In late 2016 we headed to Fiji for the International Surfing Association (ISA) 2016 World StandUp Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship, a designated Deep Blue Event™.
With the backing of our ECOBOARD partners Starboard SUP and support from Port Denarau Marina, Tavarua Island Resort and a host of other local players, the ISA was able to successfully hold a Deep Blue, more “ocean-friendly” event. That means, impacts directly related to the contest, including waste, protection of natural resources, and the building of stronger communities were addressed. Steps were also taken to manage broader climate issues, notably minimizing and offsetting the entire carbon footprint of the event.
“We pride ourselves on taking the environmental impact of the event into account and acting to reduce our footprint in Fiji. I would like to give a big thanks to Sustainable Surf and Starboard for partnering with us to create a positive environmental legacy that we hope other surfing events will follow”, said ISA President, Fernando Aguerre.
And we are confident that other events will follow. With surfing becoming an Olympic sport and more brands, communities and financial backers seeing sustainability as a core requirement for any event, the desire to be more ocean friendly is growing. The ISA World Championship was our 22nd Deep Blue Event since 2011 and we’re expecting to work with even more surf, SUP, wind, arts, music and cultural events to adopt sustainability practices in 2017.
“We’re stoked to report that the ISA World Championship met and went beyond the goals of all of our Deep Blue Event sustainability categories. Showing that strong partnerships and a commitment to sustainability can deliver great rewards to the environment, the local communities where events are held, and importantly, to the organizations and athletes involved. We look forward to working with the ISA and their partners to make even more events Deep Blue”, said Sustainable Surf Co-Founder, Michael Stewart.
Full details of the event’s sustainability efforts are included in our report. Here’s a shortlist of some of the great initiatives we witnessed:
- Starboard SUP offset the event’s emissions by planting over 4,000 mangroves in Myanmar’sThor Heyerdahl Climate Park.
- 47% of waste was diverted from landfill. Not an easy task when holding an offshore event.
- Port Denarau Marina and the event’s HQ at the Rhum-Ba use a 232kW solar array as their primary power source.
- Tavarua Island Resort supports local villages by providing medical and educational resources, water, sanitation and housing, and support for sporting teams and local businesses.
- The ISA awarded scholarships to two young Fijian surfers, John Vasea and Kiesha Wakeham in 2016.
- The ISA provided a ‘mothership’ vessel to minimize the number of boats used to transport athletes to the event site.
The icing on the cake was also seeing so many athletes riding Verified ECOBOARDS at the event. Like Zane Schweitzer, Starboard Team Rider and Sustainable Surf Ambassador, who rode his ECOBOARD to a Gold Medal finish for Team Hawaii in the Surf SUP division at pumping Cloudbreak.