The ProTest project has reached multiple milestones since it’s inception in December 2017. The brainchild of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii brought to life by collaborating with Cliff Kapono and supported by Vans, Surfer Magazine, Surfdome, and Sustainable Surf, The ProTest is a chance for “Pros” to “Test” ecoboards while also protesting the 100% toxic surfboard.
The premise of the project is that the vast majority of surfboards are TOXIC for the environment and those that make them, that too few professionals are using them, and that the average Joe is heavily influenced by the leaders of our sport. Therefore we created a library of ecoboards that are at minimum level one certified ecoboards and are allowing professional surfers to checkout any board they want. To incentivize the skeptical, we accumulated a $10k prize for the best performance of the winter and $1k for the filming team.
To officially enter the ProTest Challenge, a surfer or cinematographer must submit a 3 minute or shorter edit highlighting what ecoboards they rode and then show the proof of efficacy. To submit edits or to be featured via individual clips, submit your waves and edits to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our first milestone was the completion of the ecoboard library. With boards ranging from a 4’10” Quadini from Two Crows Surfboards to a 6’6” Arakawa RP, the quiver is diverse and ready for almost any day the North Shore has to throw at it. With 40 boards overall and most all checked out at all times, the North Shore is being attacked with guilt free hacks and by qualified shade hunters.
Our second milestone was accomplished when our inboxes started to “bing” with the arrival of our first clips of surfers using the ecoboards. Leading the submission train was Ezra Sitt, Marco Giorgi, and Casey Goepel with many others following suit since then. The first full edits are having their final touches put on them as I write. By the time you’re reading this, they will be online at Surfer Magazine with links here at Freesurf. This will represent the next milestone of this project.
Pipe has been pumping and one of the unavoidable consequences associated with the venerable beast is the corresponding broken boards that are churned from her belly. Despite a large portion of the beginning of the Winter providing sub par waves due to terrible winds, we have only had one board broken at Pipe and that board has already been fixed and placed back in action packing caverns and collecting the proof thanks to Ezra.
We attribute the success of our boards at Pipe to heavier glass jobs. With the vast majority of our quiver containing a core of recycled EPS, the boards are light and require heavier glass jobs to create the proper weight and feel for surfing Pipeline. The result is a stronger board with less detrimental environmental consequences. Not only because they’re made from recycled foam and plant based resins, but they also last longer. The longer a board lasts, the less waste surfboards create over time.
Imagine a quiver of boards that you keep for years, maybe even decades! The current status quo is a new board every few months, often replicating that same board negating your ability to experiment with other shapes or shapers. But if you were able to keep that trusted go to board for at least a year, that means an additional $1,000+ in your pocket which most likely you’ll still spend on surfing. This inadvertent bonus as a result of utilizing recycled EPS is one of the highlights of going the route currently being provided by Marko Foam.
Perhaps the most exciting milestone that we have already reached is the increase in demand that will justify an increased supply of alternative materials. With dozens of inquiries from shapers, surfers, and glassers looking for eco-foam and bio-based resins it’s apparent that the demand is here. With murmurs of a collaboration between Arctic Foam and Marko Foam, the lack of alternative cores may soon be alleviated with the importing of both an algae based PU blank by Arctic Foam and Recycle EPS blanks from Marko. Entropy Resin is currently available at Fiberglass Hawaii.
So where to from here? We will continue to get the word out about the project and collect the clips with the goal of putting out a well produced film highlighting the capabilities of ecoboards. By proving they work, perhaps your next board will be an ecoboard.
If that’s not enough, find us on the North Shore at our weekly Public ProTest days. We will be offering demo days from March 1st to mid April focusing our set up right at Ehukai Sandbar. More info on IG @sustainablecoastlineshawaii or www.sustainablecoastlineshawaii.org. See you on the beach.
Kahi Pacarro is the Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.