????? September 2021
How Surfboards can Inspire the World
[5-10 minute read]
social + environmental programs / activism (SFC etc)
but how about surfboards...
But how about leading the way with sustainable surfboard designs? Competition is fierce and it's growing...
incremental shift towards sustainable surfboards, speeding up
what was a small niche and was mostly driven by sustainable surf in the US, is now becoming an essential arm of every major surfboard org. Market demand, peer pressure, a green conscious, or a bit of all those things... it's clear there's no turning back and sustainability is here to stay. What other global sport or physical activity is so connected to nature - specifically the ocean - other than surfing? Other ocean-based sports and activities, hiking, camping, or even gardening. There seems to be an uprising forming at an electric pace that is clearly driven by those involved in surfing.
I definitely think the materials are pretty transferable, and it would be cool to see flax and other natural fibres and resins used in the boating and marine industry, especially as they use huge volumes of materials. I feel all it would take would be one team to change what they are doing, then the whole culture of boat design would change with it.
The board is made with a seaweed based foam blank that I’ve made, with a laminate stringer made from masks. The seaweed foam is still a serious work in progress, just trying to make it more consistent and predictable to shape.
We first noticed your work with your incredible cardboard surfboard. Can you tell us more about this, and your thoughts on how a cardboard surfboard could be taken seriously as a genuine mass-produced product?
I got the idea of the cardboard surfboard by studying a chair design by Frank Gehry [American architect] called the Wiggle Chair, made 50 years ago.
This example is a mass produced chair, the surfboards that I have built are all hand-made, which made it hard to build. However, I am convinced that with some tools and machines I can make it happen. It would be great to be able to mass produce with our leftover waste.
Your latest project (which we love) involves skateboards made from cardboard, called Trash Boards. Can you tell us more about this project and how you hope the story unfolds?
The surfboard project needed a little bit more R&D to be developed, so I started the skateboard project which is easier to manufacture independently with my own hands. I started the production of cardboard decks [the main body of the skateboard], discovering they are super strong, light and waterproof due to the application of a bio-based resin.
I really like this project because skateboards are mainly made with Canadian wood, which means the skateboard industry is not the most eco-friendly industry. I like to be part of something that could change people's minds on how we can positively make a change.
Can you tell us about your relationship with the natural environment and sustainability?
Sustainability is part of my thoughts in every minute of the day. It is hard to explain but every motion that I experience, I think to myself, "is this good for the environment or not."
Of course we cannot be 100% perfect, but we can do our best. Even the smallest of actions can make a change, and I like to be that sort of role model.
What stands out, or gets you excited, in the world of sustainable product design?
I love it when someone thinks of something different from the mass-produced world of products, it makes it super special. I am surrounded by people who all contribute to this state of mind; ceramists, wood workers, shapers, designers… anyone can make a difference in our world.
I have also been lucky to travel a lot in the north of Africa, where they know a lot about sustainability without even knowing it! It's a place that just lacks elements of industrialization, which actually makes them closer to natural thoughts and processes, which is very inspiring .
Final thoughts on the future of Planet Earth, surfing, skateboarding or anything else at all?
I like to be optimistic, we're gonna make it! Just like they did before, it's gonna take some time - but we can change the destructive industries by buying better products.
As creators, we need to change minds and open surfer's eyes to what the industry is all about, how things are made and ask ourselves - how can we make a difference?