UBC Undergraduate Research

An environmental comparison of foam-core and hollow wood surfboards : carbon emissions and other toxic chemicals Hole, Blair


Surfers in general are viewed as environmentally conscious individuals; however the boards that almost all of them ride are not considered green. In the past few years there has been a movement in the industry to find alternatives to the foam/fibreglass construction of surfboards. This movement was sparked by the closing of Clark Foam in 2005, the largest producer and supplier in the U.S. of polyurethane foam surfboard blanks. The plant was forced to shut down because of increasing environmental regulations. In 2008 a life-cycle analysis of the most common types of surfboards was performed to find out how this product was effecting the environment. There has been extensive research into new foam technology for boards since 2005, however, I believe that wood is a good alternative for surfboard construction. This paper includes a life-cycle assessment (LCA) to determine the emissions from wood board production and compares them to that of classic foam boards. The results show that wood surfboard production produces far less emissions of CO2, CO, SO2, NOx, VOC, and PM10 than foam surfboard production does. The LCA of wood boards included raw material production as well as production and assembly of the board itself. It can be concluded that from an environmental standpoint wood surfboards are a much better choice than the foam boards in use now.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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