Surfer Mates

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A website that encourages surfers to get to know one another and helps cut down carbon emissions. Welcome to Surfer Mates, a new website set up by Matt Barlow. We meet up with him for a road trip and a chat.

Clouds disperse across blue sky as motorway signs slip past. An ipod sings about something current, something hip, something trendy.

‘There’s just something about the open road isn’t there?’ says Matt.  He fiddles with the ipod, volume up, smiling.

It is hard not to agree. Looking out at the landscapes and lives that glide past vision, the allure of the mini road trip is nothing but obvious.  I hear the faint rattle of boards tied to the roof as we head towards the North Cornwall coast. Charlie, a girl I met today, sits in the back. She is from Plymouth and is new to surfing. We are in the middle of a car share, a concept that is at the centre of Matt’s new website, SurferMates.

‘The idea came to me a while ago’, he says, ‘when I lived in the city I used to travel 3 hours and park next to someone else who had made a similar journey.  It struck me as a little stupid that we’d both spent all that money on fuel when if we had known someone else was making a similar journey we could have shared a lift. It saves money, and cuts down drastically on emissions if you’re all in the same car”

And it’s exactly what the site offers. A service that puts likeminded, and geographically similar, surfers together to not only save money but meet new people. And in a world where people are increasingly insular due to social networks this can be a very welcome idea.

‘I think it’s good to have somewhere where you can meet other surfers.’ Matt says. “So the car share offers that. I hope that our website actually gets people out more, meeting new people and actually in the water, that’s what it is really all about.”

The website acts as a social network where you create a profile and can browse various car shares that are taking place. Your profile includes information such as where you are from, where you like to surf, your level of ability and there’s also space for a photo to show off that amazing reef you just surfed. 

SurferMates - Lift sharing and meeting new surfers

‘That’s why we get people to state their ability, that way you know that you could both surf a reef. You can share lifts with people of different ability, but you might want to bear in mind that both may have different needs when you get to the beach. Think of your profile as your introduction to other people, we really want you to all meet up and go surfing together.’

Charlie agrees from the back, says that she didn’t really have anyone to go surfing with in her area, so it was nice to get going with her surfing.

‘It’s a great idea,’ she says, ‘and anything that helps me get out on the water a bit more is always helpful. Plus it’s nice to do something different. Meet new people, new stories, new futures.’

Charlie and Matt begin to regale tales of their further ambitions for surfing. Best peaks and sun kissed beaches (although we are in the UK). I sink into my seat slightly, listening. The sea, nor destination, is yet to be in sight. But as the stories flow, it doesn’t seem to matter. 

What a great trip!

We have given SurferMates 5 stars, because, even though it might not be their primary mission, but lift sharing is a great way of reducing our sports Carbon Footprint with less fuel being burnt and less traffic which means more fuel efficient driving! So mad respect and sign up today at SurferMates and meet new surfers and save the environment.

Abd check out our Surfboard Carbon Calculators to offset your surfboards carbon footprint and helping surfing be greener.

Interview by Luke Devereux for Decarbonated

Visit the Decarbonated Consultancy website