Surf with us and plant your own tree at Gran Canaria

For each surfer who comes to our surfcamp, we will plant a tree! Realize one of the things you have to do in your life. Plant a tree!

Why?

  • To return something to the island, because tourists normally don’t do that
  • To compensate the CO2 emissions caused by the flights to the island
  • To stem the ecological damage caused by surfmaterials of the products we use (neoprene suits, surfboards a.s.o.) Most of the material is created out of crude oil

 

Learn more about our Project The Surfers’ Forest:
Our responibility towards Gran Canaria

1 GAST IM SURF CAMP = 1 BAUM MEHR AUF GRAN CANARIA

In cooperation with the Fundación Foresta, which is responsible for taking care of the plants and its plantation.

The Surfers’ Forest is a nonprofit project created bySurf Camp Las Palmas. Its main aim is to provide surfers the chance to demonstrate their complicity with nature by reforesting Gran Canaria. Our commitment is clear and straight forward: for every customer who stays at Surf Camp Las Palmas, a new tree will be planted at The Surfers’ Forest.

The Surfers’ Forest was born on the island of Gran Canaria, specifically at ‘Finca de Osorio’, which belongs to the mythical nature reserve ‘Parque Rural de Doramas’. Its extension covers 4000m2 which will be able to hold over 400 tree species.

This surfcamp on Gran Canaria, tired of demanding for a better world, has decided to take the lead and make their contribution to change against the actual economic model based on:

- Indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, including the tourism industry (in which we currently work on)

- CO2 emissions and petroleum-based products used in the surfing industry: air and car travel, manufactured material (wetsuits, boards, clothing, …).

Since nowadays there are hardly any processes that prevent these emissions, the only way to reduce them would be balancing them through compensation. Therefore, the best solution found for the benefit of the island and the environment has been reforestation.

Which species will be used in reforestation?

Laurisilva, or laurel forest, is a type of subtropical forest which is commonly found in the Macaronesian region (Azores, Madeira Islands and Canary Islands). Thanks to the ideal conditions offered by the Canary Islands, it is one of their most characteristic forest environments. Although the laurel occupied a significant percentage of northern Gran Canaria, it now covers just a limited 1% of the original.

The Surfers’ Forest aims to thank Mother Nature for all those great moments she provides us with. At the moment this project is targeted for guests from Surf Camp Las Palmas, though in its second stage of development we will open the doors to other surfers and related companies that wish to contribute to this good cause.

Gran Canaria is clearly an island with a green trend. The images and maps that show how the island looked like in the past allow us to see how Gran Canaria counted with woodland, mainly pine, thermophilic and ‘monteverde’ forests.

After the conquest of Gran Canaria, the new settlers saw this forest stand as an obstacle for activities such as agriculture and cattle, rather than seeing it as the sustainable resource it really is. During these years, products consuming large amounts of wood for fuel such as sugar were elaborated, leaving these forests malnourished. Such practices continued over time to for settlements to stablish or to obtain raw materials, preventing forests from self-renewing and leading to processes such as erosion and desertification. Therefore, the need for economic and social development was largely covered thanks to (or sadly due to) the use of canary forests.

As can be seen, Gran Canaria welcomes in a small space countless natural and manmade landscapes that live perfectly together. The canary forest provides this island with many irreplaceable added values​​. Through The Surfers’ Forest we would like to help reforest Gran Canaria and give her back the green appearance she once enjoyed with great fullness. Tourism has been one of the activities that has contributed to this process. Now that we participate actively in this sector, we would like to provide tourism in the island with a 180º turn in which not only the environment is preserved, but also improved.

The Laurisilva on Gran Canaria

The island of Gran Canaria, regarding its northern half, was once covered by extended, thick and leafy laurel forests that have disappeared over the years. Gran Canaria had at that time a great forest known as ‘Selva de Doramas’ which spread along the north and northwest slopes of the island. This large ecosystem consisted of what is known as monteverde, made up of Laurisilva (laurel forest) and fir-heath forests inhabited by numerous species such as laurel, the tiles, the heather, ferns, etc.

