This report provides transparent and detailed information regarding each of the Deep Blue Event sustainability categories addressed as part of the 2018 Volcom Pipe Pro.

A Deep Blue Event is a more “Ocean Friendly” event that sets a clear path for reducing environmental and community impacts of a professional surfing contest. This sustainability report is a transparent description of the sustainability performance of the event, and includes measured data, photos and videos, and suggestions for improvement. It is based on the international standard for sustainable event reporting – the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Deep Blue Events address impacts directly related to the local contest area, including waste reduction, protection of natural resources, and the building of stronger communities. They also reduce direct threats to the global sport of surfing itself, such as: sea level riseocean acidification, and the loss of the world’s living coral reefs, which leading scientific institutions warn are already harming our oceans, waves and beaches.

Please also see the Summary Report page for this event.


The 2018 Volcom Pipe Pro has exceeded the minimum Deep Blue Event goal for Waste Diversion with a total diversion ratio of 68%

Goal: Implement a comprehensive management and diversion strategy to limit event waste. Minimum goal is 25% of total event waste is diverted from landfill.

The 2018 Volcom Pipe Pro has once again shown a strong commitment to waste management, maintaining a high ratio of waste diversion as per previous years. 2018 saw an increase in the total waste diversion throughout the event (up from 66% in 2017). The event should also be commended for reducing the total amount of waste produced, while the number of athletes competing increased. Down from 3,559 lbs in 2017, to 2,485 lbs in 2018.

 Surf-comedian Tyler Allen aka Donald Trump giving a lesson on recycling and composting

As with previous years, waste diversion services were provided by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH). All collected compostable items including food was taken across the street to Waihuena Farm, which uses a bokashi compost system to turn food waste into more food for the local community and businesses, and eventually food for next year’s event. Recyclables were taken to the Reynolds HI-5 recycling center, and cardboard was used as weed barrier at the farm, and thus biodegraded, rather than sent for processing/recycling.

All acceptable food waste, utensils, napkins and cardboard were taken daily by SCH crew to local Waihuena Farm, across from Pipeline where they were chipped and added to compost piles that were treated with bokashi to increase decomposition rates. The compostable materials that require chipping will be used to create soil and eventually utilized for landscaping purposes. While the food scraps and compostable materials that required no chipping will be used to create soil for food production at the farm.

Cardboard from the Volcom Pipe Pro was also taken to Waihuena Farms where it will be used as weed barriers throughout their gardens. When the cardboard is used in such a way it eventually breaks down into the soil and can be more sustainable than being bundled up and shipped overseas for recycling.

Closing the loop on the compostable materials sent to the farm, event caterer, Ke Nui Kitchen sourced organic, local produce for several meals served throughout the event.

The total waste diversion numbers:

  • Recycled materials = 453 lbs – 18%
  • Composted materials (including cardboard) = 1,229 lbs – 50%
  • Landfill materials = 803 lbs – 32%
  • Total weight of diverted materials = 1,682 lbs – 68%
  • Total weight of all materials = 2,485 lbs – 100%
  • Waste diversion ratio = 68%

On every run day, SCH conducted a beach clean-up after lunch to educate the public on the goal of diverting waste and raising awareness. This helped the spectators understand the conscious effort being made to reduce waste, leading to better compliance at the diversion stations in place. An SCH Education Station was also included in the Ehukai beach park.

Following some challenges associated with catering waste identified by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Sustainable Surf worked with Volcom, SCH and food and catering partners to develop “Waste Management Vendor Guidelines” for the event. These were well received and helped ensure key parties were aware of Volcom’s expectations for waste management prior to the event.

A portion of the vinyl banners used at the event were repurposed for the homeless and the remainder were shipped back to Volcom HQ to be reused at future events or repurposed/upcycled into new accessory items.

Single use plastic water bottles were banned onsite at the event HQ and reusable Hydroflask water/coffee bottles were included in ‘goodie bags’ handed out during the event. Water refill stations, provided by the Menehune Water Company, supplied drinking water at the event.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

The event achieved excellent performance for overall waste diversion by actively minimizing potential waste products, educating athletes, staff, vendors and attendees, and engaging Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii to collect, sort and process waste streams.

