It was just another classic summer day when my friend Aaron and I traveled up to North County for a surf session.  Everywhere we checked the waves were small and choppy and it seemed like just another day at the beach.
After deciding that Pipes looked alright, we headed down to draw some lines at the break Rob Machado grew up surfing.  The pin-action seemed mild; after all you can only have so much fun in small waves, right?
Let’s just say it’s hard not to stay positive in Cardiff.  Our good vibes extended all the way into the water where we shared the peak with a handful of guys, including the legendary Skip Frye.  After our unforgettable session taking turns with the Skip, we headed up the trail to visit Patagonia’s flagship surf store in San Diego County.
Before getting there I had to get a feel for what the surf community knew about Patagonia; after all I had only thought of them as an outdoor apparel and rock-climbing outfit.  I decided to ask Aaron what he knew about them on the way to our shop check.
“Never heard of it,” he quipped.
Well here’s a quick reality check:  Patagonia is a global company that combines the elements of surfing, climbing, paddling and fishing.  Their focus is to create the highest quality goods while making a concerted effort to conserve the planets’ resources. In their own words, what they represent to the 20 million wave-riders of the world is a “choice.”  
Their motto “You have a choice” represents the fact that each individual has many choices in life, including the level to which they sponsor the earth.  
According to Patagonia, one choice they make everyday is to contribute at least one percent of their revenues in the form of “grants and in-kind donations … to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.”  
That means if you spend $500 on their gear, they earmark a five-spot for the planet.  Most importantly, this money is taken out of the sales receipts; thus Patagonia is considering the planet well before taking profits.  This corporate shift toward thinking green is due to the growing trend toward environmental awareness.
Patagonia is well positioned in this regard as their history is rooted deeply in both environmental activism and earth-preservation.  For the last 10 years, their cotton sportswear has been produced entirely from 100 percent organic cotton, a far cry from other clothing retailers.  They have incorporated hemp and recycled polyester into their lines; one example is a pair of boardshorts made from recycled plastic bottles. They even began researching the use of EPS foam and epoxy resin for surfboard manufacturing over 10 years ago, well before Clark Foam announced it’s immediate factory shutdown of polyurethane foam-based cores.
What does all of this mean?  Patagonia efficiently utilizes the capitalist system to help the environment while producing top-quality goods.  They divert waste from the landfills by recycling everything they can.  They educate the public on the importance of preserving our land and water.  Not only do they talk about clean, they live, eat and breathe it.
According to Patagonia Cardiff’s store manager Devon Howard, “We are able to funnel money toward grassroots projects that need the money to help the environment.  Two local groups we support are the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy and WiLDCOAST.”
The trickle-down effect has taken root in the industry as Sector 9, a popular San Diego-based skateboard company, has now switched it’s t-shirt production to 100 percent organic cotton.  As more surf companies choose to help the planet the world becomes a better place.
Go to Cardiff today to learn more about what Patagonia has to offer.  You can buy some great products and make a difference at the same time.  Stop by their new surf store located on the corner of San Elijo and Chesterfield to see what can be deemed “the cleanest line in action sports.”  

This entry was posted in Ecologic, Surf News at Cardiff Reef. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a comment