For the committed, surfing is a spiritual enterprise — a connection with a divine energy unleashed by the interaction of wind, water and ocean-floor geography.
That the appliance surfers use to tap this energy is made from petroleum-based foam, polyester resins and chemically treated fiberglass has long been surfing's quiet contradiction. A broken board tossed in a landfill will take generations to biodegrade; the plastic fins probably never will. Even the thin strip of wood that runs down the middle to provide strength comes at an environmental cost — a minuscule yield from the raw material it's milled from.
“A ‘green surfboard' is inherently an oxymoron at this point,” says Joey
Santley, 44, a frenetic surfboard shaper and entrepreneur in San Clemente on a mission to create an environmentally friendly surfboard — or at least one with a carbon footprint that's less titanic. “Hopefully in the future it won't be.”