„Surfing is playing with nature – all the more reason we have to respect it.” What this exactly means to the founders of Hermanns Shaping Company and some interesting details about their project, they tell us when meeting them in Graz.
Usually almost all surfboards are made out of plastic or to be precise: out of polyyurethan laminated with polyester resin. Those synthetic boards are in the end hazardous wastes which won´t even decompose in thousands of years. This makes a respectful relation with nature impossible. A reason good enough to get the passionate surfers to act: they wanted to design and produce their own wooden surfboards. And so they did – Hermanns Shaping Company shows their remarkable results.
A wooden surfboard is nothing new
Wooden surfboards were not invented only recently On the contrary: the first experiences with surfing go back around 4000 of years where the natives of the Polynesian and Hawaiian islands tried their luck on wooden boards. Thus wooden boards are the first, oldest and most original surfboards. The colorful plastic boards with creative designs which are nowadays all over our beaches are actually a quite new product. Plastic was only invented in the beginning of the 20th century in Europe. And to replace the wooden material used for surfboards, it even took a couple of decades longer.
To be honest, plastic boards do have a lot of advantages. They are cheap in production, solid, have a light weight and can be designed and colored easily in all variations. However like in many products the disadvantages of plastic are often not considered or just ignored. If you imagine a cemetery full of broken surfboards, you know what we are talking about. Plastic surfboards are contaminating our environment heavily, and just to name one example how we are affected by that: micro plastic parts are floating in the ocean, fish are mistaking them for food and at some point later we have those chemicals for lunch.
Special timber and an innovative inner construction make Hermann´s´s boards unique
Back to Hermann´s wooden surfboards: the small Austrian shaping-company succeeded to design light weighted surfboards, made out of sustainable materials only. Wooden surfboards do exist already, however usually they still contain Styrofoam, optical fiber or synthetic resin. Hermann´s team managed to create surfboards without those materials.
Their boards are made out of Paulownia, a fast-growing timber which has the ideal characteristics of solidness and density. For the inner construction Hermann´s team fabricates comb elements, which make the board stable and ensure the necessary floating quality. While first processes are manufactured with machines, the surfboards get their final shape through manual work. Customized designs and colors are also possible, which leaves space for individuality and personalized boards.
The resulting surfboards are not only beautiful, they also stand out through their sport performance – compared to other wooden boards they are lighter in weight and therefore easier to turn.
Awarded with the „Ecoboard Gold Level“
The internationally recognized label „Ecoboard“ also acknowledges the work of Hermann´s team, who only recently got rewarded with the “Gold- Level”. To receive this award, surfboards have to accomplish with various sustainable aspects while still ensuring the technical performance of a modern watersport board. EcoBoards considers the reduction of the CO2 footprint, the use of recycled or upcycled materials and the avoidance of toxic materials during manufacturing. To reach the “Gold Level” surfboards additionally have to comply with EcoBoards defined criteria for qualified materials as well as a sustainable manufacturing facility. All those criteria finally ensure the surfer to buy a truly sustainable product.
Still want some more information about those wooden surfboards, made in Austria? Then check out the website of Hermanns Shaping Company. Or do you have already experience with this surfboard? Then why don´t you let us know about it through a comment.