There are two main obstacles in spreading the gospel of sustainable surfboards to the masses: the relative scarcity of eco-friendly board choices, and the unwillingness of top pros to compete on alternatively-produced equipment. Both of those boundaries are soon to be smashed. Firewire, one of the largest surfboard manufacturers in the world, will soon make all of their boards according to the standards of the ECOBOARD Project, an initiative from the non-profit organization Sustainable Surf. An ECOBOARD label verifies that a surfboard has a foam blank made with recycled or bio-based content, and is glassed with resin that’s at least partially bio-based too. It’s the first time a shaping company of this size has made the sustainable switch and committed to producing each and every single board they make in a more eco-friendly manner.
“The surfboard industry is a long way from sustainable manufacturing,” said Firewire CEO Mark Price, “but we still have a moral, ethical, and, hopefully, a soon-to-be commercial obligation to make our products as eco-friendly as possible, without sacrificing performance.” And they’ve already put their money where their mouth is, having quietly switched to using Entropy’s bio-based resins on all of their equipment back on June 1.
Touring pros Michel Bourez and Sally Fitzgibbons will now take it to the rest of the world’s best while riding eco-friendly sleds. Timmy Reyes, Firewire’s freesurfing pro, will be having his photo taken shredding the waves of your dreams on his sustainably-built boards as well. So now, wanting to ride only what the pros ride can include boards made with an eye toward being less environmentally-ruinous than conventionally-made toxic sticks.
It’s not just Firewire either. SUPERbrand’s California facilities will now make all of their epoxy boards under the watchful eye of the ECOBOARD Program. And Grain Surfboards, making their lovely wooden boards out of Maine, are also now on the program, certifiably using only sustainably-harvested wood and bio-based resins for their hand-built beauties. ECOBOARD also works with E-Tech Surfboards, a eco-friendly shaping company that also glasses lots of ECOBOARDS for Mayhem and Channel Islands, among others.
For years now, we’ve wondered when the surfboard industry would make a real push to embrace sustainably-made equipment. It looks like a substantial step has been taken.