Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Green Surfboards

JP has always wanted to make high-performance, environmentally sound surfboards. Something that is not poisonous to the workers or the immediate surroundings. Something that maybe biodegrades or can be recycled. For past Surfrider events he has collaborated with other environmentally-conscious surfboard builders to create better boards.

What makes a surfboard green though? Is it taking TDI out of foam? Must it be all-natural? We at HSD have some opinions on this that we would like to share.

First, you vote with your dollars. Consumers are the best catalyst for change in business. If you, an eco-minded surfer, want a high performance board made from recycled foam that is durable, ask. If you keep showing up with money in your hand and leave without buying when you can't get what you want, businesses will notice. And change.

Second, there are different aspects to consider when thinking about "going green". If you want to lessen your foot-print and support local businesses, then order a durable epoxy hand-shape from a local shaper that gets boards glassed by surfers in your area. Take it one step further and ask about a blank made from recycled foam or plant-based linseed epoxy. Did you know that styrofoam can be recycled over and over again while retaining all of its virgin properties? Its about as recyclable as aluminum. An important note on the "durable is green" arguement is care. You need to take care of your board and fix dings properly in order for it to last.

Next, we realize that it is a big investment to buy a board made in a new, possibly experimental technology. The board may not come out as fast as "regular" boards and it might be hard to fix. Ask yourself, what kind of car do you drive? A new H3 or a Prius? Why didn't you buy the car that spends more on marketing, because you know that long-lasting environmental degradation is not cool. Ask your shaper or surfshop kid about technologies, feedback from people who tried the boards, how you can try a board, and just be interested in green technology.

Finally, change takes time so be patient and keep asking. Just be willing to experiment, be prepared for some room for improvement, and engage other surfers in discussions about green technologies. Be the change you want to see, isn't that what they say. If you want to learn more, swing by the Surfrider chapter meeting in Oceanside this Weds, July 15. JP and other surfboard builders will be talking about what they've seen and tried, what they are going to try next, and take questions.

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