Jul 4, 2018 | BY Chris Couve
Starboard becomes the first major SUP brand to produce Gold Level ECOBOARDS – verified by Sustainable Surf
Starboard – a SUP and windsurf brand with 25 years of innovative board building and design – reaches Sustainable Surf’s Gold Level status for their Carbon Balsa technology board range.
It’s no small task – requiring multiple audits of source materials, building facilities and processes, and for a brand as large as Starboard, commitment to helping the environment on a company-wide level.
Starboard’s Carbon Balsa technology makes them the 1st SUP Brand to mass-produce a Gold Level ECOBOARD SUP. Gold Level is awarded for using sustainable materials, sourced from responsible supply chains, with improved manufacturing processes. Working closely with Sustainable Surf, Starboard developed several eco-conscious innovations from scrutinizing the materials used and how they build their boards.
“One of the most satisfying parts of my work is the challenge to redesign our products to lower the environmental impact and achieve higher performance. Sustainable Surf is setting the goal posts for the industry to not only fast track, but to showcase how quickly and easily it can be to change the way we build better boards for the planet.”
Ollie O’Reilly – SUP Product Manager.
“The team at Sustainable Surf continue to be impressed and inspired by Starboard’s holistic commitment to sustainability and ocean-health. Our mission to protect and preserve ocean health starts with people and brands making better choices everyday – just like the ECOBOARD SUPs produced by Starboard, especially their new range of Gold Level models. We look forward to seeing the next round of eco-innovations from the team at Starboard.”
Brett Giddings – Sustainable Surf.
Eco Innovations involved in reaching gold level include:
- Natural end grain balsa replaces PVC foam on the full deck and bottom. “End Grain” Balsa is a natural sandwich structure that is lightweight with incredible sheer strength when compared to conventional petroleum PVC foam. The carbon footprint is actually climate positive, meaning it offsets more than it consumes to use it.
- ECOBOARD Project Verified 33% Plant-based bio Resin is used to laminate the entire board.
- Main Inserts switching to be made from up-cycled fishing nets sourced from India. Akulon ECO is produced by DSM, a leader in sustainability.
- IQ centre carry handle is made from recycled ABS.
- All traction pads will be made from post-industrial waste. Recycled EVA has a high UV resistance in some colours than virgin EVA, so the pads stay the same colour for longer. Using recycled EVA reduces the amount of petroleum used by 50%.
- Natural Balsa wood is now at the core of all of Starboard’s composite fins, avoiding plastic while improving flex and reducing weight. Balsa core fins made with bio-resin are up to 31% lighter on certain fin sizes.
- For every board made, Starboard plants one mangrove tree, absorbing 1 ton of CO2 over a 20 year lifespan.
- All packaging for accessories is now made of cardboard, with the exception of the dust bag made out of recycled plastic
In addition, all board bags are made from up-cycled PET from plastic bottles. An average of 52 bottles makes 1 typical bag.
And as an added benefit, Starboard has found most of these up-cycled materials outperform the original virgin materials.
In addition, Starboard is involved with several initiatives to reduce their footprint and impact on the environment:
- Carbon Net Positive – Thor Heyerdahl Mangrove Park in Myanmar
- Plastic Disclosure Project
- SUP kids education program.
- Education of local schools about plastic issues.
- Sustainably-built offices at Starboard HQ, including solar power.
- Frequent community cleanups
- Partners for the Oceans with Sustainable Surf, Parley, Trash Hero and Watertrek.
- Political lobbying for stricter plastic policies in ASEAN.
Starboard conducts full Life Cycle Analysis of their company’s carbon footprint available here.
Starboard is taking responsibility for its role in the plastic industry by offsetting their plastic footprint. This involves calculating exactly how much plastic goes into production and are now removing 48 metric tons of ocean plastic in 2018 to create a positive impact on the planet – instead of a negative one. For every board sold – Starboard collects 2 kg of ocean plastic. Starboard’s Plastic Offset Program funds local cleanups and puts a financial value on discarded plastic.
For more information on Starboard Eco initiatives visit Starboard Blue Projects.