Would you surf algae? Not in it, on it. A team of scientists and surfboard makers in California claim to have created the world’s first sustainable surfboard made from algae. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego partnered with the leading polyurethane surfboard manufacturer Arctic Foam and determined a way to turn algae oil into the polyurethane foam core that comprises a surfboard. Foam cores for most surfboards currently come from petroleum.
Steven Mayfield, a professor of biology and algae geneticist at UCSD, led researchers in creating the new board. The team worked to chemically change the oil derived from laboratory algae and “morph” it into types of “polyols” to form the core of the new surfboard. “In the future, we’re thinking about 100 percent of the surfboard being made that way—the fiberglass will come from renewable resources, the resin on the outside will come from a renewable resource,” Mayfield said in a statement.
The board, which looks just like any other surfboard, was crafted at Arctic Foam’s headquarters in Ensenada, Mexico, and then brought to Oceanside, Calif. The difference, of course, is that this board is sustainably made. A surfer himself, Mayfield said he often felt contradictory in riding the waves with something produced in such an unsustainable way.
The board was presented to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer in the hopes that Faulconer will display the board and show others how innovation can bring about sustainable change. The fit is perfect with San Diego’s reputation for the ocean and surfing as well as biotechnology and innovation, Mayfield said.
Via NBC San Diego
Images via Chris Preen