Elevator Pitch: Moda Core Wood Surfboard Technology

Editor’s Note: Elevator Pitch is a new column designed to give upstarts, innovators, and entrepreneurs a platform to share their ideas with potential investors, get feedback from the industry, and identify potential reps and sales opportunities.

Foam has been the foundation of surfboards for over half a century. While it does some things great, it definitely has its downsides: broken boards during travel, dings, and overall toxicity. Brenton Woo, founder & CEO of Automaton Snowboards, surfer, and head of business development at Teqoph Surfboards (Bill Johnson), has developed  a new wood composite technology called Moda Core, which he thinks is the answer to foam’s short comings.

Here’s Woo’s Elevator Pitch:

Moda Founder Brenton Woo

Foam surfboards are failing us. They're fragile, toxic, and don't always let us surf the way we want to. This creates an incredible opportunity. 

Years ago my favorite surfboard died. Why not simply buy another board? Because foam sucks. Seriously. I'm a dedicated surfer, who works for one of the top shapers alive, and I won't buy another surfboard made out of foam. Here's why.

Foam is fragile. My board didn't break because I was being crazy with it. Normal usage and time inevitably compromised the fiberglass shell, water logging the core. Board, done. This is the catastrophic failure typical of foam surfboards.

Foam has limited performance. In fact, foam performance hasn't changed since its introduction in 1956. Yet, the way we surf has evolved dramatically. Modern surfers need higher performance boards for a better surf experience, and foam simply cannot deliver more.

Foam surfboards are incredibly toxic. Building them creates dangerous particulates, releases volatile fumes, and requires fiberglass lamination. Surfboards don't last that long; maybe a couple years if you baby them. Once it's garbage, foam will never degrade to biologically benign components. Using boards that are so harmful to the environment is Surfing's dirty little secret.

Unfortunately, foam has been the only option in surfboards for over half a century. And I still needed a new board. There had to be a better way. But there wasn't. So I invented one. It's called Moda Core: the first wood composite surfboard core designed to replace foam blanks.

Moda Core uses a special hardwood that's naturally water resistant, lightweight, and flexible; ideal surfboard qualities. Inside is a compression resistant material for structure. Our design is so strong it makes possible high performance features like concave decks and sharp, thin rails.

Our unique construction orients the wood grain to simultaneously follow the rocker and outline curves of surfboard design. By keeping grain structure intact, Moda Core takes full advantage of wood's characteristics for a natural surf feel and next generation performance features like engineered flex patterns for speed. Moda Core simply delivers the best surf experience.

As it turns out, the best materials to make the best surfboard core happen to be environmentally responsible! This is important because there is no surfing on a poisoned planet.

Foam surfboards no longer provide the best experience. I invented Moda Core to usher in the next generation of surfboard performance in an environmentally responsible way. Moda is simply a better way to make better boards that Surfers will love.

The revolution in surfing starts at the core.

Shapers simply replace foam blanks with Moda Cores, and continue using their existing tools. Instead of foam dust, they make saw dust and while foam requires fiberglassing, Moda Cores don't. Shapers are open to any number of ways to finish Moda Cores. This leads to product differentiation. Wood watercraft have been in use for centuries, this issue has been solved many times over.

Moda plans to enter the market with SUP cores, then expand to supply cores through all categories of surfboards. Several SUP brands already aware of Moda Core want to use their technology to base new product lines. Even Bill [Johnson] was asking when Moda will make shortboard cores.

For more information, please contact Brenton Woo at:

Mobile: 530-426-2822

brenton@automatonsnowboard.com