May 27th, 2010
07:26 PM ET

One Simple Thing: Surfing's dirty little secret

One Simple Thing features people who through small yet innovative ways are making a difference in education, energy, the environment, and the use of the planet's resources.

Paul Vercammen

San Clemente, California (CNN) - Joey Santley's flip-flops rhythmically clap as he strolls through San Clemente's surf ghetto, a cluster of boxy surfboard-making businesses.

This chatterbox entrepreneur spouts out ideas like big waves churn up foam.

Surfing is a sport with a black spot on its eco-friendly soul, and Santley thinks he found a way to cleanse it.

"We're going to take the biggest pile of trash that our industry makes and we are going to figure out a home for it," Santley explains.

The shaping and making of surfboards for decades has produced a chemical residue, a toxic white dust that can be found all over the surf ghetto.

Santley grabs a plastic bag inside the major surfboard manufacturer Lost, and points down at a pile of polyurethane powder, excess foam that sprinkled from a surfboard-shaping machine.

"I'll come in here and clean up all this stuff," explains Santley, using a broom and dustpan to put the polyurethane dust into a plastic garbage bag. "They can keep cranking [producing surfboards] because it gets too full in here.

"They love it because they don't have to clean up. And I love it because I come and get material for my boards. And if I wasn't doing this, the dust would be going into the landfill over the hill."

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Filed under: One Simple Thing
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Andre Michaud

    great initiative!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:47 pm |