It’s ironic that surfing requires being in synch with nature and its rhythms but surfing equipment is so environmentally toxic. Almost all the gear, from the trunks to the wetsuits to the boards themselves, are made from non-recyclable petroleum-based resins, foam, plastics, and neoprene. Is it possible to enjoy surfing in a more environmentally responsible way?
In the last Greener Challenge, a sailing trip to the Coronado Islands, some of the readers commented that while my sailboat was made of toxic materials it was justifiable, because it was 24 years old and still going strong. In other words, choosing and maintaining durable products, even if they're toxic, is a (relatively) less wasteful way to use those materials. With that in mind I was glad I had a two-year old Hotline wetsuit. The suit is well made, warm, and the company doesn’t use slick high-budget advertising to try to promote a wasteful sense of obsolescence based on changing styles.
With my wetsuit squared away, I turned my attention to boards. I wanted options beyond the ubiquitous chunks of plastic usually seen in the lineup. That’s where Callen Busch and Hayden Lane come in. Callen and Hayden are two surf-stoked San Diego locals and life-long friends. Their company, Salty Shapes, is known for producing amazing hand-made wooden alaias and handplanes (alaias are a type of traditional finless surfboard and handplanes are tiny surfboards you strap to your hands to help with bodysurfing.)