Surfing on ‘shrooms: growing the next crop of eco-friendly surfboards

Most surfers would say they care about the environment. After all, nature is a big part of the sport and the culture. But while most people in the surf scene do have a pretty admirable environmental conscience, there’s one bad habit that can’t really be ignored — the boards.

Ecovative Mushroom surfboard
A Fungus-Based Mycelium Surfboard From Ecovative

Aside from wooden boards (and the woods used in surfboards aren’t usually rapidly renewable) most surfboards are made from toxic foam plastics. Add to that the fact that the average lifespan of a board isn’t all that long. So, what happens after a few good months, or at best years, when a polyurethane or polystyrene board finally gets kicked to the curb? Well, it certainly doesn’t turn into compost.

Thanks to Ecovative, though, a new, more eco-friendly surfboard may be coming your way soon. In fact, it’s probably being grown as we speak. That’s right, grown, because instead of toxic foams, The New York-based company is building its surfboards, fins and handplanks out of a completely new, completely sustainable material that’s mostly mushrooms.

Ecovative Fungus Surfboard Mycelium Material

Not strictly a surfboard maker, the company developed its eco-friendly Mycelium material to replace all types of expanded foam plastics, like the styrofoam used in packaging. Essentially a glue made from fungus roots, Ecovative uses Mycelium to bind plant-based materials (usually crop waste like plant stalks and seed husks) into the finished product.

The result is a super strong material that floats and repels water just as effectively as the foam plastics typically used to make surfboards, fins and handplanks, except that these mushroom-based products won’t create toxic waste like plastics do. Meanwhile, Mycelium boards are about as easy to patch as ordinary boards, and don’t need any special supplies to repair. Bio-based and biodegradable, Myco Foam is the closest we’ve come so far to a truly sustainable board, especially if it’s glassed with eco-friendly resin.

So, where can you get your own surfboard made from mushrooms? As yet, you can’t. But Ecovative says it’s currently “collaborating with the industry’s top surfboard manufacturers and shapers” to get their boards out there. Hopefully that happens soon, since riding waves on ‘shrooms is something we’ve always wanted to try.

Check out Ecovative and learn more about their sustainable Mycelium plastic alternatives at their website here

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