It's hard to imagine that surfers--those archetypal lovers of the sea--would do anything to hurt their playground.
- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- CHANGING THE WORLD : Ryan Milliman hopes that the Earth-friendly boards and more that he offers through the Shell Beach Surf Shop and the online Seahuggers will push the industry toward preserving the ocean.
# Yet, the materials used for surfboards, surf accessories, and surf apparel can be extremely unsustainable and destructive to the environment and health, making the surfing community look a bit hypocritical. Fortunately, Ryan Milliman is out to change the double standard in the surfing world by offering a variety of Earth-friendly surf-related wares.
Milliman is the owner of both the Shell Beach Surf Shop and Seahuggers, a new online store providing the most sustainable offerings in boards--that's surf, skate, and snow. He's working hard to transform the Shell Beach Surf Shop into an example for the rest of the industry.
Milliman said "being a lover of the ocean and wanting to be able to do something for the community" led him to his current sustainability obsession.
"Being surfers, it's our playground," he said of the ocean. "If I can run a business that helps preserve that, that's good."
To help preserve his aquatic arena, Milliman has enlisted with 1% For Planet Earth, which means 1 percent of Milliman's profits are donated to grassroots organizations around the world, organizations working to improve the planet. Milliman is also selling organic cotton and bamboo clothing, bamboo skateboards, wetsuits made with limestone, and sandals made from recycled car tires.
Although the clothing industry has improved by leaps and bounds in the last three years to provide a plethora of pro-Earth products, the board industry is still struggling to catch up to offer a board that's sustainable, durable, and high performing.
To that end, Milliman is offering some of the best options in the Earth-loving surfboard-making world. His selection includes Biofoam boards, which are petroleum free, as well as soy-based and sugar-based boards that offer the same durability and performance as polyurethane and fiberglass boards.
"They're still working out the kinks, but I think we'll see an environmentally friendly board in the next three years," Milliman said.
As for the future of the Shell Beach Surf Shop and Seahuggers, Milliman said that he hopes to grow organically, both figuratively and literally.
"We have high hopes for growth and encouraging the industry to create more sustainable products so we're able to offer a more comprehensive offering to replace the ones we use," he said.
Seahuggers and Shell Beach Surf Shop, 2665 Shell Beach Road celebrated a grand re-opening and open house on April 25. For more information, call 773-1855.
Interns Angela Watkins and Jen Ingan compiled this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to email@example.com.