Riviera paddleboards is introducing ECO molded blanks for their top 12 boards in the 2016 lineup.
By and large, the paddleboard industry is not an environmentally friendly one. The foam cores, epoxies, resins, paints, waste, and adhesives all have an environmental impact. So does the packaging and “cost” of shipping containers across the world. So many companies are working hard to minimize their impact where possible.
One way that Riviera Paddlesurf is making strides is in their new ECO molded foam blanks. Traditionally foam blanks are big rectangles of foam that get cut away to leave the shape of the paddleboard. Usually multiple boards are cut from that one block and the boards end up using about 33% of that blank and the other 67% becomes waste.
After witnessing the process to manufacture the rectangular blanks that would later be carved away to become the cores of the boards, Riviera came up with the idea of making a mold for the foam to eliminate that whole step and all of the waste that goes along with it.
ECO molded blanks provide a mold for the foam eliminating the steps of producing the huge blocks and then carving them away. When large blocks of foam are made, the outer part of the block is the most dense and as you get to the center, the foam is less dense. With molded blanks, the outside of the blank is consistently more dense leading to a tougher shell, which will resist dings better. The new blanks will also absorb less resin for weight, cost, and additional savings of less eco friendly materials.
Producing the molds presented challenges with time and cost, but Riviera Paddlesurf was able to get it done and for 2016 the 9’2 NUGG, Turbo NUGG, 10’6″ Original, 10’6 Select, 10’6″ Art Series, 10’6″ Armor-Tech, 10’6″ Stand up For The Cure , 11’6″ Original, 11’6″ Select , 11’6″ Art Series, 12’6 Voyager, 12’6 Voyager Classic will all feature this new foam.
It seems crazy that it took so long for someone to come up with this. Many other manufacturers are working on more environmentally friendly construction materials, paints, resins, epoxies, and methods, but there is still a long way to go. Given the relative newness of SUP as an industry, hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg and great strides will continue to be made. After all, most of us with a passion for paddleboarding also feel passionate about preserving our environment, and particularly the health of our waterways so we can continue to explore and enjoy the outdoors.