July 2, 2017

Surfs Up, Sustainably

There’s wellness for waves, thanks to eco-friendly surf boards.
Photo by Morgan Maassen

by Liz Logan

Surfers are taking their passion for the sea to the next level with boards made out of algae-based foam, a new technology that allows wave warriors to protect the ocean they love by investing in eco-friendly equipment.

The technology for algae-based foam was developed with the Global CO2 Initiative, which focuses on carbon capture and use, and transforming CO2 into planet-friendly products while reducing CO2 concentrations.  Environmentally, it’s beneficial: CO2 gets pulled out of the atmosphere to make the algae-based foam.

“Our surfboards are sequestering CO2, so at the end of their life, when you’ve peeled the fiberglass off them, the foam can go into a compost pile,” says Dr. Stephen Mayfield, a professor of biology at the University of California San Diego, who worked with Artic Foam on the  boards. (A surfboard’s fiberglass coating, on the other hand, is non-biodegradable.)

“One of the reasons we’re using algae, instead of corn or soy or any other types of bio-oils,” says Artic Foam sales manager Marty Gilchrist, “is that algae rejuvinates itself in 24 hours, so you can produce it very easily. We’re also not taking a food source away from the population of the world.”

Bernard J. David, chairman of CO2 Sciences Inc., recalls the moment he got inspired to alchemize CO2: “I saw that we had hit 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, realized that was a big challenge, and everyone was concerned about it. So I said, ‘Wait a second: Could we actually take CO2 and make products out of it?’”

And so they have, translating science into bold, colorful boards in designs that reference earth, sun, sky and ocean. Together, Artic Foam and the CO2 Initiative are making happier waves.