Unfortunate it may be, but the honest truth regarding surfboard construction is that it simply isn't good for the environment. Where there lies a problem, however, there is always a solution, and lucky for us, the conception of the flax surfboard just might be the answer to this negative impact.
A flax fiber surfboard takes the every environmental downfall of surfboard shaping, turning it green with envy (as these surfboards are mother nature's dream), and they do so in a manner that never hinders performance and function on a wave.
Surfing wouldn't exist without mother nature, and it is a surfer's responsibility to do all they can in an effort to promote the well-being of our beautiful Earth. Now that there is a viable option for beginners to rippers alike to do so with their board choice, why wouldn't you consider this eco-friendly board option?
Stick around to learn more about this rad type of surfboard, why it has our best interest in mind (no one wants to surf in a global-warming hot tub), and precisely what makes this board type insanely rippable.
Introduced and conceptualized by none other than Gary McNeill, a flax surfboard is a surfboard shaped with eco-friendly types of surfboard material. These surfboards by Gary McNeill Concepts aim to reduce the number of negative effects on the environment whilst creating an extremely light and durable surfboard, and flax fiber surfboard construction is arguably the most environmentally friendly surfboard construction currently available.
The primary construction of this surfboard type features:
The foam blank of a flax surfboard is a special type of envirofoam. Sourced from Marko Foam, these foam blanks are crafted from recycled foam to reduce waste and lower the negative environmental impact of other, standard types of foam blanks. But don't worry, just because the blank is made from recycled material doesn't mean it's weak, not even in the slightest. It is as equally strong and consistent as any other blank and is the single most environmentally friendly surfboard foam to exist.
The Flax TreeTech Series surfboards are glassed using Entropy resin. Entropy resin is the single most environmentally friendly type of surfboard resin, made responsibly and powered by plants. Where standard types of epoxy resin are highly toxic and come with a gnarly price tag of carbon emission, Entropy resin replaces these petroleum-based chemicals with biobased, renewable plant materials.
Instead of old-school fiberglass that couldn't care less about the environment, BioFlax cloth is a flax fiber cloth made from the flaxseed plant. Where shapers have attempted to use other types of cloth during the shaping process, such as hemp or carbon fiber, BioFlax has showcased the most promise. Reducing up to ⅓ of the glass needed during standard lamination, this eco-friendly cloth is highly durable and one of the best choices for the environment, significantly lowering the environmental impact of standard glass production.
Compared to the high levels of volatile organic compounds and waste resulting from standard epoxy and polyester shapes, topped with some seriously sketchy news about global warming lurking around the corner, flax surfboard construction could change the face of surfboard shaping as we know it.
Although surfers tend to care deeply about the environment, as nature is entirely synonymous with surfing, we also care about how a surfboard feels under our feet.
Good for us, a flax fiber surfboard is the perfect match of environmentally friendly performance. These surfboards seriously rip, and you don't compromise anything at all regarding wave response by going green.
Starting with the strength, these surfboards ultimately withstand the test of time, and the strength of the surfboard is not compromised with eco-friendly materials. The recycled foam blank is as strong as any other blank. The resin is no different, and a flax cloth surfboard with BioFlax cloth is one of the strongest types of modern surfboard cloth, making this flax surfboard an excellent choice for beginners to pros alike.
Many surfers rave about the flex that this surfboard construction provides, which perfectly responds to your bottom turns with incredible speed and flow. A flax cloth surfboard absorbs vibrations within the water, enhancing the flex, promoting instant response time, and increasing speed down the line and through maneuvers. This flex pattern created by a flax fiber surfboard makes them feel alive and responsive in smaller, everyday conditions.
As Dave Rastovich, a flax surfboard pioneer testified in this interview: "The flex feels perfect for me, not too rigid like timber or carbon, not soft and spongy like popouts from nasty mass production lines, and I have had a couple now for over a year, maybe two, and they don't seem to lose their twang and twitchy feel."
In general, a flax fiber surfboard will also be extremely light, which is excellent for high-performance turns and aerial maneuvers. However, suppose you need a little weight with your board, such as during high-intensity winds and choppier conditions. In that case, a heavier epoxy or Polyester (PU) surfboard might be a better choice.
Although flax is far better in terms of environmental impact and carbon emission, to understand more about how these materials compare against each other, check out our article PU or EPS: Which one is best?
A flax surfboard isn't a term to describe one particular surfboard shape, and any surfboard you can dream up can be shaped with this eco-friendly technology.
Because of this, the best conditions for a flax surfboard depend on what shape of board you have your eyes on!
Your best bet is to learn the different types of surfboards and their particular performance characteristics and use that information as the baseline for what type of flax surfboard you seek.
For example, if you have a flax fiber longboard, small knee to waist high peelers are the best. For more mid-sized flax fun shapes or a flax fish surfboard, you can surf a wide range of conditions, both in terms of wave size and in terms of choppiness.
Standard high-performance flax surfboard shapes will hold up in the same conditions as their PU or epoxy counterparts.
Clean and head high to waist high and choppy, you want to choose the best type of surfboard shape for said conditions. It's less about the kind of surfboard material and more about the shape, as the performance characteristics of flax surfboards are somewhat of an 'in-between' compared to PU and epoxy.
As of now, if you are interested in going green, then you'll have to stick with Gary McNeill Concepts for the best flax surfboards.
The Rasta Torus Fish is an insane, performance-based flax fish surfboard that still brings out the best in attributes of a twin fin- the torus channel and single concave promoting hold and speed down the line, a perfect eco-friendly fish for a wide range of conditions.
For even more control in high-performance waves, the Rasta Torus Drive is a go-to choice, and this surfboard will have you covered from peeling shoulder-high points to overhead tubes alike.
If you like to get a little weird and experimental with your performance surfing, then be sure to check out The Entity. Five fin boxes for variation and some seriously unique channels make this a high-performance shape suited for nearly any wave type, one of the best travel boards to exist. The Twin Pin is a spinoff of the Entity and is better suited for larger waves that require a touch of extra hold.
And of course, we can't forget about the Mini Pip, a small wave twin fin machine that embodies the definition of fun. Nice and wide, this surfboard paddles and catches waves effortlessly, the channels promoting a water flow that will have you hacking and smacking even the most crumbly of summer peelers.
It doesn't matter what style of riding you prefer; good ol' Gary has you covered. So check out the full range of surfboards here, use our Board Engine to nail down the perfect dimensions, and be sure to choose 'Tree Tech Construction" when purchasing a flax surfboard from your friends at Boardcave.
We can't surf without a surfboard, and flax surfboard construction allows us to use our board craft for good, one of the most beneficial methods of which we can look out for the environment in conjunction with our passion.
Flax surfboards are strong, flexible, and just about as versatile as it gets, all while maintaining the epitome of eco-friendly material and construction that the surf world has seen yet.
And aside from just lowering the waste and reducing the amount of volatile organic compounds by going with this surfboard type, we still need to remain cognizant about protecting the environment in any way possible.
Take an extra minute to pick up some trash, use that recycled water bottle, and do everything in your power to protect our beautiful ocean.
Without her, surfing is simply doomed, and I think we can all agree that thought is an absolute nightmare.