The Laurisilva, also known as laurel forest, is a subtropical forest type that occurs in wet and warm locations, whose leaves resemble those of the laurel, from which it takes its name. Therefore the laurel is characteristic of the Macaronesian region, which includes the Azores, Madeira Islands and the Canary Islands with its warm-humid temperate climate, making it one of their most characteristic forest environments.

Given the conditions required for its survival, these forests are found at an altitude of 500 to 1,200 meters high, where the trade winds favor the ‘sea of ​​clouds’ commonly found at the Canaries and thus, mists and horizontal rain take place. Here trees can reach 30 meters in height.

Although the laurel came to occupy a significant percentage of northern Gran Canaria as the pictures show, nowadays it covers only a limited 1% of the original laurel. Today we may find them in areas like Moya, Guía, Teror and Valleseco, and it’s at Finca de Osorio where the older specimens can be found, host of The Surfers’ Forest.

For some of us, surfing is a lifestyle. We couldn’t imagine a world with no waves, no surf. Luckily, Mother Nature provides us with waves to surf, but do we surfers return the favor?

Most surfers we have met are usually open minded to the idea that we, as humans, are affecting the climate through our carbon emissions. However when you think about activities such as hiking, surfing, and so on, you may think to yourself you’re not doing anything to affect nature and contribute to climate change “C’mon, it’s surfing! We love nature”. But you are, in fact we all are. In order to surf, we need to use surfboards, wetsuits, clothing, and some even need to travel by car or bus to reach their favourite surfing spots. Result: CO2, CO2 and more CO2 released.

At the end of the day surfing is a luxury. We are now more aware of this situation and as a result, we need our hobbies to become green, including surfing. All of its carbon emissions, whether direct or indirect, can be made more sustainable so that everyone, including future generations, can enjoy this amazing feeling surfing brings.

If you think about it, energy is used to make everything, and of course petrol comes along here. If you think about the life of a surfboard, it consists in: extraction of raw materials – processing them – manufacturing – transportation – shaping – repair & maintenance – disposal. This whole process consumes wood, energy, and therefore petrol, which means more CO2 goes into the atmosphere. For instance, an average Polyester resin Shortboard around 6’1 produces around 400lbs (180kg) of CO2. That’s about the amount a passenger produces on a one-way flight from Madrid to Gran Canaria (1,800km). But an Epoxy 9’1 Longboard produces around 1,000lbs (450kg) of CO2, just for one single surfboard! The annual production of new surfboards is estimated to be roughly 750,000, which creates around 220,000Tons of CO2. And there’s yet to add the travelling impacts.

How can we stop this?

Nowadays there are hardly processes that can avoid these carbon emissions. Therefore, one of the best way to reduce them is by compensation. What does this mean? Well, we know that trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, so if we plant more trees, we will be balancing these carbon emissions.

The amount of CO2 absorbed by a tree depends on the type of tree. For example, if we take the extension that holds The Surfers’ Forest, an acre, and we introduce 120 mature pine trees, these can absorb up to 5 tons of C02 per year. So the more trees we plant, the better of course.

Not only reforestation reduces climate change, but it also provides food and shelter for animals, improves water filtration and aquifer recharge, protects soils from wind and water erosion, stopping climate change and preventing desertification and of course deforestation.

So through The Surfers’ Forest we are trying to compensate our carbon emissions giving something back to nature. Without nature, we just couldn’t surf. Think about one of your favorite low tide reefs. Well if we keep up contributing to climate change with our carbon emissions, sea level will rise and these low tide reefs you love will work less often.

Act now! Plant a tree! And if you come to Surf Camp Las Palmas, you’ll get the chance to plant your tree with your own hands in our Surfers’ Forest.

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