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Are Surf Parks Environmentally Sustainable? Surf Park Summit Roundtable

In this week’s Summit release, Dr. Jess Ponting mediates a roundtable discussion regarding surf park and wave pool sustainability. The roundtable panel includes Chris Hines, Nick Hounsfield, Chad Nelson, and Derek Sabori, each with their own direct ties to sustainability initiatives within the surfing industry around the globe.

Quotes from the Panel:

Chris Hines (Owner, A Grain of Sand): “I strongly believe that you cannot justify running a surf park if it’s going to have a detrimental effect on the climate and oceans through it’s energy or its material and resource use. That would be morally wrong and, in my humble view, against the spirit of what surfing is actually about.”

“I think surf parks should seize the opportunity coming their way to raise standards and push sustainability in the surfing world. We’ve got one planet, none of us have had to kind of walk 5 kilometers to get our water today, none of us live on less than a dollar a day – we should seize this opportunity. Lets do it.”

Nick Hounsfield (Co-Director/Co-Founder, The Wave UK): “One of the things that we decided to do was get in contact with Chris Hines. We were then able to sit down and with Chris write our sustainability policy. We very much look to try and get that triple bottom-line balance between having a project that is financially sustainable, is environmentally sustainable, and also socially sustainable.”

Chad Nelson (Environmental Director, Surfrider Foundation): “The good news I think in this case is that the financial incentives are really aligned with the environmental incentives, because the efficiency of moving that water is going to be key to the financial viability of these parks, which means almost inherently they’re going to have a relatively low footprint.”

“80% of your carbon footprint is based on how many times you fly. The questions I have is: Will your carbon footprint be higher if you drive to and surf the local surf park or if you fly to Bali?”

Derek Sabori (Director of Sustainability, Volcom): “My first thought is, if there was advice to give, I would say do it from the beginning. If you’ve got an opportunity to from the very beginning set that culture and set that pace and set those expectations, it makes a huge, huge difference, obviously… you’re going to get a great start.”

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