Surfing is a sport that is inseparable from the ocean, and surfers have a special appreciation for the environment that they play in. With concerns about climate change and ocean pollution growing, there has been a lot of interest in creating eco-friendly surfboards. The great news is. They exist! The bad news is none of them have really caught on. There are a bunch of reasons that they haven't made it into the mainstream, and we will take a look at that. First, here is a list of some of the alternatives to environmentally unfriendly foam.
Balsa Wood: Balsa wood is a renewable resource that is often used in surfboard construction. It is lightweight, strong, and has good buoyancy. Balsa wood surfboards are also biodegradable and compostable, making them an eco-friendly option. However, balsa wood is expensive, and the demand for it has led to deforestation in some areas. Additionally, balsa wood surfboards require a lot of maintenance and are not as durable as other options.
Hemp: Hemp is a fast-growing, renewable resource that can be used to create a variety of eco-friendly products, including surfboards. Hemp boards are lightweight, strong, and have good buoyancy. They are also biodegradable and compostable. However, the use of hemp in surfboard construction is still relatively new, and the cost of producing these boards is high. Additionally, there are limited resources available for producing hemp surfboards, which makes them hard to find.
Cork: Cork is a renewable resource that is often used as an alternative to foam in surfboard construction. Cork boards are lightweight, durable, and have good buoyancy. They are also biodegradable and compostable. However, cork boards are not as common as foam boards, which can make them hard to find. Additionally, cork boards require a lot of maintenance, and they are not as suitable for high-performance surfing.
Algae: Algae is a renewable resource that can be used to create eco-friendly foam for surfboards. Algae-based foam is biodegradable and compostable, making it an excellent eco-friendly option. However, the use of algae in surfboard construction is still in its infancy, and the cost of producing these boards is high. Additionally, the limited supply of algae can make it hard to produce enough foam for mass production.
So, with a ton of options why then hasn't the eco-friendly revolution started in surfing? I hear plenty of people complaining about it, but most of the time those people have Channel Islands or a Pyzel. The number one reason comes down to money. CREAM. Eco-friendly surfboards are generally more expensive to produce than traditional surfboards, which makes them less accessible to the average surfer. Additionally, many surfers are hesitant to try new materials or construction methods because they are afraid they won't perform as well as traditional surfboards. You don't see John John riping around on an algae board, and you want to surf like John John... right ?!
Another issue is the lack of education and marketing surrounding eco-friendly surfboards. Many surfers simply don't know about the different options available or the benefits of using eco-friendly materials. This lack of awareness makes it hard for eco-friendly surfboards to gain a foothold in the market.
In conclusion, there are a TON of eco-friendly options on the market. If we want to see them in the mix then we are going to have to do the work to get them into the mainstream. Instead of applauding the companies who have sunk boatloads of money into R&D to create a board that nobody buys, maybe get one. See how it feels and then spread the message.