For over 60 years now, when construction moved away from traditional wood, the majority of surfboards have been made out of petroleum products. While these materials have allowed the sport to make significant advancements in surfboard design and performance, it has also made a huge environmental impact. For the past few years, the surfing industry has taken a hard look at how to reduce that impact with much success.
The most recent success comes from Tecniq, a leading developer of environmentally conscious materials, and Synbra BV, innovators in expanded rigid foam technology. The two companies teamed up to create the worlds first certified 100% biodegradable and 99% bio-based surfboard foam.
Called Biom, the biodegradable foam is produced in a patented process using converted sugarcane biomass (certified GMO-free) that is polymerized and expanded into rigid foam. The new biodegradable foam does not compromise on performance and offers the same shaping characteristics as traditional foam surfboard blanks.
As Biom is created entirely from a renewable resource and dangerous chemicals are not used in production, the foam is less toxic both for the environment as well as the people who do the surfboard shaping. In addition to the environmental claims, the foam boasts the ultra-eco use of benign CO2 as the sole blowing agent in the expansion process.
The first manufacturing site for Biom biodegradable foam surfboard blanks will be located in the Netherlands with production commencing in the third quarter of 2014. There are also plans to develop US manufacturing in late 2014 or early 2015. Expect to see Biom also used in stand up paddleboards, wakeboards, skimboards, kiteboards, and other types of watercraft.
Couple the biodegradable foam blanks with some bio-based epoxy resin and the surfboard has now drastically cut down on its environmental impact.