We are excited to welcome Airush Kiteboarding as the newest brand to join The ECOBOARD project. This innovative kiteboarding manufacturer focuses on environmental and sustainability projects as one of its key ideologies. This step reflects the growth of the ECOBOARD Project into new markets and to a wider global audience and ocean-minded community.
According to Brand Director Clinton Filen, “We are very excited to be part of the ECOBOARD project, as a key part of our broader initiatives to fundamentally change the way we engage with our environment. Our ultimate goal is be environmentally ‘net positive’ and support as much of our industry and broad community to do the same.”
“We’re stoked to be working with Airush, our largest Kiteboard partner, and helping them to shift their board range to plant-based epoxy resins,” says Michael Stewart, Co-founder, Sustainable Surf. “Their commitment to sustainability throughout their entire product range, and to measure and offset their carbon emissions, sets a new benchmark in kiteboarding. We look forward to working with the entire kiteboarding community to develop ECOBOARDS and accelerate our ocean-health movement.”
By pioneering the kiteboarding industry and shifting 100% of their global surf and Foil board production to now use ECOBOARD-approved plant-based, low/zero VOC epoxy resin, Airush’s actions will result in a smaller carbon footprint across their board ranges and reduce the overall impact of their products.
This is done in conjunction with a focus on details such as plant-based resin in their Fin systems and removing the traditional plastic components from board packaging such as bubble wrap and outer dust protection bags.
Airush has also taken this path with Kites, where Kitebags in the majority of their new ranges are manufactured from 100% recycled polyester, developed in alignment with Waste 2 Wear along with a unique kite upcycle program in conjunction with Mafia Bags, where old kites can be converted into unique backpacks and travel bags via Sustainable Surf’s Waste to Waves program.
These focuses on product are combined with an unconventional approach to Carbon offsetting by Airush, coined “One Ton for the Planet”. For every board or kite sold, Airush ultimately offsets one ton of carbon through their support of a mangrove replanting program in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park. (Worldview international foundation http://www.thorheyerdahlclimatepark.org/). In Airush’s 2016/17 Carbon Footprint report, the outcome of 4380 trees being planted results in a projected 4380 Tons of Carbon being absorbed, an estimated 10 times above projected emissions for the same period.
As Starboard Group CEO Svein Rasmussen highlights: “These are some of the first steps for us, and we continue to focus on stepping up our environmental and sustainability focus, without sacrificing our commitment to performance.
Some of these changes are not easy; in this case we had to setup our production in a completely different supplier, Cobra International, due to their clear commitment to take the environmental steps forward.
All of this is only possible with the incredible support of our development team and partners such as Sustainable Surf, Cobra International and the Starboard group.”
Check out this feature Tracks Mag ran on the ECOBOARD Project, which just so happened to come out in time for our official launch at the end of a long Australian summer (yes summer ends in February in Australia…). We will be spreading the ECOBOARD message at the Byron Bay Surf Festival with our friends from Treehouse Surfboards, Firewire, Maurice Cole, Surfboard Agency, Entropy Resins, Marko Foam, Colan and more.
If you’re in the area, drop by our tipi at the festival, which by the way, we’re also helping to make a Deep Blue Event. Can’t make it to the festival, but want to learn more about the ECOBOARD Project and get involved – reach out and let us know.
We’ve said it before – you can’t surf without surfboards (well you can, but not the board surfing variety). You can take away literally everything else – boardshorts, sunglasses, surf movies and surfing lives on. But take away the basic wave sliding vehicle, and surfing culture simply collapses.
Pretty much replicating what the ancient Polynesians were riding, when surfing started to spread globally in the early 20th century, boards were made from locally grown, non-toxic materials. If they ever broke you could reuse or recycle the material for something else, or let it simply biodegrade quickly back into the earth where it helped to grow new surfboards. From an environmental perspective – those ancient boards were close to perfect.
The bulk of modern surfboards, like many other modern plastic products, are largely dependent on using toxic, petroleum-based chemicals, so we’ve actually flipped the original ideas of what a surfboard should be – and therefore the related original values of our surfing culture too – completely upside down. It’s worth noting that we are what we do, and since our current surfboards represent the complete opposite of being strong, non-toxic & transformable back into the building blocks of future generations; then by default, so are we. This is a recipe for personal as well as environmental disaster. Simply put, if our surfboards are the basic definers our surfing culture, then we are by definition: “unsustainable.”
