SIMA ENDORSES THE ECOBOARD PROJECT TO ENCOURAGE THE USE OF SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS IN SURFBOARDS
ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (February 21, 2013) -- The SIMA (Surf Industry Manufacturers Association) Board of Directors has officially endorsed the ECOBOARD Project, which provides a sustainable materials benchmark and helps bring clarity to the surfboard marketplace by verifying the use of more sustainable materials in surfboards. The ECOBOARD Project was developed by Sustainable Surf, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The ECOBOARD Project helps consumers choose a high-performance sustainable surfboard made with a reduced environmental and toxic impact. The ECOBOARD label is the first, independent 3rd party, consumer facing "eco-label" for surfboards. It verifies the use of more sustainable materials in surfboards, made with the latest advancements in green chemistry, recycled and renewable materials.
"The SIMA Board of Directors and Board Builder Committee believes endorsing the ECOBOARD Project is an important step for the shaping community," said Shea Weber, chair of the SIMA Board Builder Committee and president of Dewey Weber Surfboards. "This program will help surfboard builders develop new products for an evolving marketplace, as well as prepare for tighter regulations on PU/PE surfboards, all while working towards the ultimate goal of reducing the impact to oceans and waves from surfboards. We're thrilled to help promote a program which offers board builders and consumers alike a simple framework to follow for shaping or purchasing a more environmentally-friendly surfboard."
To carry the ECOBOARD Project label, a surfboard must meet the requirements of the ECOBOARD Project Benchmark. It must be made from at least one of the following materials:
Blank: foam made from minimum 40% recycled foam or minimum 40% biological content
Resin: epoxy resin made from minimum 15% biological content with low VOCs
Alternative Structure: A surfboard structure made from sustainably sourced biological/renewable material (typically wood) that provides the majority of the surfboard's material and structural integrity - and therefore significantly reduces the amount of foam or resin needed to build the board.
"It's like the 'Energy Star' program for surfboards," says Michael Stewart, co-founder and Partnerships Director for Sustainable Surf. "Our goal is to bring that same level of professionalism to the surfboard building industry, and to act as an impartial catalyst to help spur and promote innovation in this realm. The ECOBOARD Project Benchmark is readily achievable by manufacturers and is a meaningful first-step towards protecting our oceans and waves from the effects of sea level rise, ocean acidification and loss of coral reefs."
The Benchmark uses science-based and transparent criteria to evaluate surfboard materials that are made with green chemistry, recycled content, or renewable materials. All material manufacturers are encouraged to develop new products that meet the requirements of the ECOBOARD Project Benchmark for materials.
"Our program is based on industry best practices for sustainable product verification," continues Stewart. "I previously managed very similar types of verification and certification programs for 'greener' consumer electronics from the globe's largest manufacturers while working at Underwriters Laboratories — one of the world's oldest (founded in 1894) and most respected certification organizations.
Many leading shapers and brands have already joined the ECOBOARD Project to offer more sustainable surfboards. Current participants include Channel Islands Surfboards, Firewire Surfboards, Lost Surfboards, Hobie Surfboards, T.Patterson Surfboards, Stretch Surfboards, Dewey Weber Surfboards, and more.
Surfers who want an ECOBOARD Project labeled surfboard can find participating surfboard brands or shapers on the ECOBOARD Project website. Interested shapers and brands can sign up for the program via an online submission process which can also be found on the website. There is currently no cost for shapers/brands to join the program, as early funding for the ECOBOARD Project has been provided by charitable donations from several leading non-profit foundations.
"We feel that surfboards can become one of the world's leading examples of sustainable technology and innovation," says Kevin Whilden, co-founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Surf. "Surfing is such an engaging lifestyle sport. It captures the attention of today's global youth, who are keenly aware of sustainability."
SIMA will be communicating information to its board builder members about the ECOBOARD Project in the coming months through a special section on www.sima.com and in SIMA's Board Builder newsletter, Shapes. Stay tuned for information about a special Board Builder Boot Camp seminar as well.
The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) is the official working trade association of more than 300 surf industry suppliers. Founded in 1989, SIMA is a non-profit organization that serves to promote awareness of the surf industry and participation in the sport of surfing through public relations efforts and a variety of services, educational programs and research. In addition, SIMA actively supports oceanic environmental efforts through its 501(c)(3) charitable environmental foundation, the SIMA Environmental Fund. In the past 23 years, SIMA’s Environmental Fund has raised more than $6.2 million for environmental groups seeking to protect the world’s oceans, beaches and waves. The SIMA Humanitarian Fund, also a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, was established to award grants to various surf or boardsport related social and humanitarian non-profit organizations whose efforts are focused on improving the quality of life, health and/or welfare of people. Since 2004 the SIMA Humanitarian Fund has raised and donated more than $1.58 million to surf-related non-profit humanitarian organizations. For more information regarding SIMA, please visit www.sima.com. Follow SIMA at Twitter.com/SIMA_SURF.
ABOUT SUSTAINABLE SURF
Sustainable Surf is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that engages surfing consumers with engaging environmental campaigns, that educate surfers about the lifestyle choices they can take to lower their impacts on the ocean environment. Sustainable Surf works in partnership with key players within the surfing industry to help implement these campaigns, to showcase how business can be an important driver toward solving the world's environmental issues. Visit www.sustainablesurf.org for more information about all our programs, including the ECOBOARD Project.
Support for the ECOBOARD Project has been provided by charitable donations from foundations including the Quiksilver Foundation and the Mimi and Peter Haas Foundation.