Partner Spotlight, Plastic Pollution
May 04 2017

Surfboard Sustainability with Firewire CEO Mark Price

by Mark Price

The Surf Industry Coastal Defenders (SICD) program is a collection of thought leaders who have aligned to fortify the Surfrider Foundation's mission to protect and enjoy our ocean, waves and beaches. We share a love of sea and surf and have a stake in preserving them. The annual contribution of SICD members supports our activsts around the country who are protecting our coasts. Find out more about SICD partner, Firewire Surfboards, from CEO, Mark Price: 

 

Hello Surfrider Members,

Mark Price, CEO of Firewire Surfboards here. I’ve been given the privilege of contributing to the Surfrider blog, but rather than talking about the importance of a healthy ocean to our continuation as a species, a topic all of you are well versed on, I thought I’d share some of the sustainability efforts we’re making as we strive to reduce the toxicity of the modern surfboard. And in the process hopefully both encourage and coerce the surfboard industry as a whole to move in that direction.

Firewire has worked exclusively with EPS foam and epoxy resin since our inception 11 years ago, materials that are significantly less toxic than polyester resins and polyurethane foams. In July 2014 we converted our entire production over to Entropy Super Sap, a 3rd party verified, low carbon footprint bio-resin, and qualified for Sustainable Surf’s Ecoboard certification – the first at that time, and even today, the only global surfboard builder to do so.

 

We are also driving down our waste streams, and in the case of our EPS dust in particular, we are densifying it, reducing its volume by 100 fold under intense heat and molding garden pavers with the material.

Later this year we will introduce ReREZ, a new recyclable resin developed by Connora Technology, an offshoot of Entropy. ReREZ can be ‘recycled’ through a non-toxic solution process, whereby the cloth can be reused and the resin siphoned off to create extruded components. While a fully recycled, lightweight performance surfboard is still a long way off into the future, the ability to recycle and reuse buckets, stir-sticks and brushes in our factory not only saves money, but also reduces landfill wastematerials significantly over time.

On a related front, TimberTEK is our least toxic construction and has qualified for Sustainable Surf’s new Gold Level Ecoboard certification. We’ve taken that build a step further with the ‘reclaimed’ TimberTEK build, using offcuts from regular TimberTEK boards to make additional deck skins.

We’re also pursuing Fair Trade certification for our factory, almost certainly the only global surfboard factory to do so. That said, we have always acknowledged that we still make toxic surfboards, and that we are far away from cradle-to-cradle manufacturing. However, as a wise person once said, the journey of 1,000-miles starts with a single step, or words to that effect. And as you all know, even incremental steps that are compounded over time, produce significant change.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. We are extremely proud of our association with Surfrider and the modest contributions we’re able to make to support your collective efforts to ensure that companies like us have a playground for our products. I’ll leave you with our mission statement and hopefully we are living up to its principles.

Firewire is passionate about building the best performing surfboards possible with the least toxic impact on our environment, and that is our main focus. However, if we don’t also give back as much as possible along the way, we believe that everything else we might accomplish is diminished...