Aug 12, 2008

Sports - Green to the extreme

The environment is getting gnarly. Surfing, snowboarding and other adventure sports that take place outdoors are, by their nature, intimately affected by climate change and pollution. Which is why everyone in the industry, from individual skateboarders to big-time gear- and apparel-makers, is trying to go extremely green.
This summer brings the most eco-friendly X Games ever--no small feat for a twice-a-year event that draws 140,000 spectators and uses nearly 1,400 pieces of plywood to make its signature vertical ramp. The action-sports competition, which runs through Aug. 3 and includes in-line skating and bungee jumping, features new powering stations where attendees ride bikes to charge their mobile phones and other electronics. The organizers are also offering attendees prizes, like rad belt buckles made from old skateboards, if they recycle. Excess construction materials will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. And those tree-eating ramps? Some of them will be recycled for use in communities in need of public recreation outlets.
Meanwhile, gearmakers have been shifting to more sustainable materials. Most skateboards, for example, are made of Canadian maple, which takes 50 years to mature. But bamboo is replaced in a tenth of that time. Hence Bob Burnquist, one of the world's top pro skateboarders, and his sponsor Flip have been developing a type of board made of bamboo, hemp and maple that he began using in competition in July. You don't have to go "full, purist radical," Burnquist says. His goal? "Connect the coolness factor to the reality of what's possible now."
MINIMALIST SUIT Patagonia's $530 wet suit uses less neoprene, along with recycled polyester, chlorine-free wool and PVC-free kneepads
RECYCLED RAMP Amateurs get to use former X Games equipment like this vert ramp, which was reassembled at a YMCA in California
BAMBOO BICYCLE Calfee Design's bamboo mountain-bike frame costs $2,695. Coming soon: a city version that costs half as much
ECO-WATCH Quiksilver's new $500 Ray is made of sustainable wood and powered by motion rather than a battery
HEALTHIER BOARD Launched in June, Habitat's $55 skateboard deck uses sustainable wood, a vegetable-based finish and nontoxic glue

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