This is a loud wake up call for the surf community to see and discuss the problems we face, so that we can ensure a long term future for the surfing lifestyle and a pristine healthy ocean environment. While we know that the average surfboard as an object is not the largest contributor to a typical surfer’s negative environmental impact (energy use from driving, flying & heating/cooling the home are much bigger), we at Sustainable Surf think that this conversation can be best started by focusing our attention on the most elemental and iconic object in all of surfing history; the simple Polynesian invention that started it all – the surfboard.
Here is our simple vision: if we can change our surfboards to physically embody the ideals of sustainability, then we can change ourselves too. We will learn from that process, and can then apply that experience to tackle much larger issues that we confront as surfers and as simply humans (like reducing energy & water use, reducing pollutants, conserving biodiversity, etc.) If we take these steps now, we can still ensure a long, sustainable future for the culture of surfing, as well as for our amazing watery planet that makes it all possible – it’s really that simple.
Fortunately, we do have the power, tools & ability to change our ways and get back to the original “sustainable spirit” of the first surfboards, without giving up any of the “performance” improvements that modern materials have given to the culture of surfing, since petrol-chemicals were first widely introduced the 1950′s. ECOBOARDS using a new generation of materials & processes have reduced carbon footprints, use (and reuse) renewable, recycled and recyclable inputs, and reduce toxicity within the surfboard manufacturing process.
That’s a win for the environment, and importantly for surfers – a win for our oceans. And, believe it or not – a win for pro-surfers. That’s right, remember Slater’s win at the Volcom Pipe Pro in 2016 – Ecoboard! And Stu Kennedy taking down the world’s best at the Quiky pro – Ecoboards!
So how do we know about the environmental impact that these high-performance ECOBOARDS (made using bio-resin and/or a recycled foam blank) are making – science of course! The environmental footprint of a surfboard depends on the “lifecycle” of each component: raw material extraction and refining, manufacturing energy use, and transportation.
In 2016, Sustainable Surf and Pure Strategies, a leading sustainability consultancy, completed the first in-depth lifecycle study of a more sustainable surfboard. With some help from Entropy Resins, Channel Islands and Firewire Surfboards, we compared the carbon footprint of a standard “poly” surfboard (PE resin/PU blank) vs. an ECOBOARD with bio-based Entropy Resins and a recycled content Marko Foam EPS blank.
The LCA showed a 30% reduction in the carbon footprint of an ECOBOARD and a significant reduction in carcinogenic chemicals used to make surfboards, when using materials approved by the ECOBOARD Project. The study also identified some huge opportunities for surfboard manufacturers to reduce waste, use renewable energy and source more sustainable materials.
The key to making the shift to a more sustainable surf culture is actually YOU – the surfboard buyer. Whether you’re looking for a high-performance whip or an old-school log, there’s an ECOBOARD builder for you. With a mix of big brands with large pro teams, to artisanal craftsmen and women, it’s your choice whether you want to buy an ECOBOARD off the rack at your local shop and start shredding today, or custom order your dream creation with hydro-foil fins and acid-splash resin tints.
|Approved to build||Level One ECOBOARDS|
|Brand Description||Surfing Green handshape timber Alaias, Paipos and handplanes. All boards are made from Australian grown Paulownia timber which is a fast growing, lightweight hardwood. Customers can choose for the boards to be finished in a laminating coat of Entropy bio resin or oiled with 100% natural lanolin oil. Typical customers are wide ranging and include surfers who want to add an extra challenge to their quiver, individuals who like the option of riding both prone and stand up, and board riders who like to have the option of an Alaia or handplane for those small days so they can still get out in the water.|
|Surfboard Sustainability||Level One ECOBOARDS using Qualified Materials.
All materials used for Surfing Green’s timber boards are sustainably sourced as well as the resin or lanolin oil used to finish the boards once shaped. Hand shaped as much as possible to reduce the amount of electricity being used, our Surfing Green boards are as natural as a surfboard can be.
Surfing Green package their boards with as little plastic as possible – degradeable bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, recycled packaging and wood shavings.