– stripping surfing back down to its most elemental form

The Supreme Court and You

At some point the time is going to come when surfboards as we know them today will no longer be made, either because it is not profitable or it becomes outright illegal. We saw some foreshadowing when Grubby Clark decided to close the doors of one of the largest and most successful blank manufacturing companies in the world.

EPA LogoThe “Supreme Court ruled April 2 that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from cars as pollutants…”

While this may not sound like a eureka moment, it has enormous impact on the acting power of the EPA. The current administration has been ignoring it’s own advisors when it comes to global warming. And now that the world believes that global warming is here the EU is setting concrete targets to cut emissions we can no longer ignore the facts.

Resintint Longboard GlassingThe truth is that traditional poly boards are highly toxic and release enormous amounts of Organic Volatile Compounds (VOC’s) into the atmosphere. Most glass shops probably don’t have sealed glassing rooms with technology to trap fumes. When the EPA clamps down those guys will not be able to operate without extremely expensive technology in their shops. The price of a board is sure to rise beyond affordability and many will be forced out of business.

There are alternative contruction methods out there but none are as cheap and easy as a poly board. With the closing of Clark Foam and increased blank prices EPS/epoxy boards are now comparable in price to poly boards. Will it be a matter of time before poly boards will be more comparable to a handcrafted wooden board? The other choice; go out and get yourself a few copies of your magic board and put them in storage. Think of it as an investment in your future of stoke. Just keep them safe from Gnar Gnar, that dude is bad news for the stoke-meter.

To read more about the ruling check out the following link:

• Category: board construction, environment,

2 Responses »

  1. I love you guys but this post is a bit alarmist. “Enormous” is hardly the word to describe surfboard voc’s, especially with the newer vapor suppressed poly and UV poly resins that have become the industry standard. We in the surfboard industry are working on making boards as responsible as possible. Stay focused that the ruling is about emissions from cars. Driving out to the shop in the morning is far more damaging to the environment than the surfboards I build. I guess my next car will be a hybrid or something.

    We met with the bio-foam guys today and talked about their new resin. We’ll be trying that stuff out soon.

    BTW, I would like to see Phoresia investigate the environmental and labor policies of the big softgoods guys like Quicksilver. Bob McKnight is considered to the most powerful person in surfing.

  2. You’re right, the “enormous amounts of Organic Volatile Compounds” statement is a bit out of context in relation to surfboard glass shops.

    The intent wasn’t to portray poly shops as the big evil but moreso to highlight the landmark ruling allowing the EPA to regulate auto emissions. It opens the door for similar rulings down the road for all sorts of things and that VOC emissions could be one of those things.

    Where to even start with the big softgood guys (clothing companies). I actually just read an interesting interview with the CEO of Etnies and he had a good quote relevant to that:

    “Also, a lot of public companies have a hard time turning to the environment, because of their shareholders. They’re just about a return on investment. If you want to believe in the envrionment, for the short term you have to put ROI on side.”

    Full interview, it’s an interesting read:

    You point is well made though and worthy of a serious discussion when those companies are leading the direction of the industry, meanwhile having little thought or effort into the sustainability of their growth business models.

    Check out for some sweatshop free, made in the USA t-shirts. I don’t like to advertise for companies I don’t support so I’m big on rocking blank t-shirts.

    David Lawless
    Editor –