Recycling in Hawaii, or any remote location, is a challenge, and with several changes to the global recycling market in late 2017, Volcom is encouraged to continually review options to increase waste diversion in future years.

Working with Banzai Bowls to increase recovery

As noted by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, perhaps the biggest opportunity for improvement could be to work actively with Banzai Bowls to source bowls and spoons that are compostable in the systems available on the North Shore.

There is also an opportunity to reduce the size of the bowls handed out. Many of those that end up in the waste stream have acai left in them, adding to the waste stream.

Large tubs used to prepare acai offsite and brought to the event, were also sent directly to landfill. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii recommends sourcing reusable options and/or donating the tubs to a local group that could repurpose them.


The 2018 VPP has exceeded the minimum goal for sourcing Renewable Energy by sourcing bio-diesel for renewable energy used to power the event and webcast, and powering two of the event HQ houses with solar energy.

 Goal: Source significant portion of power from clean, renewable energy sources. Minimum goal is 25% renewable energy utilization for event’s power needs.

 The VPP sourced B100 biodiesel fuel from Pacific Biodiesel. The VPP is the first and only professional surfing event in the world to use a 100% bio-derived fuel. This is the sixth year of using biodiesel to power the Viking Generators for the event and the second year the 100% bio-derived fuel has been utilized.  The conversion of used oil from local restaurants and businesses to biodiesel is a great way to link the community with the event.

The event used 410 gallons of B100 produced in Hawaii. This creates local jobs, and reduces impact on the environment and ocean. Pacific Biodiesel is one of the world’s leading biofuel companies and a key part of Hawaii’s sustainable future.

Additionally, Volcom has solar photovoltaic energy systems on both of the Volcom houses in front of Pipeline. These houses form a key component of the infrastructure of the contest, with solar electric energy helping reduce the fossil fuel energy needed for the houses.

All panels installed totalled 23.47 kW of capacity, and according to the solar monitoring system in place, the houses generated a combined average of 39 kWh of electricity per day during the event. The average usage of each house during the contest is 78 kWh per day. This also reduces dependence on fossil fuels for energy needs and creates local jobs.

 In addition to supporting the local economy and community, the use of biodiesel and solar energy sets an example to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Shifting to more sustainable fuel sources will reduce environmental impacts and protect the ocean, and reduce the carbon footprint of the event.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

Volcom should be congratulated on continuing to source 100% bio-based fuel for the event generators and the ongoing use of solar PV systems on both houses.

Inspiring biodiesel usage beyond the event

The VPP does an amazing job of communicating the installation and use of solar PV systems at both of the Pipe houses via Drew Toons clips shown during the event. We suggest that Volcom replicate this communication to show the use of biodiesel at the event. The biodiesel produced by Pacific Biodiesel is a closed loop fuel, made from the waste oil of local restaurants on Hawaii. This is an outstanding story of local sustainability in action.


The The 2018 Volcom Pipe Pro has exceeded the minimum goal for Community Support by providing significant financial support and visibility for several community group partners

Goal: Support and showcase the efforts of local environmental and social organizations, and include them as stakeholders for possible event legacy efforts. Minimum goal is to support at least one NGO working on a local issue relevant to the event.

Building on many years of donating a significant amount to the North Shore Community (validated in 2017 by a letter of recognition from the Hawaii Senate), the Volcom Pipe Pro supported The Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, the Live Like Sion Memorial Fund and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii with more than $60,000 in donations in 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-05-11 at 3.00.31 pm

Volcom partnered with Pangea Seed to leave a lasting Deep Blue message on the walls that lead to Pipe

Volcom continued to support the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii with a presentation of a check from their Give Back Series. All year long, special Hawaii Only products that are sold to Hawaii retailers, have a “give back” percentage linked to them. This year, Volcom donated $47,000 to benefit their clubhouses throughout Hawaii.
Volcom raised funds through the sale of Volcom Pipe Pro merchandise and once again was able to support the Live Like Sion organization with a check for $11,500, honoring Sion Milosky’s legacy.

Volcom also held a fundraiser for Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii at SURFER the Bar, raising $2,100 in one night, while raising awareness for the non-profit.

