Volcom Pipe Pro 2017

The 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro has been designated as a Deep Blue Surfing Event™.

A Deep Blue Surfing 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 Surfing 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.

This year’s event live webcast was managed by Red Bull Media House. The entire Red Bull commentator’s booth was built from repurposed materials from the 2016 Pipe Masters event.

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The commentator’s booth for the Volcom Pipe Pro was built from repurposed materials.

The 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro has exceeded the minimum requirements of all five categories measured (Waste Diversion, Renewable Energy, Community Outreach, Climate Change and Transportation).

To receive a Deep Blue Surfing Event designation, an event is required to reduce environmental and social impacts of the event. It must also develop a data collection plan to measure performance on impact reduction, and this data must show that it has met minimum goals for at least two of the five major categories of environmental and social impacts.

Sustainability Performance Summary:

  1. Waste Diversion:  66% of waste diverted from landfill
  2. Renewable Energy: Contest powered by 100% renewable biodiesel fuel and solar electricity 
  3. Climate Change: 100% of CO2 footprint mitigated
  4. Community Support: Supported local community organizations with more that $100,000 in donations 
  5. Transportation: Promoted alternative transportation for athletes, staff, and spectators

The 2017 VPP has exceeded the minimum goal for Waste Diversion with a total diversion ratio of 66%

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

The 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro (VPP) has shown a strong commitment to waste diversion, maintaining a high ratio of waste diversion as per previous years. 2017 saw a decrease in the total waste diversion throughout the event (down from 74% in 2016), also noteworthy was that total the volume of waste produced was up significantly from 1,365 lbs to 3,559 lbs.  It is difficult determine the specific reasons for this drop; Sustainable Coastlines has noted in their waste report that communications with key partners may have had an impact on diversion.

As per 2016, waste diversion services were provided by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. 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. 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.

*For a more detailed analysis relating to waste diversion at the event click here

The 2017 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.

ASP Green Guidelines Recommendation: 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 from Pacific Biodiesel, making the event the first professional surfing event in the word to use a 100% bio-derived fuel. This is the fifth year of using biodiesel to power the Viking Generators  for the event and the first year the 100% bio-derived fuel has been utilized.  The conversion of used oil from local restaurants and businesses to biodiesel is a great step forward in linking the community with the event.  Locally produced biodiesel 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.

Volcom now has solar photovoltaic energy systems on both of the two Volcom houses in front of Pipeline. These houses form a key component part of the infrastructure of the contest, with solar electric energy helping reduce the fossil fuel energy needed for the houses. All panels installed totalled 23.4.7 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.

*For a more detailed analysis relating to energy use at the event click here

The The 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro has exceeded the minimum goal for Community Support by providing significant financial support and visibility for several community group partners

ASP Green Guidelines Recommendation: 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.

The Volcom Pipe Pro supported three charitable organizations with more than $100,000. Funds are generated by the sales of Volcom Pipe Pro merchandise at the contest and through sales of specialty items throughout the year. Supported charities included: The Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, The Live Like Sion Memorial Fund, Sunset Elementary School and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Validating the ongoing efforts of Volcom, the organization received a letter of recognition from the Hawaii Senate for the sum of charitable donations given to the Hawaiian community over the years.

*For a more detailed analysis relating to community support and the event click here

The 2017 VPP has exceeded the minimum goal for Climate Impact through offsetting 100% of the measured CO2 footprint of the event

ASP Green Guidelines Recommendation: 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.

The total overall estimated footprint for the event is 359.7 tons CO2e. The 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro has offset 100% of these carbon emissions for the event with verified carbon credits from the Wildlife Works Carbon Kasigau Corridor, Kenya REDD+ Project.  See the registry certificate for the purchased offsets.

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.

*For a more detailed analysis relating to climate change and the event click here

The 2017 VPP has met the minimum goal for providing greener transportation options with shuttle services for event staff, athletes and media personnel.

ASP Green Guidelines Recommendation: Enable shuttle services, source hybrid/alternative energy powered 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. This effort reduces individual car trips, traffic congestion, and CO2 emissions.

*For a more detailed analysis relating to transportation issues at the event click here


The authors on this report are Brett Giddings, Kevin Whilden and Michael Stewart of Sustainable Surf.

Special thanks to Meliana Judd of Waihuena Farms for facilitating the composting, and to Kahi, Jeff and the team at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for being a committed pillar of the North Shore sustainability community.

Extra Special thanks goes to Derek Sabori, former VP of Sustainability at Volcom, for his leadership and general stoke for wanting to highlight sustainability at Volcom’s major surf contests, and for supporting and showcasing all of the partners that make a sustainable surf contest possible. This thanks also goes to Richard Woolcott, Todd Hymel, Brad Dougherty, Daniel Terry, Jeff Arnold and Ryan Immegart at Volcom for making sustainability, again, a key component of this year’s event.