When I was researching to buy my first SUP, I had read that they weren't environmentally friendly. I didn't fully comprehend these statements until later on. By the time my second summer of SUP'ing rolled around I was in the market for a second set of boards. Despite having my eye on True Blue river boards, which cost a nice chunk of cash ... I went the opposite direction. I decided to get a set of economy boards to learn white water paddling on, with the thought that if we trashed the boards it wouldn't be a big loss. They inevitably caused me several different headaches and left me wishing that I made the top end purchase I was dreaming about but backed out of spending the money on.
My first problem with my low-cost river iSUP was a broken fin. Finding a replacement for it was next to impossible and I ended up making my own fin which was less than ideal. Of course this resulted in having to spend money on tools and materials. Given that one fin easily broke, I'm sure that it is only a matter of time before the others break. The fins on my low-cost board were made of hard brittle plastic and made to fit in an uncommon and problematic fin box.
My second problem, which I still have not attempted to repair as of the writing of this blog, is a blown seam. A group of three of us were about to hit some white water and right after the board was filled the dreaded sound of leaking air no iSUP owner wants to hear was slowly becoming more and more audible, until a two-inch-long separation of the seams became very obvious.
At this point I did not even want to fix the board. The 168 dollars that I paid for it seemed like something I would need to accept as a loss. Then, to my horror I realized I had no idea how to properly dispose of an iSUP. The statements I had read long ago about how environmentally unfriendly they were started to flash in my mind. So I did what I do and started to do some real research on the topic. I found a company, LoadUP, that would pick the board up at my house and recycle it for a base cost of 90 dollars ... prior to taxes or any other fees. I was shocked. Then I read more about what iSUPs are made from. This included how toxic foam, epoxy, resins, paints and other materials are that are all used to construct SUPs. Not only are they bad for the environment but they are also carcinogenic. I did not like what I was reading on many levels.
I wanted my next purchase to be a better one and hopefully you also want to make a "green," eco-friendly purchase.
That's when I found Glide. This company specifically makes eco-friendly iSUPs. Glide actually markets itself as making "the world's most durable and eco-friendly paddle boards." If there is one company doing it there must be more right? After all, what a positive way to market your product. Indeed there are more companies doing this! Coming in at number two in my search results is Cruiser-SUP. Cruiser markets their boards as being "built in the greenest factory in the world." Number three in the search results is Wappa. They are committed to recycling and green construction.
After even more research and learning about the ECOBOARD project I found several companies are "on board" with this important trend. Starboard, Surftech, Infinity SUP, BIC SUP, Invert SUP, and NSP are all part of the ECOBOARD project!!
I'm not going to tell you which of these companies I have my sights set on, but you better believe when I get my dream white water board I will be writing a blog about it! I still have not made any decisions about my board with the blown seam; my current idea is to turn it into an art project if I can work up the nerve to actually cut up and take apart a board. The thought of purposely "wrecking" a board isn't quite something I can wrap my mind around at the moment.
For more information on this topic and to learn about similar projects visit SustainableSurf.org.
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