Sustainability. This is our future, like it or not. Surfer’s the world over are coming to grips with the reality that our ticket to the glide is anything but sustainable, with a few notable exceptions. On that “black” December day in 2005 when Clark Foam abruptly and forever closed its doors the surfboard manufacturing industry as it was then known was thrust into change, for better or worse. The scramble was on. Hoarders, both of blanks and surfboards infested surf shops like fleas on a dog.
At that time Extruded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) and epoxy resin had been in use, but mostly by craftsman making custom, one-of’f’s. To my knowledge it had never been put to the test in a production mode. The process was fraught with hiderences. It required the patience of Mother Theresa, and the tenacity of God. Fortunately, Floridian, Greg Loher had been using and refining the stuff for some time. Greg had formulated and was manufacturing an epoxy resin for use with EPS surfboard blanks that substantially reduced the time needed to use epoxy resins in the glassing of surfboards. Perhaps Greg saw his financial future written on the laminators wall, but to his credit, he showed up in Orange County and unselfishly showed anyone interested the hows and whys of using epoxy resin with EPS foam. Thankfully surfing entrepreneurs rose to the challenge and epoxy resin and EPS foam are now commonly used in the production of surfboards.
Back to the future: Presented here for your review is a hand-shaped, eight foot egg shaped by Tyler Warren of Hobie Surfboards. This classic double-ender is as close to a sustainable surfboard as I’ve found. Verified as an “Ecoboard” by the non-profit organization Sustainable Surf (see sustainablesurf.org) Tyler’s creation is a “science-based ‘benchmark’ for a sustainable surfboard,” states founder, Kevin Whilden. Using [recycled] EPS foam, [bio-based] epoxy resin, and an inlaid bamboo veneer deck produces a surfboard that has 40% less environmental impact than a standard surfboard.
The Tyler Warren, Hobie Egg, has a subtle roll through the bottom entry rocker that runs into a “vee” panel off the tail. It’s rails, with the exception of the hard rail in the tail for maneuverability and release, are 50/50 all around. The TW Egg comes as a rounded-pin and can be ridden either as a single-fin or a two plus one. This beauty can be used as your everyday board or as a step-up to your longboard.
To get yours, contact Andy at 949-542-3400 the San Clemente, Del Mar Avenue, Hobie Surf Shop, or at hobie.com.
The story that follows is being reprinted with the gracious permission of Surfer Magazine and Sam George. What follows is an account of Sam’s January 2006 purchase of a custom Hobie board in the dawn of a post Clark Foam age. In a way that only someone as gifted as Sam is with words, the story weaves through the crafting process touching on bits like, the anxieties of working with new materials, and creating the beginnings of a new board class… a Stand Up Paddelboard. It is like a time capsule, taking you into how the first “new” blanks were put together by hand and, even better, how Sam’s 11’8” SUP was a high performance surf model at the time.