Conservation / Sustainability

World Surf League announces environmental pledge

written by Oceanographic Staff

The WSL #StopTrashingWaves campaign outlines several new environmental commitments to help protect the oceans.

The organisation has pledged to become carbon neutral globally and to eliminate single-use plastics by the end of this year. Additionally, it intends to ‘leave each place better than it was found.’ These new commitments will apply to all World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour and Big Wave Tour events.

This pledge is a continuation of the conservation efforts already underway, including it’s non-profit WSL PURE. To celebrate, a global ‘paddle out’ will take place on the 15th June, which coincides with the Surfrider Foundation’s International Surfing Day. This year’s theme is ‘Protect & Enjoy.’

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“The WSL is incredibly proud to break new ground in sports in the urgent battle against climate change and ocean pollution,” said WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “We believe it’s our responsibility to be ‘all in’ with our efforts to protect the ocean and beaches amid the devastating climate crisis we all face. We invite everyone who cares about the ocean to join us.”

The way in which the WSL plans to offset its carbon footprint is by supporting certified carbon offset projects, such as REDD+ (reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) and VCS (Verified Carbon Standard). It’s operations will also be regionalised in order to limit non-essential travel, and carbon reducing policies will be implemented across it’s offices.

The WSL carbon offset program is calculated and curated in partnership with STOKE (Sustainable Tourism & Outdoors Kit for Evaluation), a certification organisation with standards built specifically for surf and mountain tourism operators, destinations, and affiliated events.

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“In the sport of surfing and beyond, it’s imperative that we all act immediately,” said Reece Pacheco, WSL SVP Ocean Responsibility and Executive Director, WSL PURE. “Looking ahead, we plan to inspire more and more people to join us in reducing and offsetting their emissions through our upcoming carbon calculator and offset platform.”

Like many other ocean organisations, recent revelations form the key catalysts for the decision. Global heating, rising sea levels and microplastics are now impossible to ignore.

There are numerous surf stars getting on board, including Conner Coffin, Tatiana Weston Webb, Paige Alms, Filipe Toledo, Carissa Moore, Coco Ho and Kai Lenny.

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“I think it’s a great stance and an important message to send to people around the world,” said 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater. “The ocean is vital to everyone, for food, for oxygen and especially to us surfers. I think everyone should make it their priority to care about this issue and make changes in their lives to help.”

The WSL is urging it’s surf-loving community to get involved in the #StopTrashingWaves campaign by sharing their pledge to take action on social media. For inspiration, check out it’s list of actions to choose from.

Photographs courtesy of World Surf League.

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