When Dr. Bruce Banner turns green, he involuntarily transforms into The Hulk. When Mick Fanning surfs in a new green wetsuit this week during the Billabong Pro Mundaka, he will be doing so to raise awareness for Enviroweek and the Rip Curl Planet initiative.
Fanning signed on as an Enviroweek ambassador this year, hoping to help spread their eco-message and raise funds for this year’s program.
“In Australia Enviroweek runs from October 11 to 17 and is all about improving environmental awareness, encouraging behavior change and raising funds for environmental charities. People can sponsor my Enviroweek mission and make a donation at Enviroweek.org”
“When I joined forces with Enviroweek I spoke with Rip Curl about creating a green suit to wear at the Mundaka event to help get the message out there. They’d been developing on a new eco-friendly suit, so it worked out beautifully.”
Rip Curl, Fanning’s major sponsor, also coordinates a host of eco-friendly initiatives under the slogan – Rip Curl Planet.
The green Rip Curl wetsuit features a new neoprene that uses non-solvent glues in the lamination process, resulting in a major reduction of chemicals polluting the air. Approximately 800 tonnes of solvents currently evaporate into the air because of current neoprene laminating processes, so this development will be a huge improvement for the environment and will also benefit worker health.
“Wherever we can we are looking for ways to reduce any impact on the environment that our products may have,” said Mick Ray, Rip Curl Global Wetsuit Chairman. “The laminating process has always been a particularly toxic one so this initiative of using non solvent based glues is going to be massive in terms of improving working conditions in the factories as well as reducing the amount of nasty pollutants in our air.”
Rip Curl also runs a “Project Resurrection” program that sees Rip Curl recycle used wetsuits and production offcuts for re-use in other products. Rip Curl is currently using recycled wetsuits in the production of travel bags and footwear, but the list will continue to grow in 2010.
When Fanning paddles out for his first heat in the green wetsuit, he will be vying for a hat-trick of ASP World Tour events after winning the Hurley Pro Lower Trestles and Quiksilver Pro France events in September. The Australian currently sits 2nd overall on the ASP Ratings behind fellow Australian and close friend Joel Parkinson, but is quietly confident of claiming his second ASP World Title.
“Everyone thought Joel was going to run away with it and it’s unfortunate for him that he fell out early, but I’ve put in a lot of work to get these last two wins and I’m just psyched on heading into the rest of the season.”
The Billabong Pro Mundaka runs from October 5 to 17, with more details available on aspworldtour.com.