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The RWC Keel is made from a wood-plastic composite. Image: Green Dot

The RWC Keel is made from a wood-plastic composite. Image: Green Dot


The Inertia

Futures Fins just came out with a new SUP fin that is environmentally friendly. Not as environmentally friendly as not making it, but much better than a regular fin. It’s called the RWC Keel because it’s made from reclaimed wood composite, “an environmentally friendly biocomposite-based fin that meets, and in some aspects exceeds traditional performance demands.”

If you surf–if you’re reading this you probably do–you likely have a fin preference. You probably don’t actually care all that much, because, like me, you really don’t have enough knowledge or skill to form a real opinion, but damn it, you like one better than the other because people love to have opinions. My fins just stick out the bottom of my board, trailing along under my foot, doing their best to keep my board from sliding out on bottom turns. Sure, different setups and shitty soft fins make a difference, but give me a high-end FCS or a high-end Futures Fin and ask me to tell you what I feel and… I feel no difference! I imagine it’s similar on an SUP, although I am not often on one.

Futures’ new fin is made from a wood-plastic composite is made by a company called Green Dot Bioplastics. Essentially, it’s made of old wood and recycled plastic. Since wood looks nice but doesn’t work well and plastic works well but ends up floating around for the next 5,000 years, they wanted to mix them together and make a fin that actually worked, looked nice, and wasn’t going to be around for armageddon.

Surfers are a funny breed: we complain endlessly about plastic and ocean pollution, yet we ride atop foam and plastic environmental atrocities. A surfboard is an ironic soapbox to preach environmentalism from. There are attempts at doing good, though–just not enough of them to make a dent in an industry that, for the most part, is driven by profit instead of altruism. So this isn’t the first time Futures took a stab at creating something a little less toxic.

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The composite creates a product that’s about 35% lighter than the standard products Futures Fins manufactures. Photo: Green Dot

The composite creates a product that’s about 35% lighter than the standard products Futures Fins manufactures. Photo: Green Dot

“Futures Fins makes thousands of plastic products every year,” reads a release on Green Dot’s website. “As surfers who manufacture equipment in Huntington Beach for other surfers, they are deeply connected to the beach and ocean. Seeing trash and plastic waste wash up on the beach was more than bothersome. The owners felt a responsibility to protect the environment and aimed to create a product that would reduce landfill waste and be as friendly to the earth as possible.”

Before they came up with the RWC Keel fin, Futures and Green Dot Bioplastics tried a bunch of different materials, including mushroom foam, hemp, flax, and soy-based items. What they found, though, was that they simply didn’t cut it when it came to performance.

It’s a nice thought, this new fin. If all their fins were made from the same material–which might be the end goal–it would make a real difference. But while making one fin from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic is better than doing nothing, it’s still not going to make up for the millions of regular fins we buy each year. But damn it, something’s got to keep our soapboxes from skipping out on bottom turns.



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