How to Recycle: Surfboards & Wetsuits
I remember going out for a surf at Cowells in Santa Cruz one Fall afternoon to find that my surfboard had a HUGE hole in it (three to be exact). My fin was gone, and the box that held it, also gone. DANG. I knew this meant I couldn't surf that day and also, it was an expensive problem. I packed up my car and sadly drove to the guys at Aqua Surf in San Francisco. These angels were confident they could repair it, which miraculously they did, and for $120 I was out the door (still cheaper than a new board). But what if the repair was beyond fixing - what do you do with an old surfboard (or wetsuit, or its packaging)?
Suga for Used Wetsuits Over 12,000 wetsuits have been collected through the Suga program, which has around 20 drop-off locations throughout the California coast (Rip Curl stores, surf shops, yoga studios, etc.). If you're not near a drop off point, you can mail your broken wetsuit to Suga for 10% off a purchase, like their SugaMat - a yoga mat made from the recycled wetsuits, YAS! The company will also work with you to set up a personal drop-off bin for a one off event if you want to organize it.
Kassia + Surf for Used Wetsuits Kassia Meador is one badass lady that went pro at 14 years-old and spent a huge part of her life traveling to developing countries, surfing, and seeing first hand the need to get trash out of the ocean. Her company works with Suga and accepts used wetsuits and turns them into yoga mats. In return, Kassia + Surf also give you a discount on your next purchase.
Rerip for Used Surfboards in Any Condition First off - this company was started by two lady surfers (I love that!). Rerip accepts surfboards at 5 locations throughout California (San Francisco, Ventura, Westminster, Cardiff, and San Diego). They collect any board in any condition - this is huge! With the boards that need a small repair, they work to get them watertight and either sell them at a discounted rate or donate to local nonprofits. Other boards get donated to artist collectives as material for a project. Rerip has experimented with putting broken boards into concrete for non structural uses, like patios and parking stoppers. They have also used foam dust as filler in concrete for kitchen counter tops and bars. Next time your board breaks or you can't find someone to buy it on Craigslist or at your local swap, drop it off with Rerip! There is no cost to donate and no appointment necessary.
Waste to Waves for Foam Packaging This zero waste program by Marko Foam is all about collecting the foam from packaging (like what your surfboard or gear comes wrapped in when shipped). There are drop-off locations for the foam all over the West Coast.