Over the past several years the phrase “Go Green” has been created and used alongside almost everything. “Go Green” can relate to your lifestyle, your refrigerator, your food, your car and now it even relates to your surfboard. Green Foam, a company in San Clemente, Ca. has pioneered a new “green” technique of making surfboard blanks.
Who Came Up With The Idea
Joey Santley, co-founder of Resurf.org, has been finding ways to reduce the waste created within the surf industry. They started with taking old surfboards and finding different uses for them. The best use they found was to grind them up and add them to asphalt and concrete mixes. They do a great job at creating more volume and don’t affect the durability.
After awhile, they wanted to do more at resurf.org and started to figure a way to use the polyurethane “dust” left after shaping a surfboard. Over the last 50 years people have thought of trying to figure a way to use the dust but could never come up with anything. It became a “fact” amongst shapers that it was unusable waste. Joey Santley has turned the fact into a myth and now uses the dust to create new surfboards.
Why Green Foam Came About
1,000s of surfboards are created everyday from polyurethane foam blanks. From these rough pieces of foam, shapers cut and sand away around 20-30% of the foam to create a surfboard. That 20% of extra foam then becomes waste and is usually found in the form of dust throughout the shaping room.
This polyurethane dust is really bad for the environment because it doesn’t break down and biodegrade. Before Green Foam came around, the dust was collected and thrown away, ending up in landfills.
Since the dust is so fine it can easily end up in streams, creeks, rivers, or even in a surfer’s playground, Mother Ocean.
How Green Foam Is Made
As stated earlier, 20% + of a surfboard blank is wasted every time a board is made. Not only is it wasted, but the waste isn’t environmentally friendly nor is it good for your health if inhaled (this is why shapers wear masks while shaping). With all these negatives surrounding polyurethane waste, it is great that there is finally a positive use for it. Now the waste is collected and added to batches of new ingredients to make brand new foam blanks.
The green foam blanks being produced now aren’t 100% recycled foam, but they are around 60%+ recycled materials. This is the process in its most basic form. What really goes into making a green foam blank is top secret. I’m pretty sure nobody knows except for Joey Santley and his crew. We do know that surfboards have finally found their place in the circle of life.
Pros And Cons Of Green Foam
The great thing about green foam is that there are way more pros than cons. Here is our list of pros and cons. I had to stretch on the cons since there really aren’t any.
– You are lessening your impact on the environment by using green foam
– All the reviews on how the foam works when being shaped, glassed, and ridden have all been positive. They haven’t been able to see a difference in green foam vs. traditional foam
– You can impress the ladies by telling them you use green foam and are trying to be more environmentally friendly
– Your board will look quite unique with bits of stringer and other things from shaping bays that get swept into the mix when collecting the dust
– Maybe in the future, Obama will give you a tax deduction for using green foam?
– A green foam blank will cost you a tiny bit more. At Fiberglass Hawaii they cost you $4 more than a traditional blank. Is $4 more really a con when you are saving the environment though? I told you I had to stretch
– If you like a perfectly white board, the bits of stringer and things embedded into the foam might bug you. So this is both a pro and a con depending on your OCD level
Overall, Green Foam is doing great things. They have taken the surf industries largest impact on the environment and created a way to reduce it and hopefully completely do away with it someday. If you can look past the bits of stringer and small holes in your blank you should definitely have your board made from Green Foam. As surfers we need to protect the environment. Since Mother Ocean gives us so much we need to do all we can to give back to her. Using Green Foam is one of those little ways we can give back.
What do you think? Will your next board be Green?