Support our Nation today - please donate here

Free wooden bellyboard hire scheme takes a chunk out of plastic pollution

15 Apr 2022 3 minute read
Photo by duabelas is marked with CC BY 2.0.

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.

Plastic pollution

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. 

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dai Rob
Dai Rob
2 years ago

Don’t know about the other places, but at Porthcawl, they are gonna get nicked!!!

2 years ago

This can’t hurt to try and I think I have more faith on the visitors to Porthcawl than Dai Rob. But It’s am more distracted by why the tailored adverts are directing me to a page where I can find out how much it costs to cut down a tree in Croydon. I have a tree sapling and I don’t want to cut it down. We just bought it. It is also not in Croydon. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to Croydon and I’m certainly not getting a tree surgeon from there when I can get one from my… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Llinos
Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
2 years ago

Sounds a great idea. I am horrified to discover that it is possible to buy disposable polystyrene body boards. What happened to the plywood ones that were available in my youth?

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.