Laurent Beirnaert's 3D-printed surfboard prototype.

Laurent Beirnaert’s 3D-printed surfboard prototype.

The Inertia

The path toward sustainable surfboard shaping has been a long one. From experimenting with different materials to alternative shaping techniques, the human race hasn’t quite pinned down the most ideal and efficient way to make eco-friendly boards the status quo.

That’s why Laurent Beirnaert at Royal Institute of Art sets out to learn more by experimenting with materials and set structure to conceive a more environmentally friendly board. Laurent will test the practices of computational design, advanced engineering, and robotic additive-manufacturing in hopes of fast-tracking an answer, but the process is not as simple as it seems to be. Beirnaert’s project intends to explore the impact of material, if its substitution would provide a solution or if less material would provide boards that are less to the environment. In the end, the goal is to challenge structural integrity, manufacturing speed and size limit of 3D printed processes, according to a press release.

Shaping a surfboard produces almost ten pounds of waste material, according to Sustainable Surf. Most of this material cannot even be recycled, meaning that the surf industry is adding huge health hazards to the planet and leaving a sizeable carbon footprint. Through the restructuring of the materials needed and exploration of sustainable systems, Beirnaert hopes to change the face of the earth while surfing. The prototypes for the project were made out of recyclable plastics such as ABS, PLA OR PET. To be clear, this means that these 3D printed boards can be broken down, shredded and reused for the production of new boards.

The consumption of less material, the production of less waste, the promotion of local manufacturing, and providing recycling facilities are part of this project that looks to the future of surfboard shaping as one that can be altered to create sustainable surfboards.


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