The event, thanks to the WSL, helped raise funds for the youth Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization (HYSDO) – A 501c3 non-profit working to deliver greater opportunities for Hawaii youth, in and out of the water. HYSDO strives to harness the power of surfing to build careers, strengthen communities, and develop the athletes of tomorrow.

In an effort to leave a lasting legacy that communicates the strong commitment to sustainability, Volcom worked with their Hawaii-based partner, and art-centric conservation group PangeaSeed for a live mural on the fences leading up to Pipeline. The goal was to raise awareness around the strength and fragility of our ocean and its inhabitants, and to highlight local artists. The artwork also featured key Deep Blue Event-related activations at the Volcom Pipe Pro. Throughout the year, Volcom offered collaborative products to raise awareness and funds for PangeSeed’s mission, and their Sea Walls campaign.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

The 2018 VPP continued to provide an incredible level of community support.

Sustainable Surf suggests exploring additional opportunities during in the event to link athletes with ways to give back to the local community.


The 2018 VPP has exceeded the minimum goal for Climate Impact through offsetting 100% of the measured CO2 footprint of the event

Goal: Calculate the total CO2 footprint of event, and mitigate it by purchasing verified carbon offset credits or otherwise through direct actions taken at event. Minimum Goal: 50% of CO2 footprint of event offset or mitigated.

Sustainable Surf collected a range of data points and used its proprietary carbon calculator to develop an estimate of the carbon footprint for the Volcom Pipe Pro. The total overall estimated footprint for the event is 445 tons CO2e.

Mitigating the event’s CO2 footprint helps reduce direct threats to surfing from climate change/global warming such as: sea level rise, ocean acidification, reduced wave heights and loss of coral reefs globally.

The 2018 Volcom Pipe Pro has committed to offsetting 100% of carbon emissions related to the event with verified carbon credits from the SeaTrees Project by Sustainable Surf. SeaTrees sources carbon offsets from the best Blue Carbon projects around the world, and makes them available to the surf community to become “Climate Positive”.

Blue Carbon projects selected for the SeaTrees platform are chosen based on appropriate industry best practices for impact validation/certification, and for their ability to scale up their impact to meet the challenge ahead.Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 4.30.10 pmThe first project that Sustainable Surf has identified as meeting those requirements for SeaTrees is the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park  (THCP) . It’s located in the South East Asian nation of Myanmar, which has almost 4000 miles of coastline in the Indian Ocean studded with inlets, coral reefs, rocky cliffs, and hundreds of tropical islands (and yes, there is even surf there too!).

THCP is currently undergoing a third party audit to become certified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and once complete in late 2018, will become the largest mangrove reforestation project to receive VCS certification and produce Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) for the international carbon markets. It will restore more than 2,000 hectares of degraded mangrove forest, and has already planted 3.5 million mangroves trees to date. The Park also provides 300 jobs to local villages, and supports 2000 local families with living and educational resources.

The THCP is also the most high-tech enabled Blue Carbon carbon project in the world; pioneering mangrove planting by aerial DRONES at a massive scale, real-time mapping and forest sensors, and digital blockchain financing (in the form of TREE coins by project stakeholder Lykke) to help unlock financial support for forest conservation at the level of the individual.

And last but not least – as of February 2018, the UN Environmental Programme has recognized THCP as a potential world-changing, scalable model for rapid mangrove restoration around the globe. Furthermore, the  UNEP and IUCN  have both confirmed their intent to form a partnership with the nonprofit developer of the THCP, Worldview International , to help create more “climate parks” in Myanmar, and then scale globally. * Please see the recent project video below from Worldview International 


Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Programme, visits the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Feb 2018

“Many people, including most ocean-minded individuals, inherently understand the real value of restoring coastal ecosystems as a way to protect our oceans – and ourselves. But they need an easier and more engaging pathway to get involved. And that’s why we’re launching project: SeaTrees.”  Michael Stewart, Co-Founder / Sustainable Surf.

The total carbon emission data includes the following inputs:

  • Air travel and airport transit for invited pro surfers and their travel partners, Media, WSL, and Volcom staff and partners (98.1% of total).
  • Electricity generation (0.6% of total).
  • Emissions related to hospitality for athletes and staff (hotel and food production)(0.5% of total).
  • Emissions from spectator transportation to the event (0.8% of total).

