Riding the Sustainability Wave: Insights from Eurosima Surf Summit by Richie Jones

by Richie Jones

The allure of France’s picturesque coastal towns, combined with the promise of incredible surf, made a 4 am start feel like a small sacrifice. It was that time of year again, the Eurosima Surf Summit, where industry leaders in brand, retail, governance, and culture gathered in the enchanting Hossegor, just north of Biarritz.

Surf’s Up and So Is Sustainability

The dominant theme echoing through the conference chambers was the challenge posed by climate change and the growing demand from consumers for brands to embrace responsibility. What’s interesting is the pivot in the sustainability narrative – it’s no longer a potential brand positioning strategy to attract a certain type of consumer; it’s soon to become a legislative mandate across Europe.

In France, where we gathered, the French interpretation of this legislation tends to err on the side of maximum compliance. This significant shift in the regulatory landscape made it abundantly clear that brands must prepare for a future where sustainability is not just a choice, but an absolute requirement.

Plotting the Path to Sustainability

One of the conference’s highlights was a session that delved deep into the practicalities of how brands can navigate this sustainability imperative. Etienne Crozet from Lacoste presented an excellent case study that breathed life into conversation. Alicia Boyano Larriba, a Policy Officer at the EU Commission, provided the necessary legal context, leaving no doubt that the time to act responsibly is right now.

But the summit wasn’t all about legislation. Florian Auger, Founder of Outercraft, gave an enlightening presentation on how brands can gear up for tomorrow’s marketplace, ensuring their long-term competitive edge and building for the future. Drawing on behavioural theory, operational strategies, and tales of key innovation projects, he provided valuable insights into staying ahead in a rapidly changing landscape. Something we pursue fearlessly at vvast with a core ethos of Relentless R&D.

Charting a Sustainable Course

The conference culminated in an inspiring dialogue between Jean-Louis Rodrigues from Eurosima and Florent Marcoux, Managing Director of the Surfrider Foundation. Together, they unveiled a reference framework designed to guide the development and implementation of environmental strategies, fully aligned with the 1.5° trajectory of the Paris Agreement.

Epic Waves and A Word to the Wise

It was two brilliant days at Eurosima, punctuated by two unforgettable dawn surfs. The first, will forever be etched in memory—a towering, barrelling spectacle of epic waves that left us breathless and awe-inspired, both about the surf and our role in preserving the beautiful world around us.

A heartfelt thank you to Eurosima for hosting me and providing excellent translation services.

For additional insights into the Eurosima Surf Summit, you can also check out this detailed report from BoardSportSource.