Monday, October 19, 2009

Drift Magazine covers "Green" Boards

The online surf 'zine Drift has a nice slideshow and story about the environmental issues associated with surfboard manufacturing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

British shaper Steve Croft on the Difficulties of making an "Ecological" Surfboard

Drift Magazine

MS: Tell me about the eco boards you did for the Eden Project...

SC: Yeah that was a really interesting project and helped raise awareness of how toxic surfboards are. Ten years ago when Mark [Dickinson] and I started out shaping, we put a lot of time and our own money into researching more ecological ways to make surfboards and it’s quite frustrating that this hasn’t developed further. A lot of so-called ‘eco boards’ are not that ecological really, and the technology needs to come a lot further in terms of performance. It says a lot that the boards I build for myself are not ‘eco boards’, and I consider myself environmentally responsible. Saying that, we can’t keep using products that are made from petro-chemicals. The linseed oil resin is really good, but difficult to work with. Polystyrene/epoxy materials have come a long way in terms of usability and epoxy releases at least 50% less VOC’s into the atmosphere than polyester, making it safer for the workers and the environment. I am constantly looking for new ideas and materials to lessen the impact of the boards that we produce. We are currently looking into the viability of having someone produce recycled fins for us. Any new material has to at least match, if not out-perform the current standard, be competitive in price and be necessary to the market. I haven’t yet found a satisfactory replacement for polyester resin and polyurethane blanks on the Empire boards, so I’m working on the Rolls Royce principle of building less but making them last. Hopefully people will still be riding and enjoying the boards that I am building now in 30-40 years’ time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

101 Bamboo Fins

Marlin Bacon at 101 Fins hooked us up with a set of his bamboo fins for our 5-fin board. Marlin has been making incredible wood fins for years, and recently added bamboo to his repertoire. Not only are these great-looking fins made of renewable materials, but the performance qualities and flex patterns are said to be some of the best around.

Here's his story from the site:
  • "In the ongoing quest for lighter, stronger materials for building surfboards,101 Fin Company is looking to natural resources for it's fins. We feature Paulownia wood, Bamboo,Balsa, Kiri, and DyePly. Our fins are naturally light. Up to 65% lighter than rtm honeycomb fins, without sacrificing performance. We exploit the unidirectional nature of wood to give the fin strength and stiffness at the base, while allowing the tip to flex. But the real secret is in the flex memory of the wood itself. Because we hand craft our fins we are able to FinGineer a variety of flex patterns. For example,how about a 1 oz. fin made out of Paulownia that is stiff from base to tip. Or a Bamboo fin with a broad tip that flexes. Whether you're a recreational surfer, a board collector, or a seasoned pro we have a fin for you."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Go with the Grain

Ryan Johnson is our Accounting Assistant in the office. He's learned a lot of wood-working skills from his dad over the years and decided to build a wood surfboard provided by Grain. This is such a cool project: a handmade hollow wood surfboard. You basically eliminate all of the toxic materials associated with traditional surfboard manufacturing. Follow the progress of this board at his blog: Go With The Grain

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Green Foam Shaped

Joey at Green Foam Blanks hooked us up with a blank to try out. We were lucky enough to have Brian Bencz from Laguna Republic put his planer to this recycled foam blank.

We wanted to make this board somewhat user-friendly for a lot of the folks in the office, to make sure it gets plenty of use. It's a 6'4" that's pretty thick through the middle. You can see from the last shot that we went with a 5-fin design, partially because a bunch of us are interested in riding one. See the Campbell Brothers for more info on the design and inspiration.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Green Foam Blanks

The guys at Green Foam Blanks have worked out a very innovative way to reduce some of the waste coming out of the surfboard industry. They collect foam shavings from shapers and re-introduce the shavings into the raw material mix to make new blanks, using a proprietary formula. These new "recycled" blanks come out essentially the same as traditional PU blanks but with some cool specks from the bits of stringer that are mixed in with the collected shavings. Matt Biolas with ...Lost is shaping with them and even getting his team riders on the boards. They hooked us up with a blank and I'll start into the building process for that board in the next post.

Joey and Steve, who run Green Foam, also formed Resurf which aims to keep old surfboards and the waste from the board building industry out of landfills. To do this they are working with local waste collection agencies and shaping factories to redirect the surfboard wastestream away from the landfill into a other uses. It turns out that the materials that surfboards are made out of can be very easily incorporated into asphalt for new roads.

There are already laws on the books that require the recycling of old asphalt and concrete from construction sites, and those materials are collected in a special area of the landfill. Old boards and shaping room foam can simply be added to those collections so they end up getting ground up and reused in the next road construction project. Joey and Steve are working with the local Waste Management agency to develop guidelines so that this process can be replicated throughout the country, and we fully support them in this effort!