The end of the year is always a great time for reflection and looking at our lives to figure out how we can be better people and do better things.

That’s no different for surfers, especially given our innate connection to the ocean and the planet. We directly derive joy from the earth and should be the ones who are the ocean’s stewards as well as offering others the peace and tranquility surfing gives us.

Better your surfer-self in 2018. Photo: Ryan Brower

With that sentiment in mind, here are six possible New Year’s resolutions any surfer can commit to (and ultimately fulfill) in 2018. Here’s to a healthy, happy, successful and barrel-filled 2018!

Pick up three pieces of trash every session

It takes very little effort to put this in a trash can. Photo: Andrés Nieto Porras/Flickr

This should be a practice every surfer follows every time they walk onto the beach. It takes very little effort, and we’d be willing to bet you see at least three pieces of trash walking to and from the water — so why not pick it up and put it in the trash can? It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Support your local surf shop and shaper

Your shaper only exists because you order boards from them. Photo: troy_williams/Flickr

Without your local surf shop and shaper, there wouldn’t be access to lots of the things we depend on as surfers. And while we have gained access to any surf product located anywhere in the world, your purchase from somewhere other than your local shop and shaper hinders their ability to keep the doors open.

Local surf communities were built on the backs of these institutions and you should consider skipping the online board purchase for a custom order from your local shaper or even buying one off the rack at your local shop. With less and less brick and mortar around these days, your contribution to local business is a good thing for the surf community.

Buy eco

Neoprene is made from oil. Fiberglass and polyurethane foam are also both derived from petroleum. We often tend to forget these facts as surfers that the majority of our gear has a very high cost on the environment.

But there are alternatives all over the place, from clothing to non-petroleum-based neoprene to green surfboard materials, there are options to green your surf gear. Even small changes can make big differences.

Teach one person how to surf

The joy passed on through surfing is infectious. Photo: Christina Spicuzza/Flickr

Or at the very least, give someone some pointers when they look like they could use them instead of yelling at them to stay out of the way.

When you pass on the knowledge you have acquired, it ensures that surfers after you will continue to understand the ethics, techniques and moralities that make up surfing.

Give away at least one wave every session

Giving this wave away would have been much more enjoyable. Photo: Di Sanders/Flickr

The jockeying for waves that we’ve all experienced at some point is never fun. So why do we do it? Obviously in certain places it’s necessary to some degree — if you don’t “paddle battle” you’ll likely never get a wave on a good day at Lower Trestles.

But do we really need to take every single wave that comes our way? Giving someone else a wave each session will certainly add some positive vibes to the lineup, and pleasantly surprise you at the gratefulness of other surfers. After all, stoke in contagious.

Forgo the typical surf trip

Yes, there are certainly many benefits of taking a trip to Indonesia or Central America. But have you thought of the impact flying has on the environment? Fergal Smith gave up a promising young pro surfing career to forgo flying on planes, and maybe that sentiment should alter how we look at surf travel.

Ride your bike to your local spot instead of driving, take a train to somewhere different, or maybe even just a mini road trip along the coast are all ways to switch it up and cut down on the pollution planes cause.

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