World Surf League pledges carbon neutrality by 2020

June 5, 2019 | Surfing
Surfing: World Surf League pledges carbon neutrality by 2020 | Photo: Kirstin/WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) aims to operate on a carbon-neutral basis by the end of 2019.

The professional surfing circuit announced a series of measures to attain carbon neutrality and a no-single-plastic operation in six months.

WSL hopes that its actions in "inspire, educate and empower ocean lovers while addressing critical environmental issues."

"We chase waves all over the world, but every plane ride has a hidden cost. Flying sends co2 into the air, warming our ocean and making it more acidic. This harms marine life, especially fragile coral reefs," underlines WSL.

"We will never stop exploring, but there are steps we can all take. By reinvesting our tours' carbon footprint, we will support habitats that safeguard our seas, like investing in projects that slow climate change."

Beach cleanups: the World Surf League wants to leave every beach better than they found | Photo: Sloane/WSL

Carbon Footprint Offset

Additionally, all Championship Tour (CT) and Big Wave Tour (BWT) events will leave each spot better than it was found before each competition.

"We're offsetting our carbon footprints from our events and committing to leaving every beach better than we found it," promises Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO of WSL, and her team.

"Using plastic at our events has always been the norm. Recycling helps, but most plastic still ends up in the ocean and, worse, inside marine life. Plastic never goes away."

"At the rate we're going, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. It's a deep problem, but there are steps we can all take. By cutting out single-serve plastics from our events, we can start turning back the plastic tide," adds the WSL.

Reefs: World Surf League is committed to stop sunscreen bleaching corals | Photo: WSL

Dunes and Reefs

Finally, pro surfers promise to change their organizational behavior when it comes to protecting the coastlines and the reef the breaks they visit.

"We host events all over the world, and we've seen first hand the impact of our footsteps have from trudging over dunes to sunscreen bleaching reefs. Wherever we travel, humans can't help leaving their mark."

"But there are steps we can all take to make sure no one is picking up after us. By committing to leaving each beach better than we've found it, we will safeguard our coasts and partner with local communities to protect every wave we face," concludes the WSL.

The pro surfing organization led by Goldschmidt has not included the Surf Ranch in the list of measures set to protect the environment amid a climate crisis.

According to a recent analysis by Ricardo Simmonds, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science at University of Colorado Boulder, the wave pool facility owned by WSL "is also adding surfing to the list of greenwashed professional sports."