d´Àgua Surfcamp?

If you are based in Europe, choosing Portugal or more precise the Costa da Caparica as your next surfing destination, is already the first step in order to keep your environmental footprint low.  We can strongly recommend you to start your journey with a clearly unforgettable trip by train or car. You will be able to experience the geographical differences on your way down to the south. Different landscapes, climate, cities, surf spots, languages and food are there to be discovered. If you choose the train, you can find great night train options which make your journey very comfortable with your own bed. If you want to be more flexible with your stops you can travel by car. If you don’t owe one or don´t have a licence you can go for different car-sharing options which became more popular in the last years. On BlaBla Car or in Facebook groups you can find all kind of rides. For solo female travellers you will have the possibility to join `Girls Only´ rides. Many people are going down with their camper vans, so there might be even the possibility to experience some Van Life!  If you have your own board, you can be sure that it will not be damaged.

2. Shampoo & Microplastic

Unfortunately, you will find microplastic (the cosmetic industry calls them microbeads) in most of the common products such as shampoos, conditioners, body scrubs, sun protection lotion and even tooth paste. These microplastics are very tiny pieces (smaller than 5 millimetres) which are too small to be taken by wastewater treatment processes and are being washed straight into the ocean. You can make a choice to search for products which are by 100% microplastic free. If you are not sure about the products you are using, you will find different Apps where you can check your products. Next to that there are other ways to be more environmentally friendly with regard to personal hygiene. Instead of shower gel you can use a traditional soapstone and carry it in a reusable box. Soapstones are not only less expensive, they even last much longer and you are reducing your plastic waste. The same goes for shampoo and with a little research you can find microplastic free shampoo bars. Always try to consider as well if you really need to use shampoo every day when you are on your surf holiday. Why not saving some water and enjoying the salty beach look in your hair!  Last but not least, you should consider the choice of sun protection which is very important if you consider that most of your cream will stay in the ocean (6000 tons of suncream end up in the ocean each year). We can recommend you the brand SWOX, a product, developed by surfers, that protects you skin during long surf sessions and being environmentally friendly.

3. Surf Gear- When less is more

With regard to surf gear & clothes a responsible lifestyle will become a bit more expensive. But if you think about the slogan ´less is more´ you can try to adapt your lifestyle and your consumption behaviour. You can start asking yourself the question if you really need the third pair of sneakers, another surfboard or the latest wetsuit design? The money you save with this attitude can be invested in more sustainable products. With regard to wetsuits, the best choice for a ´green´ wetsuit is Patagonia. If you don´t have the budget for this, try to consider to use your neoprene as long as possible and keep in mind that you can always repair your wetsuit. Moreover you have ways to recycle your old ones. The German brand Klabauter is recycling old wetsuits and producing board bags with it. Last but not least, think about the wax you are using for your board. Some of the big brands are producing wax based on paraffin, which is a by-product of petroleum and clearly not cool for your body or the ocean (around 6 million bars of wax are used every year). But don´t worry, you will find eco-friendly alternatives, which are compared to other products not more expensive. We can recommend you Greenfix Cold Wax for your next surf holiday in Gota d´Àgua Surfcamp.

4. Reusable Products

In order to reduce plastic waste, you can use reusable products. It´s simple to do so. Just get yourself a reusable water bottle or get a nice bag for your supermarket visits. Stay tuned for our Gota d´Àgua waterbottles which will arrive soon. In Portugal you can even drink tap water without any problems and by this you even save money and some muscle power for your next session. 

5. Beach and community clean ups- from Gota d´Àgua

When you stay at Gota d´Àgua Surfcamp you can participate in our weekly beach- and community clean up sessions. During the last season we collected 500 kg of trash in only 4 month. For us it its important to keep the beaches and our local community trash-free and to raise awareness for the pollution. Apart from that we can recommend you to check out Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots non-profit environmental organization, aiming to protect and preserve the world´s oceans, waves and beaches. They carry out many events all over, where you can participate in and participate as a volunteer.

Well, as you can see, there are many things you can do on a small scale in order to protect your environment, the oceans and the world we are living in. In the end it´s all about your own choices. Becoming a more eco-friendly surfer will take you perhaps a little bit more effort (and money) but we as Gota d´Àgua are sure that it´s worth it. As a group of people who are passionate about the same thing, we can surely use this power from a group to keep our oceans healthy! Spread the world and enjoy your rides! 

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