Fiji ISA Worlds SUP & Paddleboard Championship 2016 – Detailed Info

This page provides detailed information regarding each of the five categories of sustainable impact reduction for the event. Also see the main page of this report.

Approximately 47% ( or 616.7 lbs ) of the 1,315.7 lbs  of waste collected at the 2016 Fiji ISA Worlds’  was diverted from landfill. Systems were setup to collect and recycle plastic bottles and containers, paper and cardboard and glass bottles. Food waste was also diverted from landfill and sent to local pig farms. The residual waste was sent to a managed landfill site. Waste diversion rates increased from day one throughout the event. Ongoing communication and signage regarding waste collection facilities throughout the event, resulted in greater awareness by those at the event and helped to drive these results.

Recyclable material collected during the event from Tavarua Island Resort, the ‘mothership’ and the Rhum-Ba was sorted and placed into bails to await shipping to recycling commodity markets in Asia. This included plastics, cardboard and paper, aluminum cans, and glass. Waste diversion services on the mothership vessel were provided by Sustainable Surf and Rhum-Ba staff in the form of a recycling tent and various other collection bins located around the vessel.

All collected food waste and recycling was taken to a material recovery center in Port Denarau. Waste diversion on the mothership was performed and measured by Sustainable Surf and a group of volunteers on all six days of competition. The Rhum-Ba restaurant in Port Denarau provided all of the food for the event, allowing the kitchen to ensure food waste was diverted from landfill. Waste food and recycling from the restaurant kitchen was processed by the material recovery center, although this data was not measured in this report as it could not be separated from regular marina waste material.

Pre-event strategy meetings between Sustainable Surf and the Rhum-Ba, resulted in no single-use utensils being brought onto the boat. The menu of sandwiches, fruit, pastries, etc, were all selected so that no utensils were required. This resulted in cost and waste diversion benefits.

Tavarua Island Resort

Tavarua Island resort was an operation center for the event. The webcast was hosted on the island, and many athletes and staff stayed on the island during the event. Tavarua has a history of managing waste diversion. All glass, plastic, and cardboard is collected on the island and sent to Port Denarau for recycling. There is a dedicated water bottle refilling station on Tavarua and high quality reusable water bottles available for sale. All un-used food waste is either given to resort staff, or is sent to local pig farms as food.

Tavarua Island Resort also has an innovative water management system, which ultimately results in reduced waste water. All fresh water used on the island is collected rain water from rooftops, and passed through a state-of-the-art UV filtration system. All toilets use salt water, to reduce fresh water needs, and “black water” from toilet flushing is treated with probiotics in a custom-built facility located on the island.

Tavarua Island Resort was one of the first recipients of the Stoke Certified designation from the Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University. More info on Tavarua Island’s sustainability initiatives is available from the Stoke Certified website.

Waste data was collected during the event and collated by Sustainable Surf.

  • Recycled plastic = 169.3 lbs – 12.1%
  • Recycled paper = 19.4 lbs – 1.5%
  • Recycled glass = 297 lbs – 22.6%
  • Food waste diverted = 141 lbs – 10.7%
  • Landfill materials = 699 lbs – 53.1%
  • Total weight of diverted materials = 616.7 lbs
  • Total weight of all materials = 1,315.7 lbs
  • Waste diversion ratio = 46.9%

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

Drinking water bottles

Used plastic water bottles made up a significant volume of the plastic waste stream and required significant staff time to manage appropriate sorting and collection. Bottles also needed to be collected from the water and shoreline where consumption occurred to prevent littering. Suggestions for improvement include:

  • Fill-up stations with reusable bottles
  • Use of larger sized water bottles (rather than small bottles used)
  • More collection points to make it easier for people to recycle

Plastic straws

The use of plastic straws constituted a significant marine plastic pollution issue and also resulted in a major recycling and compost contamination problem. Staff were required to separate straws from the recycling and food waste streams as these were often left in PET bottles and coconuts. Suggestion for improvement:

  • A complete switch from plastic straws to compostable paper straws. As a result of Sustainable Surf’s consultation with the Rhum-Ba, the restaurant has commenced the search for a paper straw provider with the aim of eliminating plastic straws from all of the restaurants and hotels within the high-tourist areas of Port Denaura and Tavarua Island Resort.

Reducing waste sent to landfill

Much of the waste sent to landfill consisted of the following: coconut shells and husks, people’s personal items brought onboard, and recyclable or compostable items not placed in the appropriate waste stream. Suggestions for improvement:

  • Various opportunities exist for diverting coconut shells and husks from landfill. One option could be to find a local land rehabilitation project and use shredded husks as mulch. Transporting the shells and husks to Suva for shredding and composting could also be a viable option if appropriate transport can be arranged.
  • Increasing the number of collection points around the mothership and other competitor areas makes it easier for people to place items in correct streams.

Port Denarau Marina has installed 232kW of solar electric photovoltaic panels on all of the buildings in Port Denarau, including the Rhum-Ba restaurant. This is the equivalent power used by nearly 60 households and provides the majority of electric power needs for the restaurant and the marina. It also reduces dependence on fossil fuels for energy needs and creates local jobs.

The live webcast for the event was hosted on Tavarua Island Resort, which uses diesel powered generators. The mothership vessel, which provided an operational platform for much of the event, is diesel fuel-powered – using 6800 litres over the course of the event. Emissions from diesel-powered generators and the mothership have all been offset through the mangroves planted in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

Solar power on Tavarua Island

Tavarua Island Resort is currently evaluating options and pricing for installing solar power onsite at the resort, in an effort to dramatically reduce the overall use of diesel fuel used to power their electrical generators. This will bring the island in line with the renewable energy focus of Fiji, which has goals to produce 80% of energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2030. Suggestions for improvement:

  • Moving from diesel-generated energy to solar will likely require significant upfront investment, that will no doubt deliver paybacks over a period of time. To help offset this initial investment, the island may be able to secure a loan supported by the World Bank’s Sustainable Energy Investment Fund (administered locally by ANZ Bank).

