Under The Influence

Like waves, I am simply a product of my environment.

Each wave is subtly shaped by a multitude of factors before it takes its final form at the coastline. A slight change in bathymetry will mold the same swell into various shapes and sizes as it reaches its terminus. It’s incredible how the same swell, starting from one source of energy thousands of miles away, can produce such vastly different waves up and down a short stretch of coastline.

I am no different.

My genetic makeup is akin to a waves’ initial swell and my environment the outside factors that shape it. I like to think my identity and motivations come from a pure inner source, but in my clearest moments of thought I know they don’t. I’m simply a product of my environment.

Even my surfing, which should be a pure expression at it’s core, is shaped on a daily basis.

The Pro Influence: Watching the World Surf League, I find myself longing to surf like the pros. It’s strange how imperceptibly my concept of what surfing is can shift away from the pure experience and toward competition. I catch myself jockeying in the lineup, my mind unconsciously drifting towards ‘surf status’, ‘priority’, and getting the waves I ‘deserve’. Embarrassed as I catch myself, I have to reset and remember I’m not surfing to make the tour.

I’ve noticed a good hold-down will humble me back into being myself.

Social Media’s Sway: Then there’s the Instagram rabbit hole. Lately, it’s been mid-length twin fins catching my eye. I find myself drawn to these boards and the different lines they can draw on a wave. Today, even though I’m on my regular thruster, I try a few long drawn out cutbacks instead of the default check-snaps. I like the way this feels. I probably look like an idiot.

Size Perception: And then there’s the effect of a dry spell. When it’s ankle high for more than a week, and suddenly a chest to head-high swell rolls in, it feels enormous. I feel like I’m charging Waimea Bay on a gun as I charge into my first few waves, but it doesn’t take long to become accustomed. After a few days of fun-sized surf a waist high day makes me question whether I should even paddle out.

Being aware of how the environment shapes me doesn’t do much to change its influence on who I am. My current philosophy in this regard is the same as my surfing philosophy: take what the wave gives you and try your best to stay in the pocket.

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Morning Recalibration

Surfing, I’ve realized, is much more than the thrill of riding waves. Especially on the not-so-great days, it’s a recalibration of modern comforts, which helps me appreciate life outside the water.

The Cold: Some early morning surf sessions become a battle with the cold. After getting out of bed and before getting into my sweats. Between my sweats and my wetsuit. That first duck dive. The last 20 minutes of the session… waiting for just one more good wave I can be satisfied with taking in. Then back at the car between my wetsuit and my sweats.

And then there’s my feet. My damn feet! Why are they always so cold for so long?

My Feet: Even a standard morning session can put my feet to the test. When it’s cold a cobblestone path becomes a bed of nails and a slight breeze pokes at my numb extremities. A nick from a rock or a bruise from the back of my board hurt like hell and last longer than they should. Yet I refuse to wear booties until I’m at risk of frostbite.

My Stomach: An hour in to my session I start thinking about my next meal. Two hours in my dreams turn from a healthy breakfast to burgers, burritos, and candy bars. Anything beyond this and I’m elated to just have any source of calories.

The Reminder: It only take a small bit of exposure to the elements before I’m returning home grateful for what I took for granted just a few hours earlier when I left the house. A warm shower, a pair of Rainbows, and a PB & J are heavenly.

In my chase for waves the short-lived discomforts help keep the rest of my life in perspective. 

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Sugar On My Tongue

Surfing is like sugar. It comes in many forms and has a predictable affect on the brain. When sugar hits my tongue I get an immediate reward shortly followed by a strong craving for more.

I can’t remember a single surf session where I’ve caught one good wave at the beginning the session and then thought to myself, “Okay that was great. That’s all I need. I’m gonna go in.”

On the other hand, sometimes when I haven’t surfed for a few days, I don’t feel that big of an urge to surf. This is especially true when I know the conditions are bad or I’m somewhere with no waves. But as soon as I know there’s an opportunity for surf I start craving it. And once I catch one wave, I crave more immediately.

Sugar can be similar. If it’s not in front of me and I haven’t had it for a while then I don’t really think about it. But if that Cookie is there, I’m gonna go for it. And if I have one cookie, I can have five.

