The 2017 Pacific Paddle Games (PPG), slated for September 30, has become the first US-based SUP event to be designated as a Deep Blue Event by Sustainable Surf, a non-profit organization that works with the surf community to help protect our oceans.
In order to receive the designation, an event has to address impacts associated with waste, energy, local community, climate change and transport. The Sustainable Surf team, including founders Michael Stewart and Kevin Whilden, have worked hand-in-hand with the PPG event staff to ensure the designation starts pre-event with the development of a comprehensive sustainability strategy.
The teams are focused on communication to both athletes and attendees about how they can help minimize their own personal impact, such as taking public transportation, carpooling and utilizing recycling bins, says Brett Giddings, Sustainable Surf program manager.
"We hope that this event will be a catalyst for a shift to more sustainable practices in the paddling community as a whole,” said Giddings. “In addition to helping The PPG to reduce its environmental impact, being a partner at the event allows us to connect with attendees, athletes and brands to spread the message about how we can work together to protect our ‘ocean playground’ by living a ‘Deep Blue Life.'"
The team has worked closely with Deep Blue sustainability partners Harmless Harvest, Earth Technologies and Raw Elements to bring the on-site event activations to life. This year, attendees can experience the "Deep Blue Zone" featuring eco boards from Starboard, Infinity, NSP, Surftech and Earth Technologies, as well as demonstrations of the latest innovations in sustainable SUP board production and disposal.
In addition, the event will have onsite solar energy generation, and will leverage the Strawless Ocean movement’s #stopsucking campaign to eliminate the use of plastic straws.
Hydration stations will be set up at the event, providing a place to refill reusable water bottles, as part of a partnership between Sustainable Surf and Plastic Tides.
“We couldn't be more excited about partnering with Sustainable Surf to make PPG2017 a designated Deep Blue Event," said Christian Thomas, experiential events director at PPG parent-company The Enthusiast Network. "The minimization of the PPG's impact on the environment is a top priority, and it is crucial to have the support of Sustainable Surf to help guide important operational decisions as they relate to achieving that goal."
We caught up with Giddings to hear more details about PPG’s Deep Blue designation and the organizations goals for the surf community moving into the future.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Why was PPG a good fit for this program, and why are you excited to partner with them?
With PPG being the largest celebration of paddling, this means we have the biggest opportunity to have a positive impact, not just as an event, but on the broader paddling community. In addition to helping The PPG to reduce it’s environmental impact and have a positive impact on communities, being a partner at the event allows us to connect with attendees, athletes, brands and more to spread the message about how we can work together to protect our ‘ocean playground’ by living a ‘Deep Blue Life’.
What will the Deep Blue Zone look like once it comes to life? What can people expect to see?
More and more SUP companies have joined our ECOBOARD Project program and are making more sustainable boards. We will be highlighting ECOBOARDS from Starboard, Infinity, NSP, Surftech and Ryan Harris Shapes.
Earth Technologies will actually be glassing boards from some of those brands in sustainable materials at the event to show people how they are not only better for the environment, but are also better and less toxic for the people making them.
We’ll also be highlighting some amazing new innovations like worms eating broken EPS SUPs and converting that waste into useable compost. None of this would be possible without the support of our presenting partners Harmless Harvest, Earth Technologies and Raw Elements.
How many other surf events are designated Deep Blue? What is your goal for designating events in this space?
Nearly 40 events have been designated as Deep Blue Events right across the globe. Our goal for all of our programs is very similar; to work with partners and influencers to show people all around the world that the ‘surfing life’ can be a sustainable way of life. We provide simple and effective ‘on-ramps’ for people to start to live that life – a Deep Blue Life. People come to Deep Blue Event and not only see the positive impact that taking steps to be more sustainable brings, but also the fun that you can have along the way.
For more information about the Pacific Paddle Games, visit SUPthemag.com
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