Tomorrow, we are hosting a surfboard demonstration at 34th street in Newport Beach, and we will be sharing for the first time a surfboard that has been 3 years in the making.
When it comes to keeping surfboards out of a landfill, we have two firm beliefs about what we can do to eliminate waste:
- Build surfboards that are worth caring for and repairing, so their usefulness lasts DECADES.
- Build surfboards that are realistically going to be recycled, and reward our customers for participating in that with us.
Our foam + fiberglass surfboards are meant to be cherished, enjoyed, repaired, and passed down for many, many years. We use premium-quality materials, and glass them to last. That has been true since the earliest days of Almond. Our answer to the subject of sustainability has always remained the same—if we build our boards to last, then their usefulness will continue on—keeping them out of a landfill.
So, the question remains... why a foamie?
Well, when this project started out, I wanted to explore 2 major themes:
1. Improved possibility for recycling at the manufacturing level.
2. A construction that would allow a surfboard to be built without the use of fiberglass or resin at all, without sacrificing the elements of a surfboard's shape that we desire.
My pursuit and curiosity lead me to a family I had known for many, many years... the Petersons of Marko Foam fame.
These guys have been manufacturing foam products and surfboard blanks for something like five decades.
And it turns out, I wasn't the only one barking up this tree.
The idea of building a recycled surfboard sans fiberglass was right up their alley. Ty, Coby, Kyle, and the crew over at Marko fully understood our desire to maintain the integrity of the shape and we share a commitment to keep the surfboards made in the USA.
Ultimately, we landed on a process that involves creating a perfect 3D mold of our 5'4 Secret Menu, and a complex casting process that creates the most accurate and strongest foam iteration of the desired board, with essentially zero material waste. That entire process happens at Marko Foam's manufacturing facility in Utah.
To give the board the desired rigidity and strength, we positioned two wood stringers to be "floating" inside the board at a very precise depth. The combination of the rugged copolymer foam and the wood stringers gave us a durability and functionality that we are extremely excited about.
The deck pad is added for a wax-free and consistent grip on the deck of the board, while accentuating what would typically be the "cut-lap" as a nod to the aesthetics of traditional surfboard building practices.
The fin boxes in this board are USA-made by Futures Fins of Huntington Beach. It's a foam-board-friendly iteration of their boxes, and they screw through to a plastic washer on the deck of the board, to ensure that the fin doesn't get blown out. We are especially excited to get to work with Futures on this project, because it allows us to utilize what we believe to be the world's best fin system in our boards. We will offer several different fin options, but you are welcome to use your favorite set of Futures-compatible quads.
As far as the subject of recyclability goes, all EPS foam can be recycled. The issue is the feasibility of recycling the foam. Stripping the fiberglass off the outside of a surfboard is a painstaking and uncomfortable process. If you have ever gotten fiberglass splinters in your fingers, you know exactly what I'm talking about. By avoiding fiberglass altogether, we are building a board that can far more practically be returned and recycled at the end of its useful life. We will roll out more detail in the coming months, but we will be offering a rebate to customers who elect to recycle their boards with us.
All this to say, we firmly believe that the construction techniques we are employing will be a sustainable way of manufacturing foam surfboards, and a nice compliment to the long-lasting traditional surfboards we build. We are excited to share this project with you, and get one of our new boards under your feet!