But while sugar can make me sick, giving me some sort of sugar hangover – and definitely a moral one – surfing never has that effect. What pulls me out of the water is having to be somewhere else, the sun setting, a tide or wind change that ruins the conditions, or simply being too tired to catch more waves.

I’ve never exited the water because I felt bad about how many waves I’d caught.

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Thoughts on Shots

Does ‘trying to get the shot’ detract from the experience of surfing?

I surf for the stoke and the afterglow that it brings me: peace of mind, elation, and the ‘everything is in it’s right place’ feeling. I also surf for the connection with nature and the exercise. And there’s a social aspect too. My dad and I bond through surfing and nothing adds to a fun surf session more than sharing it with a few friends.

So where do pictures of me surfing fit in?

I’ve found, unsurprisingly, that among surfers there are various opinions on the topic.

  • The pure / soul surfer: “couldn’t care less”
  • The salty old school surfer:  “we never had any of that shit when I was younger”
  • The tourist surfer:  “can’t wait to post this on my IG”
  • The aspiring surfer: “the best way to correct bad habits and get better”
  • The pro surfer: “better make sure my sponsor’s logo is clear”

While I usually side with the soul surfer’s take, I’ve found myself with the mindset of each of these types of surfers (except the pro surfer) at different times of my life.

When I was just a grom we’d occasionally splurge on a wind-up camera with a waterproof housing. We had no idea what we looked liked when we were surfing and were so excited as we waited for the film to be developed. We were finally going to get to see ourselves on a wave and naively imagined it would be like something in Surfer magazine. Let down by both the quality of our water photography and the shattering of our self image, we weren’t too eager to buy another one.

But lessons don’t always stick and I’ve learned that magazine-quality shots aren’t the only ones with value.

Time Machines

Some pictures from my first real surf trip after high school graduation have survived. Most are out of the water, around the surf camp with my friends, or random pictures of this foreign place that was then so novel to me. After all, none of us wanted to sit on the inside of a break taking photos instead of surfing.

As poor as these pictures are, any time I stumble upon one of them in a photo album it jogs my memory, taking me back in time to relive another chapter of my life.  


As much as it hurts to see pictures of myself surfing, especially time sequence shots, these are some of the best learning tools. The pain falls away quickly when I change my mindset from trying to get a surf-mag shot to learning as much as I can from the documentation of my biffed takeoffs and sloppy turns.

By comparing pictures of myself with much better surfers on the same wave I have uncovered several problem areas. I was getting in too late, riding the wave too low when trying to get barreled, and surfing way too far out front on the shoulder. In my mind I was right in the pocket. The undeniable footage brought me closer to reality. 

After discovering these flaws in my surfing I found ways to fix them and ultimately came out a much better surfer. Sessions became increasingly more fun. I fell on fewer waves and made cleaner turns. I made more make-able barrels uncovering a new level of amazement and fell on fewer perfect waves which reduced my level of frustration. I can see why aspiring surfers film their sessions and review them with a coach. And I know I need a lot more of this myself.

Status Symbols

Then there’s the glamour shot. If I’m in a cynical mood I assume every surfer I see with a photographer is seeking the self-absorbent glamour shot. The surfer in the water waving his arm toward the beach to make sure his photographer sees him… or even worse, wagging his board. What a disgrace I think. What a sad expression of our narcissistic, selfy-stick-brandishing, social media-addicted culture.

My only consolation is to paddle around him and catch the next set wave while hoping it catches him off guard and he gets caught on the inside. As I paddle past I think, ‘Why are you out here? And what are you going to do with that picture when you get it?’ But I already know the answer. At least I think I do. He’s going to take a couple of frames and use it to boost his ego – show it to the buddies and brag, post it on Insta for a few extra status points.

How do I know this is true? Because I’ve done it. I’ve felt the urge to stoke the flames of my ego. Make my friends jealous, field the compliments, count the likes, and bask in my short-lived moment of glory.

Yes, I’m a hypocrite. But telling myself that I’ve learned my lesson makes me feel better about it. I’ve passed through the glory shot phase of my surfing life and have risen above. Now I can look down on all other surfers who are still there with a critical eye.

However, if I’m in a mood of understanding or indifference – which I usually am these days, I brush it right off. Thinking about it isn’t making my surf session any better. You do you… just don’t cut me off.

