Thursday, March 6, 2008

Nathan 1:-Eco-Friendly surfboards

My views on the surf industry are those of mixed emotions. No longer do we have the laid back surfers role of the 70’s where they were just living a healthy lifestyle surfing uncrowded waves and finding new surf spots up and down the Australian coast, It is a now multi-billion dollar world wide industry with the likes of Rip Curl, Billabong and Quiksilver mainly dominating the surf wear
 markets with lots of smaller companies making inroads on the market. With all the focus on surf clothing and money going around and around I’m not hearing about any focus and money being invested into on the eco-friendly surfboard, Sure the surfboard has come along way in design from its birth in Hawaii but what is going to happen to all those old surfboards with polyurethane resin and foam which does not biodegrade?? Sure some people are hanging onto old surfboards and restoring them to former glory for display purposes etc but now we’re seeing epoxy lightweight boards coming out but there’s no worldwide focus on an environmentally friendly surfboard. Whatever the pro surfers are using the rest of the world wants to use, Especially the younger kids. They don’t want to use a board that’s been made out of wood and potato peelings from a company in the U.K in 2006 they want to use whatever Kelly Slater or Mick Fanning is riding now. Eco-friendly surfboards are struggling to get into the market because of the weight and performance involved with professional surfing these days.. A company called Home-Blown Bio-foam surfboard blanks in Canada of all places being made out of plant based resin materials they have 50% of there foam sourced from plant based product which there now mentioning at this stage replacing toxic polyurethane/polyol.

(pol·y·ur·e·thane [pòllee yrə thàyn] Synthetic plastic: a thermoplastic polymer that contains an NHCOO chemical group. Use: resins, coatings, insulation, adhesives, foams, fibers.

(poly.ol) (alcohol with multiple hydroxyl groups: an alcohol that contains more than two hydroxyl groups, e.g. glycerol)

Bio-foam suggest that the plant based foam product results in 36% less global warming emissions and a 61% reduction in non-renewable energy use where as a typical surfboard you’d buy today would contain 100% polyurethane foam and resin not only harmful to the environment but deadly toxic to the surfboard shapers and people glassing (resin coating).

For more info..

Another company has come up with a balsa-wood core wrapped with hemp cloth and claims to be 100% bio-diverse but they mention using balsa wood sourced from Nicaraguan rainforest's?? But the boards are still being glassed in a polyol resin. 

For more info….


Now there is another option which incorporates a bamboo or supergrass in its core 15% lighter than a normal surfboard (claiming more turn and speed) and resists denting, made from a material with weight for weight twice the strength of fibreglass (again claiming six times
stronger than steel) and ridden by legendary Hawaiian surf champ Sunny Garcia (I’d like to know if it flexes like a normal surfboard??).. again still glassed in polyol resin until plant based resins are found which I’m sure wont be to far off but at least these companies are on the right track making boards that if you took it to the dump wont stay there and disintegrate spreading toxic foam, fibreglass
 and polymer resins into the earth.

for more info….

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