Publication Details

Gibson, C. & Warren, A. (2017). Surfboard making and environmental sustainability: New materials and regulations, subcultural norms and economic constraints. In G. Borne & J. Ponting (Eds.), Sustainable Surfing (pp. 87-103). Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.


Surfers are well aware of oceanic sustainability issues such as water quality and pollution, impacts of tourism, and local conflicts over coastal development. But there are also sustainability problems associated with the very equipment needed to participate in a surfing life. Surfboards are manufactured items that entail a host of upstream labour and environmental issues. This chapter accordingly discusses environmental sustainability issues in the surfboard-making industry, and dilemmas that arise as a consequence of uneven regulation, and the industry's combination of structural economic features and subcultural origins. We draw on qualitative, longitudinal research where we have visited and interviewed people in 36 surfboard-making workshops in Australia, Ha wai'i and Califomia over half a decade (see Warren and Gibson 2014). In this chapter we document sustainability issues such as dependence on petroleum products and harmful chemicals, differences in environmental regulation and poor waste management practices - issues related to making surfboards with which many surfers may not be so familiar.



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