This year’s event campaign is all about ‘going green for the big blue’ and here’s more info on our 2023 sustainability initiatives
KwaDukuza’s Blue Flag Beach Programme
Ocean health is a priority for event hosts, KwaDukuza Municipality. They have adopted Coastal Development & Economic Tourism Strategies, including the KwaDukuza Coastal Management Plan, which ensures best practices, environmental education, sustainability, and beach safety through strategic plans for growth and economic sustainability.
“We recently launched our Blue Flag Beach programme which will support our iconic tourism status as a key beach destination,” explained KwaDukuza Municipal Mayor Lindile Nhaca. “This is an international standard in terms of best practices, environmental education, sustainability and beach safety. We are proud to be hosting the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Festival at Willard Beach, one of three Blue Flag beaches in the area. Through the event, we will bring awareness about protecting our coastline’s environmental richness which is a key tourism asset and economic driver for the region.”
The Ballito Pro’s sustainability goals are also being achieved through public-private partnerships such as between KwaDukuza Municipality and the Ballito Urban Improvement Precinct (BUIP). In addition to existing BUIP programmes that support the safety and maintenance of public areas, BUIP continue to work towards growing its operational footprint during the Ballito Pro to include sustainable undertakings including water testing and coastal upgrades.
O’Neill Blue sustainable product collection
Event sponsor, O’Neill, has a longstanding commitment to the well-being of the ocean through founder, Jack O’Neill’s Sea Odyssey, and Ocean Mission programmes. The iconic surf lifestyle brand is growing its sustainability percentage through the O’Neill Blue global product collection.
“We are extremely proud to be partnering with KwaDukuza on the Ballito Pro again and are very excited about this year’s campaign,” commented Paul Canning, O’Neill Brand Director. “It’s about highlighting the importance of sustainability to minimise the impact on our planet and playgrounds through ocean initiatives, supply chains, and sustainable products. As Jack O’Neill said: ‘The ocean is alive and we’ve got to take care of it.’”
For the Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill Challenger event, the event merchandise – O’Neill Blue – will be manufactured from recycled cotton and polyester, as well as using a recycling process called Repreve, where used plastic bottles from the oceans and landfills are converted into durable fibres to manufacture boardshorts. Throughout the festival, sustainable steps will be taken such as the removal of single-use plastics, recycled polybags, and recycled material hangtags.
NPO support and activations
O’Neill also supports global NPOs who align with the O’Neill Blue Ocean Mission including The Surfrider Foundation, Mauli Ola Foundation, Ocean Works, and Surfers Not Street Children.
There will also be a number of eco-focused campaigns and activations happening throughout, such as the Litter4Tokens awareness campaign and activation, with prizes worth R10 000 up for grabs! The Litterboom Project is also hosting awareness campaigns, beach and river clean-ups, and a 5km Fun Run, with the We are iLembe e-waste campaign dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of electronic waste.
The Litter4Tokens initiative was also launched right here on the North Coast and was founded by Clare Swithenbank-Bowman in Shaka’s Head in 2015.
It has helped to create a circular economy in underprivileged communities countrywide, where waste collectors can exchange what they collect for various essential products.
This has the effect of both clearing waste and allowing residents to look after themselves and their families in a sustainable manner.
Litter4Tokens also pioneered the Mermaid Tears project which raises awareness on the danger of nurdles, the small bits of plastic used in the manufacturing of plastic goods that are harmful to marine life.
Mermaid Tear Catchers which are made of recyclable material (and double as a frizbee) will again be on show at this year’s Ballito Pro.
You can use them to sift the sand, leaving only the nurdles behind and providing a clear picture of how widespread the problem is.
Look out for the trademark nurdle station at Willard Beach – a perfect activity for the kids and a way to educate them about safe environmental practices.
Visit litter4tokens.org for a full picture of the good work they do.
The Litterboom Project
Keeping plastic from entering our oceans and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs, The Litterboom Project (TLP) is future focused.
Founded on the North Coast by Cameron Service in 2017, TLP uses an innovative waste collection approach in eight KwaZulu-Natal rivers and two in the Western Cape.
The group places thick pipes across rivers which catch huge amounts of waste – more than 500 000 kg to date – to prevent it from adding to the worldwide plastic pollution problem in our oceans.
At the Ballito Pro, the best way to support TLP is to join the Hunt Properties run on Friday, July 7, where the company will donate R5 for every participating runner.
TLP would welcome any matching donations from other companies that would like to get involved.
The 5km run through Ballito kicks off at 5.30am from Concha Café.
Visit thelitterboomproject.com to find out more.