Surfing and paddle boarding is more eco-friendly than it used to be. Big brands are introducing manufacturing methods that create fewer CO2 emissions while recycling programs help to limit the number of boards that are sent to landfills every year.
But the onus is still on the consumer to make the right choices when it comes to buying, riding, and recycling.
The Best Eco-Friendly Boards
If you’re conscious about the impact that your hobby has on the environment, check out the following eco-friendly manufacturers.
BIC Sport is a manufacturer of SUP boards that have been in business for several decades. It uses a unique manufacturing process that focuses on low energy consumption, with a mold cooling process that doesn’t emit toxic gasses or use solvents.
Earth SUP boards are the brand’s eco-friendly SUP boards and are made from materials such as flax fiber, cork, and Paulownia wood, all of which is either recycled or renewable.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly paddle board, you can’t go much wrong with this brand.
Infinity Surfboards and SUP Boards
Infinity is working hard to make its boards and processes eco-friendly. Some of its boards are made from recycled materials and it’s working on making all of its manufacturing sustainable.
It’s not quite there yet, but it’s well on the way and has a good selection of boards to choose from. The only downside is that the best Infinity stand up paddle boards cost between $1,500 and $2,000, which might be out of reach for beginner paddle boarders.
Starboard is one of the brands building toward a sustainable future. It creates composite boards and paddles made from plant-based resins and other earth-friendly raw materials.
The brand’s goal is to reduce waste and give a little back—every time a board is shipped, they plant a mangrove in Myanmar.
Solace focuses on using fewer synthetic materials and more sustainably harvested wood, including cork and bamboo.
Solace also collaborated with Wave Tribe Surf to create what became the first hemp board bag, and the same innovation is being used to create stand up paddle boards.
Is Paddle Boarding Bad for the Environment?
Paddle boarding is not great for the environment, and it does cause some damage. After all, those boards need to be manufactured, used, and then trashed. However, the environmental damage is minor when compared to other pastimes.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make the effort and eco-friendly boards are a huge step in the right direction.
Are Bamboo Paddle Boards Good?
Bamboo is not just sustainable, it’s also very durable and useful. It serves as a great middle-ground between carbon fiber and fiberglass—it’s lightweight but strong.
The result is a quality board that will do everything you need it to do, and if it has been manufactured properly and supported by other premium materials, it means you won’t be sacrificing quality just to be more environmentally conscious.
Why are Eco-Friendly Boards so Expensive?
Paddle boards, like everything else, are at their cheapest when made from cheap plastics. Most boards use Polystyrene which is durable and economical, but not very eco-friendly.
When you take these commonly used materials out of the equation, you need to find alternative ways to make the board buoyant, aerodynamic, and durable, and that’s easier said than done. The materials are not available as cheaply or in such large quantities, and they often require unique manufacturing processes.
Generally speaking, eco-friendly paddle boards are more expensive because the basic materials and manufacturing processes are more expensive, although supply and demand also plays a role.
Eco-friendly boards are often made in small numbers by small brands, and they don’t have the demand or the resources to produce huge quantities at a knock-down price.