This report provides transparent and detailed information regarding each of the Deep Blue Event sustainability categories addressed as part of the 2019 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 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro has exceeded the minimum Deep Blue Event goal for Waste Diversion with a total diversion ratio of 71% 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 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro has once again shown a strong commitment to waste management, maintaining a high ratio of waste diversion as per previous years. 2019 saw an increase in the total waste diversion throughout the event (up from 68% in 2018). 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, and then 2148 in 2019.

Since 2014, waste diversion services have been provided by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH). The 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro continued that partnership.

All collected compostable items including food waste were 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 events like the Volcom Pipe Pro. Trash and recyclables were taken by Debbie Rezentes, a local community member, on run days and during final breakdown to the Haleiwa Transfer Center and Reynolds HI-5 recycle center.

A first for 2019, event caterer, Ke Nui Kitchen, provided reusable utensils with every meal they produced for event staff, VIPs and competitors. This is an amazing effort and something Sustainable Surf will be encouraging all Deep Blue Events to explore and implement. Second hand utensils were bought and separate bins were in place to collect these. Observations indicate that they were well used!

Banzai Bowls provided recycling / composting services for their own plant-based packaging. “Bowls” of acai were handed out to event participants and specific Banzai Bowls recycling stations were installed to help collect the used bowls and spoons. These were then washed and sent back to the mainland USA for 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 Farm 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 sustainably utilized when compared to being bundled up and shipped overseas for recycling. Closing the loop on the compostable materials sent to the farm, Ke Nui Kitchen sourced organic, local produce for several meals served throughout the event.

The total waste diversion numbers:

  • Recycled materials = 432 lbs – 20%
  • Composted materials (including cardboard) = 1089 lbs – 51%
  • Landfill materials = 627 lbs – 29%
  • Total weight of diverted materials = 1521 lbs – 71%
  • Total weight of all materials = 2184 lbs – 100%

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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.

Since 2018, Sustainable Surf has worked with Volcom and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and food and catering partners to develop a “Waste Management Vendor Guideline” for the event. This resource helped to 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 Yeti water/coffee bottles were included in ‘goodie bags’ handed out during the event. Water refill stations, provided by Plastic Free Hawaii and Yeti, 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. With the global recycling market continuing to make international shipping of waste a challenge, Volcom is encouraged to continually review options to increase waste diversion in future years.

Working to improve composting on the North Shore

The bokashi compost process set up at Waihuena Farm has had challenges with composting the quantity of animal products generated at events on the North Shore. To remedy this, the farm, working with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Changing Tides Foundation (and with a small amount of help from Sustainable Surf), has built new composting enclosures.

Sustainable Surf has committed to touching base with the farm in the lead up to the 2020 Volcom Pipe Pro to understand the status of these new enclosures and any considerations that might need to be accounted for to maximize composting at the event. In addition, the team at Changing Tides Foundation has launched the Community Compost Movement. A weekly food scrap pickup service on the North Shore. Having both of the Volcom Pipe Houses participating in that program would help to ensure the same approach Volcom takes at the Pipe Pro is replicated throughout the year.


The 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro has exceeded the minimum goal for sourcing Renewable Energy by using 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. In 2017 the Volcom Pipe Pro became the first major surfing event in the world to use a 100% bio-derived fuel. This is the seventh year of using biodiesel to power the Viking Generators for the event and the third 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 425 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 totaled 23.47 kW of capacity, and according to the solar monitoring system in place, the houses generated a combined average of approximately 70 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. This year the event did a great job of promoting the use of both of these energy solutions with the Drew Toons video featured above.

Recycling used cooking oil from the event

While very little cooking oil was used at the 2019 Pipe Pro, there may be a great closed-loop story to be told at the next event. Pacific Bio-diesel also produces high-quality cooking oil from macadamia nut and sunflower farms located on Maui. This oil could be used in 2020 and waste oil collected by Pacific Bio-diesel to be made into fuel that is identical to the fuel being used to power the event.


The 2019 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 $95,000 in donations in 2019.

Volcom continued to support the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii with a presentation of a $65,655 check from their Give Back Series. All year long, special Hawaii Only products that are sold through Hawaii retailers, have a “give back” percentage linked to them. 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 $9,944, and $19,784 for the Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization. Volcom also held a fundraiser for Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii at SURFER the Bar, raising $1,630 and awareness for the non-profit.