The Origin Story

The origin of a picture holds a high level of importance in my mind. 

I have some nice surf shots that don’t mean much to me. The closeout barrel is a classic example. Taken at just the right time and a favorable angle, it can be made to look like you’re getting pitted like a pro. Left up to the imagination of the viewer, you’re in deep for a full 3-second count before getting spit out dry. In reality you know the wave swallowed you and it wasn’t even that good of a session. Playing it off to your friends like it was all-time never feels as good as you imagined it would.

The best pictures of all time – outside the water included – are the ones where I didn’t know someone was shooting. No poses, no fake smiles, no advantageous angles. Just a candid snapshot of a moment in time. These pictures are windows back into the best surf sessions of my life, letting me relive some of my best waves and reigniting a portion of the stoke I felt that day.

My favorite photo to date isn’t a barrel or big top turn; it doesn’t do much to highlight my surf prowess. But it does capture the essence of what I feel when I’m in the zone. Taken from the beach, with steep cliffs lining the point break in the background, I’m at the very bottom of the wave. Frontside in the deepest part of a drawn-out bottom turn, I have my right hand up poised for action and pointing toward the lip, where I’m headed. My left hand is lightly brushing the surface of the water as if I were petting a lion – acknowledging the power it holds and letting it know I’m no threat; we’re in this together.

I’m smiling the biggest, most natural smile I can have. Pure elation. Not a care in the world.

With one glance at this pic I know what day it was and the exact wave. It was the wave of the day for me and one of the best of my life. It’s the one picture that encapsulates my whole summer – a full three months of surfing in Nicaragua, captured in one shot.

Even once it a while, a picture can appear as a surprise and pull me back into a memory. In my dad’s office one day I saw this picture on his desk, tucked under the glass desktop where he works every day. It sat alongside a picture of my sister on a horse and my brother with his two kids. The moment I saw it, that same ear-to-ear smile from the picture came to my face again. And I also realized it probably had a similar affect for him too.

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Head v Heart

Something deep inside of me wants to do everything I know I shouldn’t.

It feels like my heart is fighting my head.

My heart: I want to quit. I want to drop out. I want to give up all possessions like a monk, live in a van, and just surf. I hate ‘the system’ so much I want to live outside of it; in either defiance or intentional ignorance of it.

My head: I want to be a contributing member of society. I want security – a stable job and weekly routine. I must be practical, living within the means of how the world really works.

In my heart I’m brave and adventurous. In my mind I’m scared and timid.

This tug of war is endless because it’s a balanced match. On one side energy comes from a pure internal source – the inspiration and bottomless determination the best athletes of all time are born with. That fire. It’s what kept Viktor Frankl alive through 3 years in internment camps and allowed Ernest Shackelton to save his crew against all odds after being stranded in Antarctica.

The other side is fueled externally, like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, who has all the tools and support needed to become superhuman. The latest tech, money, coaches… all fabricating motivation (but real motivation nonetheless).

This fight between head and heart, I imagine, is life long.  

A good surf session will suppress it. A great surf session can make it disappear entirely, but never for long. Inevitably the head and heart clash again… and so the search for the perfect ride continues. 

The Buzzer Beater

I’m looking down the line at a peeling right-hander from the best possible vantage point. I’ve dropped in, my feet are set, I’m coming out of a shallow bottom turn, and I’m rising up the face of the wave to make sure I can get enough speed to make the next section.

These first few seconds are critical. If I don’t get enough speed off the takeoff I won’t make it around the first section that slingshots you down the line. Not making it usually results in a nice hold down and taking a few more waves on the head before being able to scramble back out to the channel. If you’re unlucky it can mean getting pushed up into the rocks that line the point.

Off my initial bottom turn I’m picking up more speed than I expected. This wave is a bit bigger than the last few I’ve caught. It’s also more powerful. It pushes in to the shallows faster, with more determination, the upper lip throwing toward the shore rather than crumbling from top to bottom.  This must be one of the set waves from the West. Its shoulder is wrapping far into the channel, unlike the some of the sets with more North swell whose shoulders gently taper off making for shorter, softer rides.

I selected the right one. In a stroke of luck I could mistake for skill or intuition, I had paddled up the point and a bit outside of the pack just as the set was arriving. With a quick flip around, jam of the board, and only 2-3 paddles, I’m in. I’m on one of the best waves of the day at the best break in town.

