In 2008, surfboard shaper Jake Moss was sick of feeling sick. A master craftsman with over 17 years of experience shaping boards with a devout following of surfers worldwide, Moss made the decision to only produce and manufacture high-performance eco-friendly surfboards in the healthiest, most sustainable and environmentally-conscious way possible. After two years of experimentation and feedback from his loyal customers, Jake developed a production process and combination of materials, which he called Eco-Flex®, that met his high standards of performance while minimizing negative health and environmental impacts.
In 2010, Moss became the first surfboard manufacturer to pursue a professional 3rd party Sustainability Report for the Eco-Flex® manufacturing process and facility. When Eco-Flex® received a Gold Level Endorsement of Sustainability, it set a benchmark for the surfboard industry.
Way ahead of the curve, with more than six years of making 100% eco-friendly surfboards under his belt, an eye on the future, and the support of a key group of advocates in the surfing world, (world renowned surfboard shapers, artists, activists, scientists, craftsmen and professional surfers), Moss is ready to share Eco-Flex® with the rest of the industry.
“I think surfers have really started to become aware of how ironic our current situation is,” Moss says. “I mean, here we are, a large and increasingly influential group that loves the oceans and earth because they provide something incredibly special and meaningful to us. We are constantly fighting to protect our waterways, beaches and coastlines from pollution and overdevelopment. Yet the equipment we use on a daily basis is made of extremely toxic materials. Not only to the ocean and general environment but also the craftsmen who make our boards.”
It’s an environmental and social disconnect Moss hopes to solve one surfer and one surfboard at a time. “Surfboards aren’t like clothing,” Moss’ Eco-Flex partner Pat Quealy says. “As surfers, we can’t point our fingers and blame anyone else. We’re the only one’s who buy surfboards so it’s on us to make better choices when it comes to what we ride.”
So what makes an Eco-Flex® surfboard better? Start with a locally sourced supply chain from beginning to end. “We use U.S. made, recycled Marko Foam blanks and the highest bio-percentage plant based resin from our neighbors in California at Entropy Resin,” explains Moss.
The Marko Foam blanks are recycled from waste-stream materials and the Entropy Resin is up to 40% plant based, used with a combination of reinforcements including recycled print fabric and rapid-renewable plant fibers. This makes the total construction of the Eco-Flex board 70% plant-based and recycled waste-stream materials. The Eco-Flex construction process produces 90% less Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) than traditional surfboard construction and emits no CFC’s or other greenhouse gases. Most of the board can be recycled, including the repurposed plywood fins. But it isn’t just about the process.
“One of the coolest and most surprising parts about Eco-Flex®,” Quealy says, “Is the increase in the board’s durability and overall performance and flex patterns.” It sounds complicated, and it is. The higher bio-content in the materials Eco-Flex uses creates longer polymers, resulting in an increased and prolonged structural and material memory. For surfer’s, this means their Eco-Flex board stays livelier and full of ‘pop’ longer. “Plus the boards are way more ding resistant and take on almost no water through the dings,” Moss explains. The end result is a board that is 75% cleaner to make and lasts twice as long as traditional and toxic Polyurethane/ Polyester surfboards. “I’m happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Moss says, “but we’re totally committed to making the process and materials even better. Our goal is to make a 100% sustainable, high-performance surfboard but we need your help as surfers, shapers and consumers.”
Editor’s Note: Learn more about Eco-Flex by checking out their brand new Kickstarter campaign here.