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Monday, March 7, 2011

Surfboards Made From Ocean Trash, Including Plastic Bags, Bottles and Glass

by Alex Davies

Image: Spirare Surfboards

When surfer and founder of Spirare Surfboards Kevin Cunningham was distressed by the trash washing up on the beaches where he rides, he didn't just decide to do something about the debris, he decided to do something with the debris. So was born Spirare Sustainable Surf Craft- Cunningham's project to take back the ocean by making surfboards out of the debris that pollutes it.

Enjoying the water on boards made from the trash polluting it isn't just one of the cooler ways to recycle ocean garbage- it's also a great combination of product and market. Spending so much time in the water, surfers tend to be a pretty green bunch. Of the boards themselves, he writes:

It is a dichotomy between the natural and unnatural. Natural materials form my surfboards; conversely, fragments of man-made debris such as plastic and glass are recycled and reused in the skin of the surfboard. Plastic bags woven into a strengthening cloth, plastic bottles cut up and reassembled into fins, and many other possibilities to be explored.

Cunningham's idea is to first produce a limited series of boards made from reclaimed debris that will be featured in galleries around the country, to be followed by a line of 100 boards that will be sold as custom orders. But before any trash can become the eco-conscious surfer's dream board, Cunningham needs some financial support.

To that end, he has started a Kickstart campaign, looking for $3,500 by mid-April (he's about halfway there). And pledges come with rewards, from Spirare t-shirts, stickers and tote bags to a surfboard itself (for the grand $2,000 pledge). Check out his campaign video:

It's worth a thought, especially if you're aware of how bad ocean pollution has gotten. And while Cunningham is adamant about the quality of the boards he makes by hand, if it ever does break, you can always re-recycle the board into building materials. Cowabunga!