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World's First Eco Windsurfboard

Photographer: Nic Bothma

 

The Ecoboard Project is the development of the world's first Eco Windsurfboard made out of recycled and biodegradable material such as Balsa wood. It was started with the main objective to be as energy efficient as possible by using raw materials that have a lower carbon footprint than those used today but with equal or improved mechanical properties.

 

Ecoboard Project ambassador and professional windsurfer Florian Jung from Germany has been testing and developing these materials in South Africa. With its 2,500 kilometres of ocean and strong winds South Africa is one of the best windsurfing locations worldwide for testing, research and development.

 

The Eco Windsurfboards are produced in Thailand by board manufacturer Starboard. Their company goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of board manufacture. For each board shipped Starboard plants one Mangrove in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar, absorbing up to 1 ton CO2 over 20 years.

 

The Balsa wood used for the Eco Windsurfboard is sourced from Ecuador and is used as a sandwich material to replace conventional PVC for maximum strength and rigidity, at a tenth of the footprint of conventional PVC. Balsa wood is the fastest growing tree in the world, offering better mechanical properties than PVC for the same density. This translates into higher rigidity and stiffness, as well as high impact and fatigue resistance.

 

The conventional board manufacture of both surfboards and windsurfboards is normally a highly toxic process with non-biodegradeable waste being created.

 

According to Jung: "It is a great challenge to create more environmental products that work better than conventional windsurf boards. We have to make a choice for a cleaner ocean and a healthier planet. For us surfers the ocean is good teacher and every wave comes with a lesson to adapt in the best possible way. As long as we treat everything around us with respect, we will see the beauty - otherwise we will feel the forces of nature first hand."