The wave is big and dark. The sun has just risen over the mountains and is behind the lip of the wave, putting me in its shadow. There’s enough daylight to see everything clearly and thankfully no blinding glare as I look far down the line, but there is a mass of faces dotting the shoulder. Like sprinkles on the ring of a donut, there are people everywhere except in the curl.

At a break of this calibre it’s crowded before the sun breaks the horizon with surfers of all skill levels. Some are taking off deep and shredding the wave all the way through the inside. These surfers have either developed a personal relationship with the wave over hundreds of sessions here or are the lucky few with skills of a professional that make every perfectly-timed turn look effortless no matter what wave they surf. This group is the minority.

The majority are sitting on the shoulder hoping for a set that swings wide or someone at the point to blow the takeoff. For many, even getting in on the shoulder can result in a life-changing ride. For a few, it seems their goal is to just make it back to shore alive to tell the story. I know this is the case because I’ve passed through those phases (painfully slowly) myself, in my own surf journey.

But today I’m taking set waves from deepest part of the point.

In no more than 2 seconds I experience a drastic fluctuation of emotions. Off the takeoff I’m ecstatic. On the bottom turn I’m relaxed – in the flow state – not thinking, just reacting to the wave. Traveling up the face I’m surprised at how perfect the wave is lining up. Reaching the top of the wave I’m struck with a dash of anxiety.  People are peering, waiting, hoping I eat it or don’t make the section. I a little bit of anger flows through me. “I’m gonna make it you mother fuckers! Don’t doubt me!”

And I do. I’m triumphant. Not only do I make the section but I cut a deep drawn-out bottom turn, pivot up the face of the wave right in the pocket, and spray a cluster of onlookers with my top turn. I’m vindicated. I’ve silenced the doubters. They’ll have to wait for someone else to blow a wave. Not me.

I imagine this is what it feels like to make the winning shot of the game just as the clock runs out: the buzzer beater. The suspense building, time slowing down, an array of emotions flooding the body all at once, and then immense relief to know you didn’t blow it. 

I’ve spent countless sessions on the shoulders of waves and caught many a stoke picking up the scraps of a wave someone else blew. I’ve been the one who falls – more times than I’d like to admit and in ways I care not to remember. Holding these memories in the back of my mind feeds the internal suspense and ads to my personal vindication. I’ve proven to myself more than anyone else that I’m worthy of such an awesome wave.

In an afterglow of the suspenseful moment, I’m off down the line with all the time in the world. Feeling my board flex under my feet as it responds to the pressure of each bottom turn and the release of each top turn. I’m amazed at the perfection of this wave and can’t help smiling. I know I don’t look like the pros. I know I’m not as consistent as the locals that ride it daily. I know I’m lucky to get one of the few sets out the back today. And damn does it feel good!

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She be buckled.

The end of a life,
The end of the road,
A relationship beyond repair.
She be buckled.

The magic is lost,
Life from her gone,
Body in tact but soul released,
She be buckled.

The urge to revive,
Denying the inevitable,
Moving on feels wrong,
But she be buckled.

One chapter closed,
A new bond to be built,
A tinge of excitement dawning ahead,
She be buckled, but never forgotten.

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Dreaming of Surf

I want to dream about surfing. I wish I could dream about surfing. But I can’t.

I day dream about surfing.

I mind surf waves at the beach, in videos, and on the cams.

I think about surfing before I go to bed. I think about surfing as I wake up. It’s usually the reason I get out of bed in the morning and the cornerstone around which the rest of my day is planned.

But I never dream about it.

My dad dreams about surfing. He tells me about his dreams when I ask if he’s gone out recently, inferring that surfing in his dreams is just as good or better than the real thing. He’s even mentioned a few times that he dreams of surfing nightly.

Because I can’t relate, I get a small feeling that he is lying to me about it which sets off a chain reaction of thoughts and emotions I have trouble controlling. In an instant the box hiding my insecurities about our relationship is opened and my mind is flooded. Unfulfilled expectations, comparisons with my siblings, and my embarrassing immaturity are just a few of the insecurities I can identify.  For each one I can identify there’s one hundred I can’t. Like the roots of a tree they dig down in ever smaller threads woven into my body. 

