thousands of spectators and does its best to leave no trace in the sand
Every winter, O'ahu's North Shore is graced with some of the biggest, most powerful, consistent and contestable waves on the planet. It comes as no surprise that professional surfers, stand-up paddle surfers, bodyboarders and bodysurfers look to the North Shore's iconic surf breaks, most notably Pipeline, to hold their contests. These events, which attract an international field of competitors and are a major draw for Hawai'i tourism, bring in revenue for the City and County of Honolulu and the state through permitting fees and tax dollars.
With the lion's share of international media attention garnered by the Van's Triple Crown of Surfing, a six-week, three-event series held annually every November and December since 1983, international surfing brand Volcom has recently established a grassroots connection with the North Shore community, professional surfers and visiting fans through their North Shore event, the Volcom Pipeline Pro. As part of Volcom's New Future campaign, company-wide initiatives integrating sustainability into their business model, offering a line of sustainable clothing (the V.Co-Logical Series) and donating to environmental non-profits, the Volcom Pipeline Pro is their flagship venue to share with the public what the company is doing at an internal level to operate smarter and more efficiently.
"Each year is a learning opportunity, and we're realizing how important good planning and communication is," says Derek Sabori, Volcom's senior director of the department of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. "This isn't a perfect event from a sustainability standpoint, but we're continuing to strive for it to be impressive to even the harshest critic."
Sabori has headed up the sustainable efforts and initiatives for the past three years at the event, working side by side with Jen Homcy, co-founder of Tr3ees, a green event solutions and sustainability consulting company based from the North Shore. In addition to the world-class surfing in the water, together the two have added an element of accountability tied with community to the event, highlighting Volcom's dedication to professional surfing and the preservation of the North Shore. From small solutions like recycling, coffee mugs, reusable chopsticks, reusable water bottles and refill stations to larger initiatives like their zero waste policy or their repurposed event totes made from the previous year's banners, the event has a well-rounded approach to leaving as small a footprint as possible.
Not stopping there, Sabori made sure that the health of the competitors, staff and visitors was also a primary focus at the event, where natural sunscreens are on offer, as well as organic food and healthy drink alternatives to the energy drinks that flood the market at sporting events. In addition, Volcom is proud to give back to the community, with proceeds from their merchandise going to the Sunset Beach Elementary School PTA, the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii, and this year to the Sion Milosky memorial fund.
"Our goals now are for us to go beyond just a product line, or an event or two," explains Sabori. "We're striving for sustainability to be truly engrained into the drumbeat of our business and I feel like we're on a good path."