Vans Triple Crown of Surfing 2015 Sustainability Report

The 2015 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing 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.

Sustainable Surf explains a Deep Blue Surfing Event to Peter Mel at the Pipe Masters:

* The 2015 Vans Triple Crown 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:  55% of waste diverted from landfill
  2. Renewable Energy: Contest powered by 70% renewable biodiesel fuel
  3. Climate Change: 100% of CO2 footprint mitigated (944 tons CO2e)
  4. Community Support: Supported local community organizations with $81,000 in donations
  5. Transportation: Promoted alternative transportation for athletes, staff, and spectators


* The 2015 VTCS has exceeded the minimum goal for Waste Diversion with a total diversion ratio of 55%
WSL 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 2015 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) has shown a strong commitment to waste diversion with a significantly increased effort to reduce waste throughout the event. The overall scope of waste diversion area was increased vs. 2014, and included more public spaces. The total volume of waste material collected increased by 70% vs. 2014. A total of 10,232 lbs of material was collected during the VTCS, with 5,650 lbs of material was diverted from the landfill for a 55% waste diversion ratio.

For the first time for the Triple Crown, waste diversion systems were implemented during lay days and during the setup and tear-down days of the contest infrastructure. Waste diversion services were provided by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. All collected food compost was taken across the street to Waihuena Farm, which uses the bokashi fermentation compost system to turn food waste into… more food.  Some of the food eaten at the contest comes from Waihuena Farm, for a beautiful “closed loop” waste system.

Flowater systems also provided clear drinking water throughout the events to reduce the need for plastic bottled water. The VTCS provided high quality, insulated water bottles to staff and athletes for use at these stations. The stations filled 36,296 bottles during the event.

Kahi Pacarro explains how waste diversion works to Rosy Hodge at the Pipe Masters:

Learn more about waste diversion on the additional information page, including detailed data, analysis, suggested improvements, and more photos and videos.

* The 2015 VTCS has exceeded the minimum goal for sourcing Renewable Energy by sourcing 70% biodeisel for renewable energy used to power the event and webcast
WSL 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 VTCS sourced B70 biodiesel from Pacific Biodiesel. It was used in Viking Generators for the entire event. This is the third year of using biodiesel to power the generators for the event. 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.

Learn more about energy on the additional information page, including detailed data, analysis, suggested improvements, and more photos and videos.

* The The 2015 VTCS has exceeded the minimum goal for Community Support by providing support and visibility for several community group partners
WSL 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 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing supported multiple charitable organizations with $41,000. Funds are generated by the sales of  merchandise at the contest, a charity golf tournament, and by Vans, Reef, and the World Surf League. Supported charities were: The North Shore Community Land Trust, Na Kama Kai, the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, Haleiwa Elementary School, Waialua Elementary School, and Sunset Elementary School.

The Vans Triple Crown also funded a complete restoration of the public bathrooms at Ehukai Beach Park, with a donation of $40,000. These bathrooms are now very clean, and used by the local community throughout the year.

Additionally, the VTCS funded a promotional video for the North Shore Community Land Trust:

Learn more about community support on the additional information page, including detailed data, analysis, suggested improvements, and more photos and videos.

* The 2015 VTCS has exceeded the minimum goal for Climate Impact through offsetting 100% of the measured CO2 footprint of the event
WSL 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 944 tons CO2e. The 2015 Vans Triple Crown has offset 100% of these carbon emissions for the event with verified carbon credits from the Valdivian Coastal Reserve Conservation project in Chile. 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 Valdivian Coastal Reserve is located on Chile’s southern coastline within a global biodiversity hotspot. This is a temperate rainforest and one of the most carbon-dense forests on Earth. With more than half of the world’s temperate rainforests gone, the Reserve is one of the largest of these forests remaining on Earth. The project aims to achieve security for the rainforest from logging and other human impacts, while conducting scientific research and contributing to the sustainable development of surrounding communities. The purchase of verified carbon credits from this project helps ensure the long-term stability of the ecosystem. 

Learn more about climate impact on the additional information page, including detailed data, analysis, suggested improvements, and more photos and videos.

* The 2015 VTCS has met the minimum goal for providing greener transportation options with shuttle services for event staff, athletes and media personnel.
WSL 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 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Turtle Bay Resort provided daily shuttles to the contest. This effort reduces individual car trips, traffic congestion, and CO2 emissions. Vans also posted public transportation information on the official Triple Crown website.

Learn more about alternative transportation on the additional information page, including detailed data, analysis, suggested improvements, and more photos and videos.


### The authors on this report are Kevin Whilden and Michael Stewart of Sustainable Surf. Special thanks to Kim Matsoukas, Sustainability Manager of Vans, and Vans itself for supporting the sustainability efforts at the Triple Crown.  Special thanks also goes to the Triple Crown of Surfing, which has supported the local North Shore community for 20+ years.  We would like to thank Kahi Pacarro and all the volunteers for Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for being stoked and dedicated to reducing waste and plastic pollution while educating everyone on alternatives.


** In 2012, the original ASP and Sustainable Surf developed the Green Guidelines for sustainable surf contests.  This has been renamed to the WSL Green Guidelines.