With surf season in full swing, short-boarding is more popular than ever. As long-board pros shift to a shorter board, many are turning to soft top boards for training in an effort to save money on equipment that they know may be damaged. Orange County, California’s Doyle surfboards have a major presence in the country’s child surfing and learning market. While these cool little surfboards may seem like a cheap alternative to a professionally shaped board, consumers should think twice before purchasing a Doyle. This surfer-owned company should tell customers a lot more about where their new favorite toy comes from and how they can ensure that their purchase does not contribute to ocean pollution. Because, let’s face it, the last thing that any surfer wants to do is trash their favorite break.
Doyle soft-top boards are made of foam, but the exact type of foam remains a mystery. The rest of the board’s composition is also kept in the dark. The fins and leash appear to be made of plastic with a fabric velcro strap for attaching to a customer’s leg. This extreme lack of transparency in the materials department raises some red flags. Both foam and plastic are derived from petroleum, a byproduct of harvesting oil. Oil drilling contributes to ocean disasters like oil spills or the recent flaming waters incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Clearly, petroleum-based products are not ocean friendly. So, Doyle, why won’t you use an alternative product, or at least be honest with us about where your foam and plastic come from? Transparency is key to sustainability.
Again, Doyle leads consumers on a wild goose chase to find even a snippet of information about how their boards are made. There is only one manufacturing detail that Voiz was able to track down for sure: Doyle surfboards are made in China. Despite their largest market residing in California, this Orange County based company chose to outsource their labor to Asia. The company does not state this directly on their website, but, with some good old fashioned research, consumers can dig up this important detail. Outsourcing leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions as companies ship their products across the world to the dealers that sell them. These unnecessary emissions mean that surfboard purchasers are contributing extra to the warming of their favorite surf spots, which kills massive amounts of marine life. Another concern associated with a lack of transparency that surrounds outsourcing is working conditions. Without knowing how boards are made and how workers are treated, consumers should question the ethics of Doyle’s production line.
Doyle Surfboards is a pro-surfer-turned-board-shaper’s brain child. Named after founder and awarded pro-surfer, Mike Doyle, the company has a wide reach in the surfing community. Originally their only product, Doyle soft-top boards were made for learners and kids alike to make the surfing community more economically inclusive. While the sentiment behind the product is nice, the lack of transparency that surrounds this company’s corporate operations is not. With zero sustainability information, no eco-friendly goals, and a complete lack of supply chain information, it’s impossible to call Doyle Surf a responsible company. Exploring their company policies is a complete guessing game, leaving consumers with only speculations that surround this brand’s reputation. The remedy to this problem is simple: transparency. If Doyle can learn to provide its consumers with the information they deserve to make an educated purchase, they can learn to be sustainable, too. Doyle, do better.