Free wooden bellyboard hire scheme takes a chunk out of plastic pollution
Messing about in the sea will be a whole lot greener in Wales this summer thanks to a new initiative which will mean stylish wooden belly boards can be borrowed for free on the Welsh coast.
In Wales, three surf outlets, part of a network of a dozen across the UK, will be offering visitors and beachgoers in Abersoch, St David’s and Porthcawl the chance to take advantage of the free loans.
Responding to the sight of piled up plastic body boards left over on a daily basis on his local beach at Newquay in Cornwall, keen surfer Jamie Johnstone decided to take action.
Jamie, who works at Dick Pearce & Friends Bellyboards, came up with the concept of Surf Wood for Good, with the ambition of lending beachgoers British made wooden boards completely free of charge, as an alternative to polystyrene bodyboards.
The Ocean Recovery Project estimates there are more than 16,000 polystyrene bodyboards discarded on UK beaches every year. Each one is manufactured on the other side of the world and shipped thousands of miles, sometimes for as little as a few hours in the waves before they end up in the bin.
Surf Wood for Good points out that every part of the process is terrible for the environment, from the fossil fuels it takes to create each board to the impact of the broken down polystyrene, much of which inevitably ends up in the sea.
The idea has also been welcomed by environmental organisation Surfers Against Sewage, who have provided support and helped get the word out.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Here at SAS, we’re all about getting our communities involved in replacing single-use items for re-usable alternatives.
“Plastic pollution is a huge issue, with eight million pieces of plastic entering the ocean every single day. Not only is Surf Wood For Good kinder to our planet, it provides endless fun in the water, where you can use the board over and over again.”
Jamie and the team take pleasure knowing that each board handed out represented the possibility of a cheap alternative saved from landfill.
“It’s one of the main reasons I first got involved with making bellyboards. Apart from riding them as a little kid and knowing how fun it is, I wanted to offer a sustainable alternative to those disposable boards. I wanted to make a version that lasts forever.”
“We just thought it would be a nice thing to do at first,” says Jamie, “and we were genuinely shocked at the uptake and how many people got behind the idea.”
For those keen to get involved, all you have to do is turn up and the shop owner will give you all the info you need.
Click here to find details of rental locations on the Surf Wood For Good interactive map.
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