How to Choose a Sustainable Paddleboard

Choosing a sustainable stand-up paddleboard or SUP can be a challenging process. With so many different brands on the market currently, it is difficult to navigate which SUP is both right for you and for the planet. Paddleboards will always be considered a more sustainable option because they are powered by muscle, wind, waves and water flow. Manual watersports are a greener way to enjoy the ocean, lakes and rivers. 

We have researched high and low to find the key factors that you should look out for when you are choosing a sustainable SUP.

Included is a list of paddleboard brands that are taking sustainability seriously. From inflatable to solid paddleboards we know there is a lot to be considered. 

No matter if you are looking to purchase your first or your tenth paddleboard this guide will give you the necessary information to make the best purchase for the planet.

SUP Sustainability Factors

ECOBOARD Certification

The ECOBOARD Project was founded by Sustainable Surf to assist individuals in choosing a sustainable board. They understood that navigating the vast amount of information available can be overwhelming and wanted to make this process easier for passionate boardriders. The project focuses on understanding the latest advancements in eco chemistry and renewable materials. By looking carefully at these materials, the environmental impact of the board can be significantly reduced. 

Boards can display a Level One or Gold Level certification. This means that they have been verified to have the following:

  • A reduced carbon footprint
  • Usage of recycled, upcycled or renewable materials
  • Reduction of toxicity in the materials and processes during manufacturing
  • Usage of one or two ‘Qualified Materials’ (core and/or resin) in the board

ECOBOARD is the only independent, third-party certification process offered in the boarding industry. According to Sustainable Surf, “the original Level 1 requirements represent a significant environmental improvement for any board builder who is looking to get started building more sustainable surfboards, or who want to integrate them into their existing lines. The new multiple Gold Level requirements are meant to highlight the most sustainable surfboard materials available, and the combinations being used by the most progressive board builders. Producing Gold Level surfboards is intended to be a stretch for most board builders, and the requirements were informed by Sustainable Surf’s ECOBOARD Lifecycle Study, which identifies the most effective strategies to reduce the environmental impact of a surfboard related to the carbon footprint and use of hazardous materials.”


Many brands are shifting to more natural materials to create their boards. These include bamboo, hemp, cork and recycled wood. Bamboo is a highly regarded material to be utilised because it creates less waste, is sustainable, strong and requires less resin in the construction phase. 

In traditional board manufacturing, the materials and chemicals that are used are where the majority of the harmful practices take place.

Choice of resins

Resins are critical in the build of the paddleboard. With more plant-based resins available to manufacturers more brands have now adopted this into their build.

Traction Pads

Eco-friendly options for traction pads are now commonly available. Traction pads can be manufactured from cork, recycled materials and/or plant-based materials such as algae. Solace SUP makes its pads out of cork which is able to be harvested from trees with no negative effects. Surftech utilised algae for the construction of their traction pads.

Giving Back

When researching a paddleboard manufacturer it is recommended to know if they give back to their community or environment in any way. Many brands are certified B Corps and donate 1% of their profits to the planet. As part of Starboard’s sustainability initiative, the organisation plants one mangrove for every paddleboard that is shipped. These will be planted in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar. Solace SUP Boards support local and international community initiatives by giving their time to organisations that protect the planet. These include Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Surfrider Foundation and Plastic Pollution Coalition. 

Supply Chain

The smaller the supply chain the less distance that components are required to travel to create the SUP. This, therefore, decreases the emissions that are related to that item. TAHE Sport is transparent about the location of their suppliers and they proudly state that the majority of their suppliers are located within a 1000km radius of their manufacturing location. 

Board Bag

When purchasing a board bag for your paddleboard looking at what materials are utilised is a key factor. Solace SUP utilises hemp fabric for their board bags. This material is just as durable and uses less plastic in construction. 

Sustainable Paddleboard Industry Leaders

We have found the best companies in the SUP industry who are making waves with their sustainability initiatives and innovations. 

Glide SUP

Glide paddleboards have made great progress in reducing their carbon footprint. They currently use sustainable resin, recycle their foam waste, do not use dangerous epoxy paints, reduce their consumption of fossil fuels and have created a safe coating for their paddleboards. One way that they are reducing their carbon footprint is by having their factory in close proximity to their manufacturer. 

Infinity SUP

Infinity SUP has been awarded the Gold Level ECOBOARD certification by Sustainable Surf. They utilise plant-based resins and their boards are constructed from bamboo, hemp and recycled wood. Infinity SUP donates 1% of its profits to environmentally based non-profits.

Invert SUP

This SUP brand has created an ‘ecolicious’ construction method that utilises plant-based resins, wood stringers and a recycled bioplastic board leash. These boards are not only good for the planet but are also durable and lightweight. Check out Invert SUP.

Solace SUP Boards

Solace has been pioneering the environmental construction of their boards by creating paddleboards from bamboo, hemp and cork. They have also created the first-ever hemp board bag which is a durable alternative to traditional plastic board bags. They support their community by donating their time to local non-profits such as Surfrider Foundation, Maryland Coastal Bays Program and Plastic Pollution Collation.


Starboard was the first SUP company to carry the ECOBOARD certification on their paddleboards. This was back in 2017 and they have been making progress on their sustainability efforts since then. Since 2017 their fins, composite boards and traction pads are made from non-toxic and plant-based resins. Startboard is a certified B corp, requiring that they meet the strictest environmental and ethical vetting of any certification process. Starboard is one of the few SUP companies that has reviewed its packaging methods. They exclusively utilise bio-based and recycled materials in their packaging. For every paddleboard that is purchased a mangrove tree is planted in Myanmar. 


Surftech has been a leader in the sustainable SUP world since receiving ECOBOARD certification in 2018. They have many additional environmentally friendly innovations which include an eco-resin with 25% plant-based contents, a reduction in foam waste and traction pads made from algae.

“Surftech is very conscious about making products with ‘environmentally-friendly’ materials whenever possible. We are proud to partner with Sustainable Surf and join the ECOBOARD Project,” says Dan Watts, Surftech’s product director. “Our waterways are our playgrounds, so we will do everything we can to make a positive impact on our oceans, rivers and lakes.”


With a long history of sustainability, BIC Sport and TAHE Sport have finessed their production process so well that it results in zero pollution outputs. From 2016 onwards they have been designated an Ecoride company for their environmental innovations. The BIC Earth SUP is made from bio-sourced, renewable and/or recycled materials. This consists of flax fibre, wood and cork.

Choosing a sustainable paddleboard is not only a great choice for the planet but your health and fitness will thank you for taking careful consideration into your thought process. 

No items found.
if you like this post,

You may also enjoy:

Getting started

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your First Paddleboard

Choosing your first board can be overwhelming. Here's everything you need to know to get started.
Read more
Best of

The 5 Best Paddleboards for Beginners 2022

Not all SUPs are created equal. Here are some of the best boards for beginners.
Read more
Getting started

How to keep your paddleboard in good condition

From cleaning to sun protection and proper storage, these are some of the best ways to keep your board in great shape.
Read more

"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water"

loren eiseley