I feel a flush of warmth through my body and the mounting pressure in my head I call frustration. In an effort to close the box before my emotions reach the surface, I quickly change the topic. Does he notice when I do this? Is he privy to this survival technique my brother and I have cultivated and relied on for all our lives? 

I’m also jealous. I know how real dreams can be and how sweet the good ones are. I know how a good dream can have me waking up smiling while a nightmare can leave me shaken long into the day.

It would be nice to wake up feeling like I’ve already caught the wave of the day. Instead, I seek out that special feeling only surfing can deliver the hard way. I’m up early, checking the weather, comparing it with the forecast, adjusting calculations of where to go. Turning my wetsuit right side in, I’m second-guessing which board to ride and reminding myself to hydrate before leaving the house.   

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My Set Wave Mantra

I’m having a fun session with a few friends at our local beach break. The waves are the perfect size for a fun, playful session, and the sets are just big enough to make me a little nervous on the takeoffs. Exactly what I love!

A set wave comes right to me. Yea, it’s a nice one, the biggest we’ve seen all morning and peaking up perfectly. It’s the wave of the day.

Everyone sees I’m in perfect position for it and they start whistling. Even a stranger gets a little hyped and gives me a “Yhhheeeewww!”.

My mind starts racing… thinking about how nice of a wave it’s going to be. Thinking all eyes are on me. Thinking that it’s my turn to get some props from the boys! Thinking way too much!

What happens next?

There are 3 ways this can go:

Scenario 1: If I’m thinking to myself, “Everyone is watching, don’t fuck this one up!” I usually fuck it up; miss the wave, biff the takeoff, or make the drop but be too late to get down the line. What a waste of a wave!

Scenario 2: If I think, “Charge into this mother fucker, just focus on getting in. Just get in at all costs!” I usually catch the wave and make the drop, giving myself a good chance at making the next session. Not a hero, but still stoked, and certainly no kook!

Scenario 3: If I can focus, block everything out, and trust my muscle memory to do what I love doing the most… then I surf flawlessly. The props are earned, “damn that was sick!” “That was a noooiiicce one!” “Wave of the day!” And just a smile from the stranger is enough acknowledgment to let me know he’s jealous but still stoked for me.

The Introspection: On a solo surf trip in the middle of nowhere, like I am now, there’s no shortage of time. So after the forecasting is done, the podcasts are played, the book is finished, and my routine daydreams have played out… my mind wonders off to past sessions. I relive some of my favorite moments – surfing with my dad back home or the rare occasion when the core boys all paddle out together. And that sparks this recurring highlight of each session. It’s the wave of the day – where you’re either a hero for ripping it or a zero for biffing it.

So I ponder on this and wonder why it is that I have no problem shredding the wave of the day when I’m surfing alone, but blow it when all my friends are watching.

The Epiphany: In the first scenario, I’ve visualized my own demise. I thought about the things that could go awry. I focused on what could go wrong instead of paying attention to the things I needed to do right. I got in my own head. Instead, I need to find a way to block everything out and focus only on what is absolutely critical at that moment – catching the wave and making the drop. To make this possible in the excitement of the moment, I need a lock-down routine that’s easy to initiate. 

Note To Self: How To Override Your Overthinking

The following is a note I wrote to myself, published here, raw, for your reading pleasure:

**Review this any time you find you’ve lost your focus and are eating it off the takeoff.**

Remember your mantra: “You have to charge into it, you have to charge into it, you have to charge into it…” 

This mind trick comes from transcendental meditation. People have been using it for thousands of years. It works. Don’t second guess it. 

If you start to think you’re too good for it, remember the benefits you’ve already reaped from this simple tactic (and the devastation you’ve experienced as a result of foregoing it):

Benefit 1: It helps you catch the wave. There’s nothing worse than having a great wave come your way and you don’t even catch it. Don’t be that guy!

This is especially true when the waves are overhead or bigger. You know how sketchy late takeoffs are when it’s sizable and let’s be honest with ourselves… You don’t exactly have a flawless track record. Take a second to consider the last time you thought you were in… and next thing you knew you were watching a perfect wave peel down the line from behind.

Benefit 2: Your mantra helps prevent chicken-dick syndrome.

