6 SUP brands that are getting serious about sustainability

This story was originally published on SUP Magazine. Words by Mike Misselwitz and Rebecca Parsons.

sustainable sup brands

Exploring the earth without harming it on the BIC Earth SUP. Photo: Peter McGowan

Traditional building methods and materials for standup paddleboards don't exactly involve the lightest carbon footprint. But where eco-friendly SUPs once cost a fortune, sustainable manufacturing processes are becoming more widespread and prices for earth-friendly paddleboards are becoming more reasonable. Here's a handful of companies that are putting the planet first with sustainable practices to make boards you can feel good about riding.

Glide

sustainable SUP brands

Photo: Glide SUP

The folks at Glide are constantly testing new products and processes in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. They limit their consumption of fossil fuels, use sustainable resin, recycle their EPS foam to reduce waste, develop safe coatings and steer clear of harmful epoxy paints. The Glide factory is located a few short miles from their manufacturer, reducing their carbon footprint in shipping and allowing their supplier to pick up foam remnants to be recycled. No volatile organic compounds are used in their resins, but instead GSS and Entropy resin protects employees from airborne carcinogens and protects waterways by preventing toxic paints from entering them. Their entropy bio resin reduces CO2 emissions by 50 percent when compared with traditional polyester or epoxy resins, further protecting the planet.

Starboard

sustainable sup brands

Starboard athlete Zane Schweitzer is just one of the like-minded ambassadors working to make the brand's impact on the environment positive. Photo: Georgia Schofield/Starboard, Facebook

2017 is a big year for Starboard as they are rising to the challenge of protecting our oceans through the innovation and quality of their products. New for 2017, all composite boards and fins are being made from with non-toxic, plant-based resins. Their paddles are constructed with earth-conscious bio resins and come with a trash-picker to easily scoop up trash from the waterways. Additionally, traction pads are being manufactured from recycled and plant-based materials. In addition to their products, packaging is made from bio-based and recycled materials and petroleum is avoided whenever possible. And for each board that is shipped, one mangrove will be planted in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar. The company's environmental aspirations in 2017 prompted a partnership with Sustainable Surf, making Starboard the first SUP brand eligible to carry the ECOBOARD Project label on all its new models.

Solace SUP

sustainable sup brands

The Solace Fitness Cork Pad. Photo: Solace SUP

At Solace they are pushing the boundaries on materials, shapes, and design by using less plastic and sustainable materials whenever possible. Their products are made from three main materials: bamboo, hemp, and cork. Their boards are made from bamboo because it is sustainable, strong, and requires less resin and waste during the manufacturing process. They collaborated with Wave Tribe Surf to make the first ever hemp board bag that has proven to be durable while using less plastic to construct. Their traction pads are made from cork, an exceptionally sustainable material as it can be harvested with no negative effects on the tree. In addition to the sustainable construction of their boards, Solace is committed to supporting the community by donating their time to organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation, Maryland Coastal Bays Program, and Plastic Pollution Collation in an effort to further protect our planet.

Infinity SUP

sustainable sup brands

The new Green Label board line by Infinity is made from recycled EPS foam blanks. Photo: Dave Boehne

Infinity SUP recently launched a line of eco-friendly boards with the hope of converting 100 percent of their boards to sustainable manufacturing practices in the future. They’ve invested in an eco-friendly board building facility in Los Angeles that is certified by Sustain Surf as a sustainable surf and SUP manufacturing facility. Their “Green Label” board line is made from EPS recycled foam blanks and U.S. materials are used whenever possible to cut down on transportation emissions. In addition to recycled blanks, the boards are constructed from hemp, bamboo, and recycled wood, and a zero-emission resin called Super Sap is used in place of traditional resins. To top it off, 1 percent of proceeds are donated to environmental charities.

Invert SUP

sustainable sup brands

Invert SUP's "Ecolicious Construction" uses plant-based resins, sustainably sourced wood stringers and recycled leash plugs/carrying handles to minimize the company's carbon footprint. Photo: Invert SUP, Facebook

Invert has a wide line of eco-friendly boards that follow an “Ecolicious” construction module. Ecolicious is Invert's term for plant-based resins used in place of petroleum-based chemicals, responsibly harvested wood stringer and laminates are used to reduce fiberglass use, and recycled bioplastic leash plugs are used to reduce their overall carbon footprint. Manufactured in the United States, these high-performance boards are durable and light-weight, while being good for the planet.

BIC SUP

sustainable sup brands

The BIC Earth SUP in action. Photo: Laurent Nevarez

BIC Sport has been in business for over 30 years and has a long history of sustainability. The manufacturing process for their sustainable watercraft involves a short production cycle and a short infra-red heating cycle, resulting in low energy consumption overall. They use a closed circuit cooling process for the molds and emit no gas and no solvents, resulting in zero pollution throughout the production process. In 2016, BIC Sport was designated as an Ecoride company for their implementation of environmental management systems company-wide—Ecoride is a tool that measures and determines the environmental efforts of companies in the boardsports industry. Additionally, the folks at BIC design, manufacture, and distribute a line of eco-friendly Earth SUP boards. The Earth SUP boards are made from a collection of bio-sourced, renewable, and/or recycled materials such as Flax fiber, Paulownia wood, and cork. They avoid the use of varnish and paint altogether and use a minimal amount of fiberglass.

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