Why I surf - Whale tail in Costa Rica

Why I Surf – The Connection


Have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about when you overhear people talking about surfing and why it seems like such an obsession, like a drug that they can’t do without, why all they want to do is be on the water catching waves?

NSP (Nature, Surfing, Products) has put together a series of short “Why I Surf” videos to shed some light on the many joys of why people surf. We found that people have so much more in common than not. The commonality of why, creates a sacred bond and close friendship among surfers, that you’d swear you could hear a faint yeeeew as it reverberates across line-ups when someone catches the wave of their life – from the other side of the globe!

Part 2: The Connection

When I first arrived at Bodhi Surf + Yoga in Bahia-Uvita, Costa Rica, in December of 2018, I was immediately struck by the natural beauty of the place. It was my first trip to Central America, and after arriving in Los Angeles, California, I was taken aback by how lush, green, and undeveloped my new surroundings were in contrast to the bustling metropolis I had left behind. 

I’ll never forget my first visit to Marino Ballena National Park—Central America’s first marine protected area and one of the top humpback whale watching destinations in the world—where Bodhi Surf + Yoga hosts daily surf lessons. There were no boardwalks, piers, roller coasters, hotels, or restaurants in sight; just mountains, palm trees, sand, seashells, and beautiful blue-green waves. I was in heaven.

why I surf - The Bodhi Lodge located in Bahia-Uvita, Costa Rica
The Bodhi Lodge located in Bahia-Uvita, Costa Rica

Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a small ecotourism business located in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica that utilizes surfing, yoga, nature immersion, and community engagement to inspire pro-environmental behavior changes among guests. From composting and recycling to offsetting carbon emissions, Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s business practices revolve around the principle of minimizing the impact on the natural world.
In 2016, they became the first B Corp Certified surf and yoga camp in the world, and have been voted a “Best for the World” benefit corporation every year since. Additionally, Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a member of 1% for the Planet, voluntarily donating one percent of their gross annual sales to support environmental non-profits.
As an environmental consultant, I had been hired by Bodhi Surf + Yoga to perform an audit of its annual gross carbon emissions. I was tasked with calculating CO₂ emissions directly produced by daily business operations, such as driving surf students to and from the beach, as well as emissions indirectly produced by service providers and guests, such as flying to and from Costa Rica.
The goal of the audit was to estimate Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s annual CO₂ output so it could be offset by paying a voluntary carbon tax. The money from this carbon offset donation would support the Los Santos Wind Farm in Cartago, Costa Rica, a Gold Standard-verified project providing electricity to 50,000 people and reducing around 15,000 tons of CO₂ equivalent annually.

Why I Surf - Bodhi Surf + Yoga co-founder Travis Bays leads a surf lesson at Playa Chaman
Bodhi Surf + Yoga co-founder Travis Bays leads a surf lesson at Playa Chaman

The first step of the carbon audit was to inventory the products Bodhi Surf + Yoga was using in its daily operations—including yoga mats, surfboards, kitchenware, cleaning supplies, and vehicles—to get a better idea of the company’s carbon footprint. As an avid surfer myself, I naturally chose to start with Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s surfboard quiver.

Upon entering the surf bodega, I discovered that the vast majority of Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s quiver consisted of P2 Soft Longboards by NSP. After further inspection, I noticed a logo stamped on the bottom of each of these surfboards that read “Ecoboard – level One verified”.

I was stoked to learn that these NSP Ecoboards had a measurably reduced carbon footprint compared to conventional surfboards. In order to earn the “Level One” Ecoboard verification, NSP had constructed these P2 Soft Longboards using renewable, recycled, and/or up-cycled material inputs, as well as materials and processes that reduced toxicity during manufacturing.

why I surf - A Bodhi Surf + Yoga student paddles a P2 Soft Longboard out to the lineup
A Bodhi Surf + Yoga student paddles a P2 Soft Longboard out to the lineup

But what has impressed me most about these NSP Ecoboards is their sheer durability. Fast-forward to 2022, and Bodhi Surf + Yoga is still using the exact same surfboards from the original quiver I had inventoried back in 2018.

Finding products that stand the test of time is one of the best ways to mitigate environmental impact, as durability and sustainability go hand in hand, and it is primarily for this reason that Bodhi Surf + Yoga has decided to restock its surf bodega with NSP surfboards in 2022: they simply last longer than any other surfboards on the market.

In addition to its large stock of P2 Soft Longboards, Bodhi Surf + Yoga is also adding a number of CocoFlax surfboards to their lineup. Recognized as some of the most eco-friendly surfboards on the market, NSP Cocoflax boards are manufactured using significantly less fiberglass than conventional surfboards, thus reducing their carbon footprint.

As a responsible travel business, Bodhi Surf + Yoga is committed to what environmental essayist David Orr calls full-cost accounting: accounting that includes ecological costs routinely written off to the environment.

According to co-founder and lead surf instructor Travis Bays, a father of two ocean-loving daughters, mitigating his business’s environmental impact—whether by paying a voluntary carbon tax or stocking the surf bodega with NSP Ecoboards—is a necessary action for protecting what he loves.

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