(Note to reader: Definition: Chicken Dick – someone who is such a loser or kook that it’s safe to assume their dick is the same size as a chicken’s. Example: “Deryl pulled out the back when he could have easily gotten shacked on that section. What a chicken dick!”)

Listen dude, when you look over the edge and see that set wave start to throw, you can’t second guess yourself. I don’t even want to mention it here but to make my point clear to you I will. You can’t say to yourself, “Damn I don’t know if I can make that drop!”. Or, if you look down the line and you see that lip starting to curl you might think, “I can’t make that section!”. If that’s what’s in your head, you’re gonna end up pulling back, watching the wave peel away from behind… imagining how nice it would have been to be on it.

So remember this: It feels worse to watch that perfect wave peel away than it does to go for it, not make the drop, and get bounced off the bottom. At least in the latter case you get humbled by the sea, which isn’t pleasant but comes with it’s own benefits.

Also remember this: This is not a kamikaze approach to surfing. We’re talking about nice set waves that you know are makable. Bombing closeouts is a whole other game.

Also remember this: You have to go! This isn’t really a choice. We’re talking about the mutha-fucking wave of the day here! If for nothing else but entertainment for the rest of the crew in the water, you have to go.

Benefit 3: That extra paddle doh. (To be of most benefit in bigger surf and offshore winds.)

When that wave starts to lift you and you think you’re in, so you start to get up, only to find the wave rolling a few extra feet before breaking… Yep… That’s when you’re left looking like an idiot, halfway to your feet, as the wave rolls forward breaking without you. And you already know what happens next… You turnaround to find the next set wave bearing down on you. You’re just a couple paddles too far inside to make a clean duck dive. And you get mopped up!

So even when it feels like you’re starting to go vertical down the face of the wave, keep that mantra flowing and give it one extra paddle to securely launch into it. You gotta charge into it. Not slide in, or cruise in, or anything else. Charge it!

Don’t mess with the mantra

Final note on choice of wording here: You picked a phrase that includes the words ‘charge it’ for good reason. It kicks you into a mindset that this is a ‘big wave scenario’ even when it’s not. This gives you a little shot of adrenaline to give you that extra paddle boost and a little extra focus to get your feet set properly right off the bat. That’s quite a different physiological response than if you were thinking in fear, “Don’t fuck it up, don’t fuck this up, oh god please don’t fuck this up!”.

Remember your mantra: “You have to charge into it, you have to charge into it, you have to charge into it…”

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The Development and Adoption of Eco-Friendly Surf Wax Alternatives

Male surfer in wetsuit waxing surfboard on sand on ocean beach.
Source: Freepik/pch.vector

One thing that many surfers forget when riding the waves is that the chemicals from surf waxes on their boards don’t just stay on their boards; they end up in the water, posing threats to marine life and ecosystems. This is where the push for eco-friendly alternatives comes into play. This article delves into the development and adoption of sustainable surf waxes, exploring how they’re making a big step towards sustainability in the surfing community. 

What Is Traditional Surf Wax Made of?

Surf wax is crucial for enhancing a surfer’s grip on the board. The traditional surf wax is typically made from a blend of petroleum-based paraffin wax, synthetic resins, and various additives. Paraffin wax, derived from crude oil, forms the foundational element of surf wax. Its low melting point and ability to harden at room temperature make it an ideal base for the wax.

Synthetic resins are often added to improve the wax’s durability and stickiness, contributing to the overall adhesive properties. These resins enhance the wax’s ability to adhere to the board, providing surfers with the traction necessary for maneuvering through waves effectively.

Additional components like softening agents, stabilizers, and fragrances may be incorporated to tailor the wax for specific water temperatures. Softening agents adjust the wax’s hardness, ensuring optimal performance in different climates. Stabilizers help maintain the wax’s consistency, preventing it from melting too quickly under the sun or becoming overly rigid in colder waters. 

While traditional surf wax has been instrumental in the surfing world for decades, the downside lies in its environmental impact. The petroleum-based nature of its primary ingredient raises concerns about its contribution to water pollution and harm to marine ecosystems. As a result, the surfing community is increasingly turning its attention to eco-friendly alternatives to mitigate these ecological concerns.

How Does Traditional Surf Wax Affect the Environment? 

