The foam board revolution has been hailed one of the grandest changes in the surfboard’s history since the invention of the fin. But after many decades of buying and using these surfboards, many of our eco-conscious brethren have realized that they have been hypocrites. We needed to change the materials used in shaping and glassing our precious boards. Firstly, the foam itself is being wasted every time a board is snapped at Pipeline, meaning that more energy is being used to create more blanks – much like wasting paper. And the resin used (polyurethane) to glass the boards is highly toxic and the leftover resin is left to fill the landfills, where the seagulls will feast upon it and probably die. As much as we love mother nature, our current methods are actually destroying her. Yeah, I know, seagulls are annoying.
The first thing that comes to mind when creating a “green” surfboard is wood – surfboards made entirely out of wood. If you buzz through youtube really quick, Patagonia videos has a cool video series called “Wood is Good” showcasing Tom Wegener’s discovery of the wooden surfboard. After you ponder a bit, hollow, wooden surfboards are a blatantly obvious choice for making a greener surfboard, as it made only from natural materials. As more of an incentive for making them, wooden surfboards supposedly last forever and ride much better than any foam board. Furthermore, besides the classic log (it’s literally a log), the renaissance of wooden surfboards also branches off to the past, as olo and alaia surfboards are recreated and being exposed to the modern surfboard market. The only major drawback to wooden surfboards is that they are very expensive.
For those who still want to ride on foam and has a limited wallet, the advent of many eco-friendly materials are being integrated into the production of the modern surfboard. Green Foam Blanks is just one of the companies that are dedicated to making foam blanks out of green materials such as soy or reused foam. But foam is not the only focus of the green revolution. Bamboo cloth, bamboo resin, linseed oil-based resin and other similar materials are being used to glass the surfboard. Ned McMahon of HomeBlown US claims that surfboards made with eco-friendly materials are no more expensive than what we are buying right now (assuming you’re buying a foam/polyurethane surfboard). Firewire surfboards and other epoxy-based boards are also more environmentally friendly than the traditional polyurethane board. But aside from the board itself, fins are also being targeted by the revolution as bamboo fins are being introduced into the market. They are strong, roughly 50 percent lighter and have a flex memory comparable or exceeding that of a standard fin. Plus, they float (this actually helps…) and bamboo is totally renewable.
But let’s backtrack here for a sec. Reusing foam is a practice becoming more and more common nowadays for making a green surfboard. Recycling boards is one of the ways to get the reused foam. But with recycling boards, comes more opportunities to to become greener. A company called Resurf is recycling the whole board, where they would grind it to dust, and put it toward making cement mixes and other uses, further reducing the wasteful production of old-fashioned industrial materials.
As the world becomes more and more threatened by our (people) wasteful practices, these little changes can help build up to change our planet for the better. Please do your part such as public awareness, picking up trash, buying organic, not wasting water or electricity, and using your car as little as possible. If we all did these little things, our carbon emissions would immensely reduce. Now if only we could those frickin’ oil companies to switch to that hydrogen stuff they’ve been talking about…
Lets enjoy this planet, and let others after it enjoy it.