Surfboard manufacturers are always hard at work, trying to come up with the most technologically advanced and performance-driven designs they can offer to the surfing community. And thanks to a collaborative effort between scientists, engineers, renowned shapers and surfers, the world now has its very first 3D printed, compostable and recyclable surfboard.
The Dolphin Board of Awesome, as its makers call it, is made from algae and plastic water bottles. The algae are collected from eutrophic lakes in the US so creating the board also helps keep these bodies of water healthy. And of course, recycling plastic water bottles takes the “think green” factor up a notch. They then work with companies that process, treat, and turn these materials into 3D printing ink.
“The material we used for the green sections of the board are derived from algae in lakes in the middle of the United States of America where it’s invasive and it’s sucking [the] oxygen out of the lakes and killing life,” Zachary Ostroff, the brains behind DBOA, explains. “There’s a company we work with who have figured out a way to collect that algae and turn it into a 3D printing ink. Nate Petre who’s the 3D printing genius behind making this whole board has a lab partner where he works in London and figured out a way to make the 3D printing ink out of those recycled plastic bottles.”
Is the board entirely 3D printed? No. The first prototype made use of a resin, which according to Zach is plant-based so it doesn’t have the toxic substances mostly found in normal resin. He also explained that they are working to eliminate the need for resin on the next prototype by using fully hydrophobic printing materials.
Pro surfer Kassia Meador took the DBOA for a test drive and was pleasantly surprised with the experience. Given that the conditions were not ideal and the board was a bit heavier than expected, it paddled and floated well. Zach clarified that the DBOA was not created to compete or disrupt the norm of the surfing community. It was simply an initiative to move the industry towards a more ocean-friendly future and to animate what’s possible with sustainable manufacturing in a way that people will easily understand.
The Dolphin Board of Awesome will officially launch in late spring. For updates on development, head on over to the DBOA website.
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