Traditional surf wax, composed mainly of petroleum-based paraffin wax and synthetic resins, poses environmental challenges when it enters marine ecosystems. When surfers apply wax to their boards, the chemicals can leach into the water, introducing substances that may harm marine life. Certain components of surf wax, such as hydrocarbons found in paraffin wax, can disrupt the physiological processes of aquatic organisms. These hydrocarbons can be toxic and may affect the health of marine species, including fish, invertebrates, and even larger marine mammals.

Another threat of traditional surf wax is its persistence in the ocean. The wax can endure for extended periods, breaking down into smaller particles that contribute to the growing problem of microplastic pollution. As surfers ride the waves, fragments of wax may break off and become part of the microplastic content in coastal areas and the ocean. The accumulation of surf wax residues in coastal areas and on the ocean floor may also disrupt the intricate web of life. Sediment-dwelling organisms and other marine life may face adverse effects.

Development of Eco-Friendly Surf Wax Alternatives

As environmental awareness continues to rise globally, there’s an increasing interest in using sustainable and eco-friendly products in different industries. This trend is evident in the surfing community, where consumers increasingly lean towards environmentally conscious choices. Surfers who have a solid connection to the ocean are starting to realize the impact their surf gear can have on marine ecosystems. This awareness helps in driving the demand for eco-friendly surf wax alternatives.

The growing interest in sustainable products comes from a better understanding of the environmental impact of conventional materials. Surfers are leading the way in choosing products with a smaller ecological footprint. This shift reflects a broader trend where consumers make choices aligned with environmental values, emphasizing the importance of products protecting the planet.

In response to eco-friendly alternative demands, the development of eco-friendly surf wax has gained momentum. Alternative waxes are often made from sustainable materials such as natural waxes derived from plant sources, beeswax, and other biodegradable components. These materials aim to provide the necessary grip and performance while minimizing the ecological impact of petroleum-based surf waxes.

Switching to eco-friendly surf wax offers benefits in multiple ways. Surfers enjoy a guilt-free ride, knowing their gear aligns with their environmental values. Simultaneously, the reduced ecological impact lessens the potential harm to marine life and ecosystems, contributing to the overall health of the oceans.

Adoption of Eco-Friendly Surf Wax Alternatives

When switching to eco-friendly surf wax, consider the following criteria and tips to ensure its sustainability and maximize its practicality:

Criteria for Evaluating Sustainability

  1. Ingredients: Opt for surf wax made from natural and renewable materials, such as plant-based waxes, beeswax, or other biodegradable components. Avoid products containing petroleum-based paraffin wax and synthetic additives.
  2. Packaging: Look for brands that use minimal or eco-friendly packaging. Packaging materials like recycled paper or cardboard contribute to a more sustainable product lifecycle.
  3. Certifications: Check for certifications from recognized organizations that validate a product’s environmental claims. Certifications like “Certified Organic” or “Green Seal” indicate a commitment to sustainability.
  4. Manufacturing Practices: Learn about the manufacturing practices of the brand. Companies employing eco-conscious practices, such as energy-efficient production or ethical sourcing, contribute to a more sustainable industry.
  5. Local Sourcing: Whenever possible, support brands that source their materials locally. Local sourcing reduces transportation-related carbon footprints and supports regional economies.

Practical Tips for Surfers on Making the Switch

  1. Research and Experiment: Take the time to research and experiment with different eco-friendly surf wax brands. Each product may have unique characteristics, so trying a few options helps you find the one that suits your preferences and surfing conditions.
  2. Temperature Considerations: Eco-friendly surf waxes may respond differently to temperature variations than traditional waxes. Be mindful of the water temperature and choose a wax that performs well in those conditions.
  3. Proper Application: Apply the eco-friendly surf wax according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some sustainable waxes may require slightly different application techniques, ensuring optimal performance and longevity.
  4. Dispose Responsibly: When it’s time to replace your wax, dispose of it responsibly. Many eco-friendly waxes are biodegradable, but discarding them properly is still essential. Avoid leaving wax residues on the beach or in the water.
  5. Share Knowledge: Spread awareness within the surfing community about the benefits of eco-friendly surf wax. Share your positive experiences and insights with fellow surfers, encouraging a collective shift towards sustainable choices.