Did you know that a broken surfboard can be bad for the environment? A surfboard is the most crucial piece of equipment that a surfer has. In the earliest days of surfing, surfboards were made of sandalwood and breadfruit trees. Hand-carved surfboards were a huge deal way back then.
These days, surfboard making has evolved to become a multi-billion dollar industry that is reported to produce over 400,000 surfboards each year. This is a very clear indicator that the sport has gained huge popularity in recent years, but this raises some concerns regarding how they are made and what is their impact on the environment.
When a surfboard becomes worn out or damaged, a surfer has only two options, which are either to fix it or throw it out. This is where the problem lies.
Over 70 per cent of surfboards in the market today are made from fibreglass. Fibreglass surfboards are cheaper and easier to produce than traditional surfboards.
In general, there are 2 types of fibreglass surfboards: Polyurethane foam and Styrofoam (polystyrene). Polyurethane foam is more commonly used, despite Styrofoam being less toxic and more durable. This is because the former is cheaper. Polyurethane belongs to the isocyanate class of compounds that are known to be immune-suppressing and cancer-causing substances.
This means that there is an abundance of surfboards in the world that are made from toxic materials that pose a significant risk, not only to the environment but to the lives of human beings and animals.
Broken surfboards left floating in the sea or sunk in the sea bed also pose a threat to marine life which eats this plastic waste, mistaking it for food. Surfboards have already been identified as one of the leading contributors to ever-growing islands of plastic rubbish in our oceans.
Are There Eco-Friendly Alternatives?
The good news is, as more and more people become conscious of issues like plastic pollution and global warming, there’s now a growing demand for products that are made using sustainable materials and processes.
In the surfing industry, this has brought about a totally new category of products known as eco-friendly surfing boards and gear. Through innovative approaches and technology, many brands have managed to produce amazing substitutes that are made from 100% natural materials and have a lower carbon footprint.
So, to answer the question; “Are there eco-friendly surfboards in the market today?” The answer is a resounding YES!
Below are some innovative materials being used in the making of eco-friendly surfboards:
1. Bio-based Resins
These are resins made from eco-friendly foam cores. They are essentially natural substitutes to the epoxy and polyester resin coating used on modern surfboards that are toxic to the environment. Bio-based resins are derived from plant resources as opposed to petrochemicals.
Biofoam is made from oil derived from plant sources. Currently, there are several types of bio-foam in the market, each relying on different plant materials. There’s a bio-foam made from organic soy, a sugarcane-based bio-foam and even an algae-based bio-foam as well.
Mycofoam is made from mycelium, which is the root-like section of a mushroom plant. This foam is both strong and durable. Mycofoam surfboards have gained a lot of popularity in recent years because they are made from biodegradable materials that can easily decompose when surfboards are broken or lost at sea.
Enviro-foam is primarily made from scraps of standard EPS blanks, as well as polystyrene and other recyclable foams. While this is not a 100% eco-friendly production process since the foam relies on raw materials from petrochemicals, however, its carbon footprint is significantly lower because it recycles old foam, which could harm the environment.
At Beachin Surf, we offer a wide variety of surfing essentials. We have surfboards, wetsuits, board bags, clothing, footwear, accessories and surf hardware including eco-friendly alternatives. We are more than happy to help you with your surfing journey.
For all your surfing essentials, please visit us at 262 Maine Road, Toukley, NSW. You can also call ahead to make sure we are there to assist you properly.
Please call us today on (02) 4396 5159 or feel free to send us an inquiry.