Do you know where your surfboard comes from?
How would you feel if I told you that the surfboard you've been riding for the last few years is toxic?
Sure, polyester/polyurethane surfboards feel good under your feet...but they carry a significant environmental impact.
If this makes you feel uneasy than it's time you consider a sustainably built surfboard. You can easily reduce your carbon footprint easy by picking a board that was built with the environment in mind.
Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Eric Gieselman, Shane and Jackson Dorian, Dave Rastovich, Pacha Light, and many more professional surfers have been riding sustainable surfboards at an elite level for years. They are just as good, if not better, than they're PU cousins.
Nowadays there are several brands in the "eco" game that make some incredible boards. They do, however, tend to carry a hefty price tag.
New surfboards from Solid are not only built using natural earth materials, but they will also keep your wallet happy :)
A Bit About Solid Surfboards
Built in San Diego, California, Solid Surfboards have been making a major push in the surfboard scene over the last several years. From bottom feeding grovelers, performance shortboards, and classic noseriders - Solid has a board to fit your style.
Solid shaper and founder, Dan O'Hara, grew up in New York and started shaping boards around 2004. After shaping boards for East Coast surfers for years, Dan knows a thing or two about boards that work for our waves.
He started out making poly boards but couldn't get over how toxic the fumes were. Talk about a tough work environment! Soon after he started using epoxy (which has over 1000x less Volatile Organic Compounds than PE) and hasn't gone back.
He moved from his hometown in New York to San Diego back in 2008, and since then has been pumping out surfboards with his own unique twist: built with sustainable materials that lower the environmental impact of his product.
In a surfboard world saturated with traditional (albeit toxic) polyester/polyurethane built surfboards, it's not easy to convince surfer's to try alternative constructions.
We've been carrying Solid Surfboards since 2013, and have watched the boards get better and better over the years. And at the forefront of all of this progress, is the technology that Dan has been continuously developing - called Bioflex.
Bio-Flex: Natural + Sustainable Materials
When Dan first started to develop the Bio-Flex construction, he took the time to look at each component of a surfboard and it's environmental impact.. from the resin to the stringer.
He found that the materials used in manufacturing polyester/PU boards had a massive carbon footprint (literally petroleum based!) and also created a toxic environment for board builders thanks to all of the chemicals involved. Toxic from cradle to grave.
Dan took the time to develop a construction that would be durable enough to handle surfing along the rocks up here in RI, still have the same performance and flex that we like to feel in a poly board, and was much more eco-friendly.
Starting with the resin, Dan was able to find an epoxy resin formula that is plant based and has 0 volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Standard epoxy resins have significantly less VOC's than polyester resin, but they are still petroleum based. Using an epoxy "bio-resin", Solid is able to reduce their carbon footprint while also keeping their board builders safe from inhaling harmful toxins. Win Win!
Next thing that Solid changed was the stringers. Wooden stringers hold their own environmental impact. We cut down trees, ship them across the planet, have them cut into thin 1mm strips, then have them glued into a blank. That's a pretty labor and resource intensive process!
To green this up, Solid looked outside the surf industry at a material that would act as a stringer - a dark, fine-grained volcanic rock that we call Basalt. Basalt fiber takes 600 times less energy to produce than fiberglass, and is strong as hell!
It's also 2 times more flexible than carbon fiber (which you see in many epoxy boards nowadays). This translates to more flex and responsiveness through your turns, and also eliminates the "chattery" feel that's often paired with epoxy boards. It's also great because it eliminates the need to cut down trees for stringers.
Solid Surfboards also offers hemp as an alternative to fiberglass. Hemp is 100% organic and is one of the worlds strongest natural fibers. It can be harvested several times a year, and requires a very small of water. Fiberglass, on the other hand, isn't the worst compnent of the surfboard - but it does require a good amount of energy to be made. Fiberglass has to be molten for at least 14 days in order for it to be extruded into fiber. As you can imagine, it takes a good amount of energy to keep it that hot for 14 days straight.
Lastly, Solid uses an EPS foam core that is 100% recyclable. It's steam blown and offers a low VOC and sustainable alternative to non-recyclable foam scraps the end-of-life surfboards. It's also compression resistant, making them more durable than traditional EPS foam that can be prone to dents if the glass job is light.
After shaping a batch of boards, Solid recycles all of their excess foam cuttings with a company that up-cycles the scrap into other foam products, eliminating waste from the manufacturing process.
After all that tech talk, you might be thinking of these boards will run you a cool 1000 bucks. The great part is, they are coming in under 7!
That's a steal for a hand-shaped board with alternative materials!!
Now that we got you stoked on the tech behind these boards, lets me run you through our two favorite summer time models.
A modern take on the cult classic mini simmons! The Bento Box is a super user friendly board design for all sorts of waves, with instant speed, inherent glide and flow. This board is FUN
The fist thing you notice is how it looks like the front half of a longboard. It literally looks like someone chopped off the top 2/3s of a noserider and then cut a double diamond moon tail into it!
We had the Bento Box built for us using their most eco-friendly construction - Bio-Flex with a full hemp layup on the top and bottom. This not only adds to the durability, but also gives the board a bit of weight which increases the paddling glide. Ideal for a windy day at Point Judith!
I got this board in a 5'0 ( x 21 x 2.38 @33L) to use as my tiny wave board. Although this is above my standard short board volume, I wanted something on the floatier side that could get into small waves early and easy.
I've always been a big fan of the super short and stubby small wave boards (like the Firewire Baked Potato/Twice Baked), and this one does not disappoint. It catches waves better than any short board I've ever been on, and since its so short I can throw it around pretty easily.
I also love the feel of the concave deck. I've been skateboarding for most of my life, so this just makes the board feel familiar.
Leave your log at home and grab a Bento Box.
It'll even fit in the front seat of your car!
The Stub Squash is an insane small wave performance board!
It takes all of the best elements of the Sasquash and Bento Box models and packs into one shape. The outline of a performance board, with a ton of small wave ability under the hood.
We had the Stub Squash built without the full hemp layup to keep the board lighter weight. It's still using the same foam, basalt stringer, and resin as the Bento - but with just a hemp tailpatch paired with a standard fiberglass wrap.
Dan recommends riding the Stub Squash with a set of 2+1 fins - a large upright twin fin with a trailer. The Mark Richards "MR" twin specifically is what he recommended when he dropped the board off. This fin configuration offsets the fuller rail and gives you added pivot, allowing you to make quicker turns in sub par surf.
With the Stub Squash you can enjoy maximum speed without having to sacrifice performance.
My Stub Squash is 5'5 x 19.75 x 2.35 at 31 liters. Again, I went a touch bigger than my normal shortboard to help in smaller waves when I want a bit more float. I haven't gotten a chance to get this one in the water yet, but will update this space once I do!!!
Both of these models will obliterate small waves.
If you're like me and don't want to ride a longboard when the waves are small, than get your feet on either of these shapes and I can guarantee a fun session. You'll be wishing you got on one sooner
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