Surfers are some of the most ardent environmentalists, yet the sport is awash in petrochemicals and carcinogens, from neoprene wetsuits and urethane leashes to polyurethane boards and epoxy. Danny Hess thinks there’s a better way, and he’s made bringing sustainability to surfing his life’s work.
The 37-year-old surfboard shaper is making waves in the $7 billion surfing industry with his adoption of salvaged wood, natural finishes and organic resins. Hess wants to transform how surfboards are made — and how they’re used. His boards are built to last, an anomaly in a sport where surfers might trash a board or two every season.
“What I’m trying to do is build heirloom surfboards that are passed on from father to son over many generations, rather than these disposable things that we’re just consuming,” Hess says. “The idea is that you just buy one and take care of it and hopefully you don’t have to come back and buy another surfboard.”
His work as a contractor provided a solid foundation for his work as a surfboard shaper. “One day I had this “aha” moment where I realized I could create these molds, like the ones I was using to bend wood for cabinet doors, for surfboards,” Hess says.
Wood surfboards are nothing new, of course. Boards have long been made of wood and natural oils, and some surfers have never ridden anything else. But polyurethane has been the standard for half a century, mostly because it is cheaper, lighter and easier to use than wood. hesssurfboards.blogspot.com
This years Wooden Surfboard Day will be Sunday 7th August
Poster for 2012
Poster for 2011
Poster for 2010
Poster for 2009
The joy of wood and water...
Wooden surfboards have been around for a long time and it was probably on a simple piece of wood that man first enjoyed surfing waves somewhere in the world. It may have only been a crude piece of driftwood found on the beach that served as a way of catching that first wave, but the joy and connection felt with the sea then is no different from what we feel today. As someone who has crafted a surfboard from wood, taken it out and caught a wave on it, I can tell you that the first time you paddle in and get to your feet, is truly a timeless feeling of joy and achievement. I hope that in assembling this list of talented people will inspire you to have a go at building your dream board and also experience that feeling for yourself.