When we talk about sustainable and eco boards, often the first thing that springs to mind is wood. And for good reason, since it was the material used in the original Polynesian surfboards.
Over time, the act of carving wooden boards directly from tree trunks has been replaced with modern techniques, and with that, different types of wood. With their natural tones, spectacular patterns and uniquely scattered knots, the many wondrous wooden boards we see nowadays are simply jaw dropping. And that’s before you hop on one and experience their practical capabilities..
In this post we won’t be talking about boards that are partially made of wood, like those with paulownia plated cores or balsa wood edges, instead focusing on boards where wood is the main component. Of course, at The Fair Cottage, we promote sustainability and always take into account the origin of materials. All the boards we cover use FSC certified wood and are produced responsibly.
Paulownia - The Right Tree for Wooden Surfboards?
The most commonly used wood, Paulownia is a native tree of Asia. It can be cultivated almost anywhere, even in soil with very few nutrients, it grows very fast and thus has the potential to absorb a lot of CO2 from the atmosphere. Those are some pretty awesome attributes, right? But that’s not all. The tree’s timber is lightweight, durable, stable and easily treatable, making it the perfect material for manufacturing surfboards.
ECOBOARD Accredited Wooden Surfboards
From surf to wakeboarding, we found many European brands who are ECOBOARD approved and manufacture using only wood. Flycat are flying the flag for sustainability in kitesurfing and SUP boarding with their ECOBOARD approved boards. Whereas Jabali Surfboards of Holland focus on surfing’s purest form with their elegantly finished boards.
Sliver Eco Surfboards are made on the island of Tenerife from 100% paulownia wood while Arbo hand crafted boards are made in Cornwall, England. Flama Surfboards, from Barcelona, offer various ECOBOARD approved ranges such as classic evolve or cork evolve, which are tailored to different surfing styles.
We also find Hermanns Shaping in the unlikely location of Austria. Besides making surfboards, they design and build paddle boards, skateboards and designer furniture, making you think twice about whether to invest in a surfboard or an armchair.
Non-ECOBOARD Approved Wooden Surfboards, Kiteboards and SUP Boards
Leaving aside the brands and boards that carry the ECOBOARD label for a moment, there is Kun_tiqi from Cantabria who bring us a broad choice of balsa wood boards. From Salzburg, Germany there is Wuux, with a spectrum of boards so beautiful, you will want to own them all.
There are many Spanish eco-minded shapers in this category, such as the surf and SUP boards from Vannav and Kiteboards and Surfboards from Murcia. Based out of Barcelona, Sandez Project, make kiteboards and surfboards, as well as employing their woodworking skills with other projects. Pontevedra, again from Spain, focus on wooden surfboards, with Yoni Surfboards operating out of nearby Portugal doing the same.
Changing the Demand for Natural Surfboards
As you can see, there is a clear depth of choice in wooden boards, with aesthetic styles, technical designs and materials to suit all needs. Thanks to their passion for the environment and chosen artform, the ethical shapers we have talked about, plus the many others that exist, are helping to drive wooden board technology forward. With the technical abilities of wooden boards constantly improving, so too will the demand for them, creating less and less negative consequences for the environment.
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