Deep Blue Event program















Deep Blue Event™  is a more “Ocean Friendly” event, that sets a clear path for reducing environmental impacts, while also providing social benefits for the local community. The program was developed through a partnership with the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) – North America that produced the first ever set of “Green Guidelines” for surfing contests in 2012.

Deep Blue Events  address issues directly related to the local contest area including waste reduction, protection of  natural resources, and the building of stronger communities.

Events with this designation also reduce direct threats to the global sport of surfing itself, such as: sea level rise, ocean acidification, and the loss of the world’s living coral reefs, which leading scientific institutions warn are already harming our oceans, waves and beaches.

The list of past events that have received the DBE designation and have published reports are:

Five Major Categories of Environmental Impacts

The Deep Blue Surfing Event™ program is a tool to help surf brands and event producers dramatically increase the sustainability performance of their event. Operational, environmental and community impacts can be addressed through the following five categories:

#1: Waste

  • Implement a comprehensive waste diversion strategy to reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost event waste and building materials.
  • Minimum Goal: 25% or more waste diversion from landfill by weight.

#2: Energy

  • Source some portion of event power from clean, renewable (non-fossil fuel) sources such as biodiesel, solar or other alternative energy sources.
  • Minimum Goal: 25% of total event power from renewable energy.

#3: Transportation

  • Use  cleaner/lower carbon fuel vehicles for internal operations, and support the use of public transportation and human powered modes – walk, skate and bike – for event attendees (where applicable).
  • Minimum Goal: Provide and promote alternative transportation options for staff, athletes, and for spectators where applicable.

#4: Community Support

  • Showcase the efforts of local environmental and social organizations, and  include them as stakeholders for possible  legacy efforts post-event.
  • Minimum Goal: Provide financial and/or outreach support for at least three NGOs and charities working on local issues relevant to the event.

#5: Climate Change

  • Calculate the total CO2 footprint of event, and mitigate this impact by purchasing certified/verified carbon offset credits through a reputable provider.
  • Minimum Goal: 50% of total event CO2 footprint offset or mitigated.

* The case study used to develop these guidelines was the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Search held in San Francisco, CA. See the Final Sustainability Report from this event. These guidelines and related recommendations are intended to be flexible so as to allow for the unique resources available at each individual contest.

Qualification Criteria for Designation as a Deep Blue Surfing Event™

To obtain a Deep Blue Surfing Event status, the event must:

  1. Commit to Deep Blue Surfing Event program as the path for reducing event impacts, and work with Sustainable Surf to develop a sustainability strategy for the event,
  2. Achieve the recommended minimum goals for at least two of the five categories of environmental impacts.


Importance of a Deep Blue Surfing Event™

A Deep Blue Surfing Event™ designation sends a clear message  to all spectators and sponsors:  this event is serious about reducing it’s environmental impact, while leaving a positive legacy for the community. There are many local and global environmental threats to surfing, such as marine plastic pollution, the looming extinction of coral reefs from ocean acidification and ocean warming, and the “permanent high tide” from sea level rise that will swamp out most surf breaks.

Ultimately, the educational focus at the heart of the Deep Blue Surfing Event program (indeed, all of Sustainable Surf’s programs) is to inspire the viewers of these surfing events to take the same types of actions they see  at the surf contest, in their own daily lives. This collective effort can, and will, result in a better world for the sport and culture of surfing.

We are proud to offer this program as way to help provide a path for WSL sanctioned events, including the World Championship Tour (WCT), to join the ranks of other major sporting leaugues like the NBA, NFL, MLB, and the NHL that are collaborating through the Green Sports Alliance to improve the environmental performance and footprint of their operations, while demonstrating important leadership for their fans.


Global Reporting Initiative for Events

The guidelines above are consistent with the recently released Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) – Event Organizers Sector Supplement, used at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The GRI reporting process has become the standard for reporting on sustainability performance.

The recommended actions for a Deep Blue Surfing Event can be easily translated to the GRI context. This will help Event Organizers integrate their event performance into company-wide GRI reports, or any other sustainability reporting process.

Each Deep Blue Surfing Event category translates to the following GRI “Indicators”, which are described fully in the GRI for Event Organizers documentation.

  • Waste: EN1, EN2, EN21, EN22
  • Energy: EN3, EN4, EN5, EN6, EN7
  • Transportation: EO2, EO
  • Carbon Footprint: EN16, EN17, EN18, EN19, EN20
  • Community Outreach: SO1, SO9, SO10,  EO5, EO6, EO11, EO12, EO13, EN11, EN12, EN13, EN14, EN15


Working With Sustainable Surf on Your Next Surfing Event

For those surf brands and event producers who would like to understand how to obtain a Deep Blue Surfing Event designation, please contact us and  see the basic steps below.

  1. Initial Consultation
    • Meet with Sustainable Surf to discuss possible actions for implementing the ASP/WSL green guidelines in a way that is geared for a specific event
  2. Deep Blue Surfing Event designation and strategy consulting
    • Work with brand and event organizers to develop sustainability strategy for event to follow the green guidelines
    • Evaluate event sustainability performance, including data collection from event organizers and quantification of results post-event
    • Provide Deep Blue Surfing Event designation/logo for events as marketing asset
    • Publish final sustainability results on Sustainable Surf website