Environmental Commitment

Surfing Sustainably

We recognise that surfing is not the most environmentally friendly sport – with a heavy reliance on the petro-chemical industry! However, we do deeply care about protecting  our coastline, surfing sustainably and reducing our overall impact on the environment

Click the toggle buttons below to learn more about our approach to sustainability.

BEACH & COASTAL CLEANS

Since our formation in 2004 we have been organising beach cleans. Furthermore, we have partnered with Surfers Against Sewage and other community groups both in East Lothian and the Islands. In 2022 we also started to offer litter pickers for free use from the surf centre. In 2024 the Belhaven Surf Centre collective tenants, clubs and organisations will organise bi-monthly cleans in the Belhaven and Dunbar area (see Events for dates). The aim to leave locations we surf cleaner than we find them.

NO PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL TRACE

We have also been conscious of our impact on tours around Scotland. We practice a no trace physical policy and run beach cleans on as many tours as possible. Customers are asked not to promote locations on photos or social media. Any photos the surf school take are cropped so locations cannot be identified. Nor do we ever announce our Scottish locations. This no trace digital policy has meant after 15 years of tours, the locations we use are as empty as we found them.

POWER 

We are actively trying to reduce our power needs and go greener. The first stage of this was to move to the purpose built Belhaven surf centre. Our centre uses an air source heat pump, with underfloor heating being installed in 2019. The second stage was to install solar. This was completed in 2023, thanks to grants from the Scottish Government and Be Green. This move has resulted in almost all of the summer power needs for the community centre coming from Solar and a reduction in power bills by over 1/3rd at a time when rates almost doubled

TRANSPORT 

We are actively trying to reduce transport needs. This has massively reduced since moving into the surf centre in 2019. We hope to go further with a move to more greener solutions. We have moved our tour vehicle to a much more modern diesel lwb 9 seater which is far more efficient and we plan to upgrade our local van to electric by 2026 when people carrier prices hopefully drop. Subsequently, we are actively sourcing charging solutions for the surf school and customers at the beach car park. We also aim to actively promote greener transport to customers and have discounted codes for public transport, car sharing or walking/cycling in place in 2024.

REDUCING PACKAGING 

Working with our suppliers to reduce excess packaging within the surf industry. We are seeing suppliers move too – such as red paddle in 2022. They now use compostable bags and cardboard for all Paddleboard deliveries. We recycle all packaging we can at this end too. 

PAPERLESS OFFICE AND VOUCHERS 

We have actively taken our office, booking, vouchers and payment systems online since 2019. Whenever possible we try to run to a paperless environment or use recycled paper. Our marketing is also mainly online now.

RECYCLING EQUIPMENT 

We buy quality durable equipment and try to recycle all the equipment (boards and wetsuits) we buy, back into the local surf community. This gives it a much longer shelf life. Ensuring customers have quality equipment to use in the surf school sessions. Furthermore, customers are buying quality second hand products that will last longer extending life to landfill.

We hope to trial new natural rubber stock wetsuits with c-skins in 2024. It looks likely that these will be a fully recyclable suit. Reducing the number of future wetsuits hit landfill.

GREEN RETAIL

We aim to promote green retail retailing. With more environmentally friendly products where we can. In 2024, we will repeat our process with everything we supply and actively see if there are environmentally friendlier alternatives. We are also aware that supplying high quality durable products with longer life spans, is sometimes better than short span more environmentally friendly products due to the energy in production and the need to replace quicker so its a careful balance. This year we are looking at both natural rubber wetsuits and also recycled and wooden bodyboards.

TREE PLANTING 

From 2020 onwards we planted a tree for every customer on our junior holiday courses and tours. With new trees planted through an organisation called  trees for life re-wilding the Scottish highlands. We have added well over a 1000 trees now to the same project. In 2023 we supported a local tree planting project at Winterfield with 350 tree saplings that have or will be planted in the local park as trees and hedges. We will also support a further batch with trees for life. We hope to keep going more local as this allows our customers, particularly the young, to have a direct relationship with their trees and planting – giving a long term connection with nature

We are also keen in 2024 to make our policy in this area to support a wider range of biodiversity projects such  as the local seagrass re-wilding projects and are keen to support organisations pushing for protected ocean spaces and creating and extending protection of nearshore wildlife zones around Scotland’s coasts.

ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN 2022+

We worked with ex instructor Adam in 2021/22 (who has an environmental degree) to put together a carbon plan for our surf school. We have been collecting data on both our organisational patterns and our customer travel patterns to try and work out accurately our carbon footprint.

Our understanding to date is that we have three main areas of carbon creation. The equipment we buy, the power we use at the surf centre and the transport that both the surf school, our staff and our customers use to do our activities. 

As you can see from the above – we aim to tackle this head on.

WILDLIFE EDUCATION 

In 2021 our instructors took part in wildlife training courses and the surf school became a Wise Adventure member. We pledged to follow best practice with wildlife and environment. We educate in lessons and tours and we are now partnering and promoting sister company Wilder Outdoor education so our customers can benefit from enhanced local marine and environmental knowledge. You can find out more about Wilder Education, a new CIC in 2022, that offers outdoor learning with both Forest and Beach School courses.

LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL SIGNAGE 

We worked with the council to improve safety and environmental communication to the public in 2020/21. The current signs are very simple “Leave nothing but your footprint” in the beach car park.

Do you have a question?

If you would like to know more about our sustainability efforts, please get in touch.

Surfing Sustainably

Find your surf level

Surf coaching can help you improve quickly but it’s important to start at the right level.

We have 4 stages of development: beginner, improver, intermediate and advanced.

The way we teach, where and what we offer varies depending on your level.

Beginner

Ideal for?

  • Those new to the sport of surfing
  • Those who have surfed before but struggle to catch or stand in white water waves

Aims: To have fun surfing safely while developing your technique and knowledge – becoming a white water warrior!

Availability: Daily lessons subject to waves.

Beginner +

Ideal for?

  • Those with experience of surfing white water.
  • Those who can stand up on a surf board

Aims: To have fun surfing safely while developing control, learning speed and turning techniques.

Availability: Daily lessons subject to waves.

Improver

Ideal for? 

  • Those who can catch waves and stand with good posture consistently and in control in white water
  • Those who are surfing unbroken waves but are struggling to catch unbroken waves, trim along or control speed.

Aims: To catch more unbroken waves and surf with control while developing your technique and knowledge. Become a green wave glider!

Availability: Weekly lessons subject to waves.

Intermediate

Ideal for?

  • Those that can surf with control along both big and small unbroken waves.
  • For those that wish to improve their technique on unbroken waves.

Aims: To improve how you surf an unbroken wave going higher, lower, further and deeper. Develop better body dynamics on the board.

Availability: Bespoke surf & surf skate lessons with a senior instructor. Development courses and tours.