FUNCTIONAL CRAFT MEETS SUSTAINABILITY
THE SURFER’S DILEMMA
At its core, surfing is a pure activity, which connects human beings with the raw elements of nature in a way that is becoming hard to find in an increasingly developed world. It relies on a healthy and vibrant environment, and provides community, and physical and psychological well being to many of its devotees.
Unfortunately, the historical practices in the surfing industry have shown it to be far from “green”. The standard surfboard manufacturing process is toxic and emits gases known to deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. It releases VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), which damage the central nervous system, create smog, and contaminate ground water. Surfboards also contain carcinogens. These hazards create a substantial impact to the environment since hundreds of thousands of surfboards are made every year. Since they are neither biodegradable nor recyclable, surfboards are responsible for tons of solid waste entering landfills each year. The larger surf industry including clothing manufacturers, are responsible for environmental and social effects worldwide. And while this information is well known, a significant industry shift has yet to occur. The core of surfing, the surfboard, has relied on the same petrochemical processes for more than 50 years. This daunting reality, leaving surfers, who are environmentally-dependent consumers in a hypocritical debacle, counter to the better wisdom and spirit of our activity.
Our goal at Moss Research is to develop a new surfboard that eliminates these hazards and has the highest degree of recyclability while using a minimum of virgin petroleum-based materials. Ongoing research over the past 4 years has seen several prototypes in testing all with unique and compelling outcomes. As with any manufacturing there are inherent and undeniable impacts. The process may not ever be perfect, but through awareness, collaboration and support we continue our best efforts moving forward. Our results have already yielded a stronger and better performing board with 80% less harmful byproducts. We are continually seeking new solutions in evolving a manufacturing process that allows us to make surfboards with the highest degree of environmental, human, and social responsibility.
10 REASONS WHY STANDARD POLY/PU SURFBOARDS ARE A BUMMER
- They are fragile only lasting a year or two on the average
- They have a high delamination and breakage rate
- They are non-recyclable
- Once disposed, remain in a landfill for an unknown period of time
- They lack flex and degrade in performance from day one
- They leak water after ridden only a few times, causing inevitable delamination
- They emit VOC’s and chlorinated hydrocarbons into the atmosphere
- They are known to contain several carcinogens
- They are reliant on virgin petrochemical processes
- Poly/PU boards are increasingly obsolete.
Yet for all its flaws, the surfing world accounts for a small amount of the world’s environmental problems; our research has shown that the entire sport, with approximately 15 million surfers worldwide, accounts for less than 0.1% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
We believe that surfing has great potential to contribute to the overall sustainability of the world.
With proper information and direction, those 15 million surfers can be responsible for far larger reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions than the 0.1% they are responsible for.