“I can change the world with my own two hands” sings Ben Harper, sharing a vision for a cleaner planet by changing how we live our lives. Grain Surfboards also believes in this philosophy and have made it a mission to produce greener surfboards made from sustainable wood and less toxic resin. For the last three years the MAINE based company has also led workshops to teach other surfers to shape boards using sustainable materials. The program has had so much success that surfers around the country have flown to the Northeast and so with the popularity of Do It Yourself shaping growing, Grain took their show out west.
With the help of the local Surfrider chapter and SustainableSurf.org, they hosted a seven day class in San Francisco in an old firehouse converted into a spacious workshop. They had to ship their tools, the board stands and building materials, but keeping to their ‘re-use’ mantra, even the crates they shipped everything in could be taken apart and converted into the equipment used for the project. The boards themselves are made from sustainably produced cedar, and they are currently using epoxy resin for the glassing but have started the transition to Entropy bio-resins.
The classmates came from all over California plus one student from Hawaii to create their dream crafts, either a swallow tailed fish shape or a ten foot longboard (other options were available, check http://store.grainsurfboards.com/collections/surfboard-kits). It would take 70 hours of cutting, sanding, trimming, more sanding, and then finishing, but the final product was a work of art. “I’ve been following Grain for awhile now, and when I found out about the California class, I had to take it,” explained Jake Whiddon from San Luis Obisbo. He was putting the final touches on the rails of his ‘log’, with each pass leaving a few more wood shavings on the floor which would later be converted to mulch. Another student, Dillon from San Diego, was joining scraps of recycled koa, maple, and redwood to make a tail block for his cruiser.
The movement to make the surf industry a more eco-friendly one has been flourishing in California. The movie ‘Manufacturing Stoke’ was shown to a packed yard behind Aqua Surf Shop the week of the class, which expresses the need for less toxic materials used in making boards and other accessories and to lessen our carbon footprint by buying local (not boards made in China or Taiwan). Many surf companies are partnering with 1% for the Planet and the Surfrider Foundation. And Sustainable Surf is seeking to reduce the amount of Styrofoam litter by collecting it to make recycled surfboard blanks.
Surfers are starting to realize that if they don’t change their habits, there might not be a clean ocean to surf in. To find out when and where the next Grain Surfboards shaping class will take place, visit their website – www.grainsurfboards.com
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