Victorian surfer and surfboard designer Jason Wiggers, says his greatest accomplishment is creating an ecofriendly board for the marketplace that stands up against traditional fibreglass boards “while giving careful consideration to Mother Nature”.
“Surfers are very connected to the ocean we go on but here we are riding foam chemical sticks of fibreglass. I’m trying to use as many eco-friendly products as I can.”
His company, Samsara, is one of the first to work with Lavender Composites on the application of fabric woven from harvested flax fibres to create boards that he says outperform traditional fibreglass.
The flax fibre fabric (Bcomp Flax fabrics) is one of Lavender ’s growing range of products with environmentally responsible characteristics, that now include a bio-based epoxy resin with up to 56 per cent of ingredients derived from non petrochemical-sourced material (Sicomin GreenPoxy) and a cork core material harvested from living trees (Amorim CoreCork).
Lavender technical sales consultant Simon Heading, a keen board rider (on and off the water), put the materials to the test, developing a range of cork skateboards under the Archer label. The industry recognised the achievement at the 2014 JEC Asia Innovation Awards, with the skateboards taking out the Sustainability category.
“I wanted to create something completely different, using the latest materials and techniques, and shake up people’s perception of what a skateboard could be,” says Heading.
“These are true cork skateboards, not a veneer over timber. The cork sheets are soft and flexible which creates a natural vibration dampening and acoustic barrier, and is why the boards have their unique smooth ride. Flax fibres are used for strength and are aligned to adjust the flex and feel of each board. Bonding it all together is an epoxy, made from greater than 50 percent bio-based ingredients, dramatically reducing the amount of petrochemicals used. The raw materials are laid up dry, then resin is introduced under vacuum, reducing the amount of VOC’s [Volatile Organic Compound] exposed to the atmosphere.”