Biofuel replacing petroleum-based diesel

Using the mothership as a base and to minimize the need for individual competitor travel to and from the events significantly reduced the total use of fuel (and associated emissions) required to run an offshore event. There may be opportunities to switch to bio-based diesel fuel to further reduce the impact of diesel-fuel-powered vessels. While bio-fuel has been difficult to procure in Fiji, the Fijian government has committed to replacing 25,000 kilolitres of imported fuel with locally produced biofuel by 2013. The government also recently announced funding for a biofuel testing facility, which could help to ensure the quality and safety of the fuels available.

The partners involved in the ISA event, including Port Denarau Marina, Tavarua Island Resort and the ISA themselves, have a legacy of giving back to local Fijian communities.

Port Denarau Marina

The Marina supports a diverse range of community programs including: 

      • It’s Time Foundation:  Converting diesel generators to solar power on remote islands, with the money saved on generator fuel used to fund the purchase of computers and other educational resources.
      • Nadi Primary School: Port Denarau Marina assists with building supplies and the repair and maintenance of school furniture.
      • Sea Mercy Fiji, which provides a range of disaster relief and medical resources, including: emergency response and recovery assistance for remote islands following natural disasters, Global Mercy Armada economic development training and implementation programs, and Floating Health Care Clinics that provide  free medical, dental and eye care services.

Tavarua Island Resort

Tavarua Island Resort supports local villages related to Tavarua Island. The resort has a long history of working with the local community to provide medical and educational resources, water, sanitation and housing infrastructure, and sponsorship and support for sporting teams and local businesses. A comprehensive list of the Island’s ‘Giving Back’ projects can be found online. These include:

      • The Tavarua Island Scholarship: providing funding for primary school student school fees, bus fares, uniforms, stationary, and books. They also manage funds raised by the Surfers Medical Association for secondary and tertiary level education for exemplary students.
      • Construction of 44 concrete homes in Momi and Nabila (with toilets, running water and electricity) and electricity provided to both villages
      • Sponsorship and continued efforts with Mamanuca Environment Society, raising awareness for staff, guests and the surrounding communities.


The ISA  awarded USD $20,000 of Scholarships to 35 young surfers from 21 countries around the world as part of the 2016 ISA Scholarship Program. Two young Fijian surfers, John Vasea and Kiesha Wakeham, were awarded scholarships in 2016.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

The partners involved in the ISA event provide an excellent level and range of community support. The following key opportunities were identified:

      • There may be an opportunity to increase communications about the amazing range of community programs and partnerships in place at future events in an attempt to engage more people in supporting these.
      • The ISA could also partner with athletes and an organization such as SUPkids to provide environmental and water-sports education to local children. Team Hawaii athlete, Zane Schweitzer and several other athletes are already actively engaged in similar programs.


The total overall estimated footprint for the Fiji event is 900 tons CO2e. The 2016 Fiji ISA Worlds has offset 100% of these carbon emissions for the event by planting over 4,000 new mangrove trees in Myanmar – courtesy of Starboard SUP. The mangroves are planted in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park. 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. Mangrove restoration at the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park has the following benefits:

        • Mitigate up to five times more CO2 than rainforest trees and reduce escalations of global warming.
        • Reverse devastating effects of destructed natural mangrove forests.
        • Provide up to 50% more sea food with better and secured environment.
        • Filter and clean water, securing environment for sea grass and coral reefs.
        • Generate cooling effect with up to 60,000 BTU per tree.
        • Create high value-added livelihood opportunities to disadvantaged coastal communities by reducing poverty, especially among women and children.
        • Save lives and improve quality of the environment for millions of people in adaptation to climate change.
        • Contribute to social and economic development of a peace-building process in a new democracy.

The Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park is unique and progressive “blue carbon” project that is fully operational. It is currently in the process of certification to be able to produce and sell certified carbon offsets.  Since one mangrove tree sequesters approximately one ton of CO2 during its lifetime, Starboard has planted 4,000 additional trees to account for the carbon offsets not yet being accredited.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

Starboard SUP offsetting 100% of emissions from the event is an excellent outcome. In addition to activities to reduce emissions, described in other areas of this report, the opportunity exists to further engage participants in the event to help reduce their own impact and help to directly offset emissions by:

        • Communicating the efforts to offset all emissions to participating athletes and media
        • Providing event participants to plant mangroves or other local trees in Fiji

The ISA provided transportation on a “mothership” vessel operated by South Sea Cruises.  This mothership transported all of the athletes to and from the competition site at Cloudbreak and elsewhere in the area.  Additionally a barge was used store and transport all of the athletes boards. The mothership vessel and barge used approximately 7300 litres of diesel fuel over the course of the event. Emissions from diesel-powered generators and the mothership have all been offset through the mangroves planted in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park.By using the mothership and barge, the ISA reduced the need for athletes to hire their own boat transportation to compete at the event.  This significantly reduced the emissions from burning fuel and protects the live coral reefs from the impacts of excessive anchoring.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

The provision of the mothership as a centralised vehicle for transportation produced an excellent outcome. In addition to exploring alternative fuel sources for the vessel, the ISA and brand-partners could consider arranging buses to and from airports and other local destinations.