Abysse swimwear co-director Hanalei Reponty models local brand mermaid flippers by Mahina Mer-Fins. Photo by Alina Rylko.
Abysse swimwear co-director Hanalei Reponty models local brand mermaid flippers by Mahina Mer-Fins. Photo by Alina Rylko.

VIDEO: Eco event about so much more than surfing

FROM surf-yoga pants to mermaid tails and recycled surfboards, the fifth Byron Bay Surf Festival's modern hippy stalls saw crowds drop-in by the thousands on Sunday.

For its second day, the event saw more than 160 local and international company tents dot the parkland at Main Beach to attract 12,000 festival-goers.

Byron Bay Surf Festival coordinator Esme Ferretti said the non-competitive event continues to grow due to its inclusive community spirit and rich cultural program.

"We've an immense amount of support because Byron Bay Surf Festival has a very unique combination of ingredients not offered at other surf events," Ms Ferretti said.

"It makes a call to the community about the environment and takes in fashion, music, film and art.

"It's about so much more than just the act of surfing."

Sustainable Surf Org programs manager Brett Giddings, who travelled to the event from San Francisco said 'eco-certification' for the Byron Bay Surf Festival was guaranteed.

ON BOARD: Sustainable Surf Org programs manager Brett Giddings says envrionmentally sustainable surf boards are increasing in popularity. By Alina Rylko
ON BOARD: Sustainable Surf Org programs manager Brett Giddings says envrionmentally sustainable surf boards are increasing in popularity. By Alina Rylko

"It's the first Byron Bay Surf Festival event we're certifying, and they're streets ahead of everyone else in the world," Mr Giddings said.

"They have a lot of waste diversion and sustainable energy initiatives in place, they're measuring energy outputs and really support the local community."

Byron Bay surf board company owner Kurt Henson said sustainable surfboards featured prominently because of increased environmental concerns.

"A lot more people are looking for boards with more durable and more sustainable materials, such as natural fibre flax cloth instead of fibreglass" Mr Henson said.

"The uptake has been strong, and we only custom make, so no warehousing or excessive production takes place."

MAKING A SPLASH: Abysse swimwear's Hanalei Reponty models Mer-Fins at Main Beach. Photo by Alina Rylko.
MAKING A SPLASH: Abysse swimwear's Hanalei Reponty models Mer-Fins at Main Beach. Photo by Alina Rylko.

Abysse swimwear co-director Hanalei Reponty, from California, said the Byron Bay Surf Festival was a "perfect fit" for the environmentally conscious rash shirt brand.

"I love Byron Bay, I think it has an amazing spirit because there's a lot of eco-conscious people here and our business uses only sustainable materials," Ms Reponty said.

"Usually neoprene is made of petrol and ours is from Japan and made out of limestone.

"We also support Byron Bay's Sirens of the Sea charity, which is a group of surfers, scientists and artists, devoted to saving The Great barrier Reef."

For the final day of the event, tomorrow's surf sessions at Wategos beach are open to all.

SURF'S UP: Sustainable Surf Org programs manager Brett Giddings talks about eco-certification for the Byron Bay Surf Festival and environmentally sustainable boards.
SURF'S UP: Sustainable Surf Org programs manager Brett Giddings talks about eco-certification for the Byron Bay Surf Festival and environmentally sustainable boards.