A multi-faceted greening approach to the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Search held in San Francisco in November has delivered a significant “first” and a trio of “best yet” green accolades for the unique ASP World Tour surfing event.
A complete audit of the environmental initiatives implemented by Rip Curl and local non-profit organization Sustainable Surf has confirmed the green actions undertaken around the event have set a new benchmark for both the surf industry and mainstream sporting events.
For the first time ever, an ASP World Tour event had the bulk of its electricity needs met by off-grid generators powered by recycled cooking oil. With the help of Wastebusters, a specialist waste diversion company, the event achieved a staggering 90% waste diversion ratio. Combine this with offsetting the carbon footprint of competitors, officials and attending media means the Rip Curl Pro Search at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach was the most sustainably-powered and most climate-friendly surfing competition ever staged.
“Thinking globally and acting locally drove our overall approach to reducing our environmental impact. The city of San Francisco is a leader in greening initiatives so this provided us with the opportunity to learn and better our Rip Curl Planet event initiatives” said Rip Curl International Events Manager Brooke Farris.
Ms Farris added: “One of Rip Curl’s core principles is a commitment to working with local communities to protect the environment where we operate. With the event staged inside of a National Park, we chose to partner with Sustainable Surf to develop a comprehensive plan for limiting the direct impact from the event itself and to achieve some ambitious goals. We further partnered with local environmental non-profits Save the Waves and the Surfrider Foundation to support their beach conservation efforts at Ocean Beach.”
Commenting on the efforts, Sustainable Surf co-founder Michael Stewart said: “For us, the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Search in San Francisco was a test case for seeing just how sustainably-minded an ASP World Tour contest could be run. We were blown away by the amazing partnerships we were able to put together at the local level, and with Rip Curl’s willingness to push the limits of what was possible, it was a real team effort and success,” Stewart said.
The range of green measures successfully undertaken at the Rip Curl Pro Search included:
• 4,054 litres (1,071 gallons) of total fuel burned by generators, with 71% of that being B-100 biodiesel made from used cooking oil supplied by People’s Fuel Cooperative (a San Francisco-based worker-owned company) sourced from city restaurants under the City’s “Greasecycle” program.
• Following the City’s “Zero Waste” event program saw 2,903 kg (6,400 pounds) of total waste material generated at the event (excluding building materials for the site structures), with 90% of that recycled, composted or reused and only 10% going to landfill. Of the 2,615 kg of waste materials diverted from landfill, 35% was recyclable, 51% was compostable and 4% was re-useable for other purposes.
• An estimated 340 tonnes (375 tons) of carbon dioxide made up the carbon footprint of all event competitors, officials and attending media, with Carbonfund.org selected to source certified carbon offset credits from a US-based wind power project called Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm.
• 743 square metres (8,000 square feet) of contest banners were donated to a local “Progress Project” for “up-cycling” into surfboard covers, tote bags and laptop computer cases, with Rip Curl buying 210 tote bags, 9 board bags and 6 laptop sleeves and the remainder to be sold to the general public.
• In a bid to reduce plastic pollution at the event, all event officials and competitors were provided with stainless steel water bottles and similar bottles were sold at the event, with a public drinking water filling station provided, plus proceeds from the sale of water bottles donated to a fund for installation of a permanent water fountain near the Ocean Beach site.
• In line with the aim of minimizing the event’s carbon footprint, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition operated a free skateboard and bike valet service for rolling fossil fuel-free to the contest on the final two days.
• Reuse and recycling of used and broken surfboards and wetsuits.
• The world’s best surfers wore recycled rash vests made up of 61% recycled polyester, 27%
bamboo and 12% spandex.
On top of those activities, collaborations with local environmental non-profit groups also saw Rip Curl:
• Sponsor the Save The Waves Film Festival, a fundraiser for that group’s organization and their local educational campaigns.
• Donate $5,000 toward the Save Sloat campaign via the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Fittingly, the Rip Curl Pro Opening Party hosted by Surfrider featured Green Day as the headline artist.
• Staff and team surfers attended a beach clean-up organized by the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation chapter.
Speaking further about their overall approach Ms Farris added: “The Rip Curl Pro presented by Ford at Bells Beach has had a range of environmental measures in place for more than a decade now, and our event in Portugal has some terrific planet initiatives. We can always do better and we’re committed to being leaders of the surf industry, so we’re looking forward to introducing more environmental innovations into future ASP World Tour events.”
Sustainable Surf’s other co-founder Kevin Whilden summarized the event: “This year’s Search contest really set a new high-water mark for how all ASP contests should be run moving forward. Like Rip Curl and many surfers, we look forward to the day when the comprehensive sustainability achievements accomplished by Rip Curl in San Francisco will just be business-as-usual for putting on a world class surfing event.”