Q+A: Advancements + Sustainability
Here is a question from Chance S, regarding advancements in surfboard technology:
There have been a lot of advancements in surf technology in the past few years. We've seen wave pools, new stringer technology, and advancements in foam technology that are more sustainable. Does Almond have any plans to utilize any of these advancements into their boards?
As you mentioned, there have been advancements on many, many fronts in the surfboard world recently. The most noteworthy and newsworthy development related to surfing has been the explosion of attention around wave pools in the past year. Kelly Slater's methodical release of internet videos pretty much set the surfing world on fire.
Wave pools present a very interesting opportunity for surfing, because of the obvious introduction to new geographic markets and the ability to control variables like never before. Like any new technology, the introduction of the wave pool has certainly experienced bumps in the road. All that said, expect to see those bumps ironed-out, and I imagine many of us will have at least tried a man-made wave by this time in 2018.
Advancements in surfboard construction certainly take a back-seat to things like Kelly Slater's 30-second barrel 100 miles from the Ocean, at least as far as headlines go. But, that doesn't discount the impact of cleaning up our industry and prioritizing sustainability in manufacturing.
If potentially millions more people are going to be exposed to surfing in the next 5-10 years, wetsuit and surfboard production could see substantial growth in output. Making wise choices now could be paramount in influencing how products are sourced and manufactured, as the sport grows.
Point of interest: This year, we saw Patagonia unveil their first neoprene-free wetsuit.
Our approach at Almond has always been "let's build surfboards that are going to last for decades" for two primary reasons.
- Keeping boards in use and out of the landfill is a very high priority. Whether the surfboard is biodegradable is irrelevant if it's not in the landfill to begin with. We would rather see them carefully stored in your garage than breaking down under a mountain of garbage.
- Recyclable Surfboard Blanks primarily target the high-performance spectrum of the market, and are by design far too light for our purposes. Weight is an important factor to the surfboards we build, and nobody makes recycled EPS heavy enough for the desired weights we want to achieve.
Full disclosure, we are not entirely satisfied accepting the status quo. (Innovation keeps the brain going... seeking solutions and exploring possibilities)
As a brand, we want to continue to keep an open mind and open eyes, when it comes to identifying ways we can improve our processes and our impact. We were excited this year to produce and unveil surf trunks that were made from Recycled Plastic Bottles and Organic Cotton.
For the last 18 months we have been scheming and strategizing possible new surfboard constructions. Nothing has made it past the prototyping stage, but as we continue to explore and test, we will keep you apprised.
In fact, Griffin just built himself an interesting new board with a unique blank/stringer construction that we will be sharing very soon...