In an effort to highlight the long-term impact commitment that Volcom has made to sustainability as part of the event and the partnership with Sustainable Surf, Deep Blue Event messaging was included as core component of the ’10 Years at the Proving Grounds’ installation. Located in the beach park, this helped to raise awareness of Sustainable Surf.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

Volcom continues to be a global leader in giving back to the North Shore community in a meaningful way. This extends throughout the entire year, not just during the event period. Sustainable Surf suggests exploring additional opportunities during in the event to link athletes with ways to give back to the local community.


The 2019 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 worked with Volcom to collect 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 452 metric tonnes CO2e. Mitigating the event’s CO2 footprint helps reduce direct threats to surfing from climate change, such as: sea level rise, ocean acidification, reduced wave heights and loss of coral reefs globally.

The 2019 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. Regenerating ocean health by restoring and protecting ‘blue carbon’ coastal ecosystems (mangrove forests, seagrass, kelp forests, coral reefs and critical regional watersheds).

SeaTrees projects sequester carbon, provide critical habitat for marine life, deliver direct economic benefits to local communities and provide protection from storms, flooding and sea-level rise. Projects are chosen based on appropriate industry best practices and for their ability to scale up their impact to meet the global climate challenge we face. Sustainable Surf uses a combination of existing independent certification programs, in-person site visits, customized technology tools, and our own transparent criteria based on industry best practices and reporting guidelines to ensure accountability.


The project being supported to address the climate impact of the 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro is the Southern Cardamom Ridge-to-Reef watershed in Cambodia – a partnership project between Wildlife Works / Wildlife Alliance, local and regional stakeholders. The Southern Cardamom (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) REDD+ Project will use the expertise and successful track record of Wildlife Alliance in forest protection and community development to safeguard 497,000 hectares of tropical forest in the Southern Cardamom National Park and Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Working with the Cambodia Ministry of Environment the project is accredited under the Voluntary Carbon (VCS) and Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards. This ensures the project produces genuine carbon emission reductions and supports local communities whilst protecting the fantastic biodiversity of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape. The Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project integrates conservation and development by enabling forest protection and empowering community development through education and sustainable business development. The project will generate 32m tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) over 10 years.

  • FOREST – The project covers three protected areas (Southern Cardamom National Park. Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary, and Botum Sakor National Park): Each are diverse forest types type areas from lowland mangroves to elevated evergreen rainforests.
  • COMMUNITY – The project directly supports 20 villages around the perimeter of the Project Area and provides scholarships to eight additional villages (a total of 3.6k families).
  • WILDLIFE – The project area supports threatened Asian wildlife. including one of Cambodia’s two viable populations of Asian elephant, the clouded leopard, the pileated gibbon and a population of the Critically Endangered Sunda pangolin. The Cardamom Mountains are a hotspot for plant, reptile, amphibian and bird endemism with many species found nowhere else on earth.

“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 created 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,, Rd Bull and Volcom staff and partners (98% of total).
  • Electricity generation (0.5% of total).
  • Emissions related to hospitality for athletes and staff (hotel and food production) (0.7% 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 2019 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 being climate positive is commendable and is recommended to continue. While the overall carbon footprint is a slight increase on the 2018 level, the event expanded the number of participating athletes.

Improving awareness of climate change

A 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 2019 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 Volcom Pipe Pro, 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. 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.

Key observations and opportunities for improvement

Further promoting alternative transport

The North Shore continues to be a challenging place to provide low-impact transport options. Public transport is 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 2020.


The 2019 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, VIPs and athletes with sustainably-sourced local food options wherever possible.

The long-term commitment to sustainable food choices at the Volcom Pipe Pro includes:

  • Fruit, vegetables and herbs from the Waihuena Farm used in meals. Located right there across the road from Pipe, the farm provides the ultimate local food option.
  • Local fish, pork and chicken; and
  • Organic fruit and vegetables from Hawaii: AND
  • All served with a serious dash of ALOHA!

These sustainability-focused food options were also extended to spectators attending the event. Ke Nui Kitchen had a grill in the Beach Park using many of the same ingredients as the catering service.








Sustainable Surf would like to thank Volcom, Red Bull TV, Drew Toonz and Mikey O’Shaunessy 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 webcast.

Special thanks to the crew at Waihuena Farm for facilitating the composting, to Rachel Roehl 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 operate.

Extra Special thanks goes to Derek Sabori and Dane Jeffreys from Volcom and Red Bull crew for continuing to push the limits on sustainability at the Volcom Pipe Pro year after year.

Author: Brett Giddings of Sustainable Surf.