As with previous years and other major events, air travel makes up the bulk of the footprint. Volcom created a questionnaire for athletes and others involved in the VPP, to help accurately calculate air mileage and improve the understanding of the carbon footprint of the event. 168 people responded to the questionnaire, providing a comprehensive data set.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

The 2017 VPP has achieved an excellent level of performance in reducing its climate change impact.  It is using high quality carbon offsets for the 4th year in a row, to offset 100% of calculated emissions. Volcom’s commitment to carbon neutrality is commendable and is recommended to continue.

While the overall carbon footprint is an increase on 2017 level, the event significantly expanded the number of participating athletes and therefore the number of run days.

Expanding the scope of the emissions accounted for

The climate change performance could be improved by incorporating the lifecycle carbon footprint of materials used at the event, and by collecting improved data for athlete’s companions and for spectator travel. It’s fine to use results from prior surveys, but it would be more accurate to collect this data every year.

Improving awareness of climate change

Another potential area for improvement is to help spectators develop awareness and inspire them to reduce their own carbon footprint and live an ocean-friendly lifestyle. The impact that climate change will have on the reefs and oceans that ultimately underpin events like the VPP is something that Volcom could share via a Drew Toons PSA and other communications throughout the event and beyond.


The 2018 VPP has met the minimum goal for providing greener transportation options with shuttle services for event staff, athletes and media personnel.

Goal: Enable shuttle services, source low carbon vehicles, and encourage the use of public and alternative transportation for event spectators. Minimum Goal: provide shuttle service to and from event for event staff, and/or encourage and facilitate the use of human powered modes of transport such as biking, skateboarding and walking by local spectators.

In partnership with the VPP, Turtle Bay Resort, a major resort on the North Shore of Hawaii, provided daily shuttles to the contest. The use of the Turtle Bay Resort shuttles by Volcom staff, media, contestants and guests helped reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

The 2018 VPP worked in partnership with Turtle Bay Resort to offer shuttle services to guests.

Many people living and staying on the North Shore also used bikes to get to the event, parking at the Ehukai beach park and the lane to Pipe. Further, Sustainable Surf worked with Volcom and Red Bull to feature electric skateboards as a potential transport option on the live webcast.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

Further promoting alternative transport

The North Shore is a very challenging place to reduce transport impacts. Public transport options are generally non-viable and distances between amenities and the event are relatively far.

There is an opportunity to further highlight low-carbon modes of transportation in communications leading up to the event. There may also be an opportunity to promote and measure car-pooling with friends for future events. The impact of car-pooling is significant and could also generate some interesting content for the event in 2019.


The 2018 VPP has a strong and meaningful focus on providing local, sustainably-sourced food and catering options to athletes and attendees.

 Working with event catering partner Ke Nui Kitchen, Volcom provided staff, guests and athletes with sustainably-sourced local food options wherever possible. This included:

  • Several meals featuring fruit, vegetables and herbs from the Waihuena Farm – located right there across the road from Pipe where each of the previous years’ compostable goods went for composting;
  • Local fish, pork and chicken; and
  • Organic fruit and vegetables from Hawaii.


These sustainability-focused food options were also extended to spectators attending the event. Ke Nui Kitchen had a taco grill in the Beach Park using many of the same ingredients used in the catering service. Il Gelato, a Hawaii-based company was selling locally-sourced gelato in reusable coconut shell bowls. The gelato is made on the North Shore in a 100% renewable energy-powered facility and delivered by hybrid vehicles.


Sustainable Surf would like to thank the team at Red Bull TV for helping elevate awareness about Volcom’s long-term commitment to sustainability by featuring Sustainable Surf, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and other key activations as part of the live webcast.

Special thanks to Meleana Judd-Cox of Waihuena Farm for facilitating the composting, Kahi Pacarro and the team at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and the crew at Ke Nui Kitchen for the big role they play in making sustainability a key part of how they work.

Extra Special thanks goes to the teams at Volcom and Red Bull for continuing to push the limits on sustainability at the Volcom Pipe Pro year after year.



Author: Brett Giddings, Sustainable Surf.