Eco Challenge highlights sustainability in surfing

Greg Howell is known to both the surfing and the environment communities on the Gold Coast. Previous President of the local Surfrider Foundation branch and a passionate advocate of sustainability in surfing, he’s also the coordinator of Eco Challenge – a special event which both explores the roots of surfing as well as sustainability in surfing events.

Last year’s event saw a freak swell which meant some of the water-based events needed to be cancelled. “That was a freak occurrence last year,” Greg said. “It was at least a six foot swell and there was no beach on the high tide.”

Not surprisingly, Greg is hoping for kinder conditions for this years event which will feature a Roots of Surfing team challenge with wooden boards provided.

As well as all the wooden surfboard events and displays, Eco Challenge 2015 will offer a full day of lifestyle and sustainability-themed activities: there’s yoga for surfers on the beach, market and food stalls showcasing sustainable products and services, environmental groups will be on hand to talk about their work and how you can get involved and there will also be a Plastique Fashion Show. The fashion show and associated Instagram competition will ask people to take photos of their plastic-bag fashion creations and tag @surfridergc in their post.

The ancient wooden craft on display have roots which date back to thousands of years. And the event offers a unique opportunity to check them out as well as ride them if you’re competing in the events.

Greg says the event is one for enthusiasts, sustainable surfing advocates and complete novices. “Anyone who’d like to watch professionals, or even try out one of the original surf craft should bring their family down to the beach for a fun day,” he said.

The event runs on Sunday 15 March from 7.00am at Tugun Surf Club and is part of the Bleach* program for 2015.

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Solar Legacy

The 2015 Eco Challenge event will be held at Tugun SLSC for the firs time, and in keeping with the event’s sustainable theme, organisers have partnered with MacEco Solutions and Green Initiatives to provide a permanent solar system for the Surf Club, guaranteed for 25 years of operation. The investment will significantly reduce the club’s power bills – benefiting the club, its members and the local community as well as reducing emissions from fossil fuels.

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