Hitting The Waves With Sustainable Surfboards

Hitting The Waves With Sustainable Surfboards

Michelle Chin
May 12, 2011

Modern surfboards tend to be made out of polyurethane, polystyrene, fiberglass and synthetic epoxy, often with a bit of balsa wood down the center for added strength (called a stringer). That's a far cry from the original boards that Hawaiians rode in 1000AD that were made of solid, hand-shaped wood. Barry Snyder is taking back to nature and building surfboards out of locally harvested agave plants.

I found Barry Snyder's listing for the agave "Cactus Board" featured in the video. All that hard work doesn't come cheap at $3,000, but it is a thing of beauty. If you're not ready for that kind of financial commitment, there are other options.

A favorite of surfboard collectors are boards made of balsa wood. It's well-known in the surfboard industry because of its lightness, buoyancy and beauty, but it's not a terribly strong wood and generally requires the use of fiberglass to reinforce it. They are much more environmentally friendly than the typical surfboard. Balsa wood blanks can be easily purchased and customized to each surfer's needs.

Hollow wooden boards are favored by the eco-minded and are usually built out of paulownia, cedar, spruce, redwood, and of course balsa. The downside is that they can easily weight three times more than a foam core board. The Wooden Surfboards Blog has a lot of terrific information and photos.

And of course, surfboards can double as

!

(Video: HDPhotojournalist on YouTube)

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