If you ever find yourself across the pond, you’ll likely see some strange forays into the surf world by companies you might not expect. The most recent of such forays is Jaguar Land Rover’s new surfboard.
You may remember a few years back when Mercedes-Benz got together with Garrett McNamara to make a cork surfboard built for surfing Nazaré, effectively cornering the smallest niche market on earth. It was part of something called the MBoard Project, which saw two Portuguese companies building four surfboards, each made of different materials.
Then Chevy stuck its toes in the water and designed a truck built exclusively for surfers, which didn’t really mean anything except that they did it with Hurley. Yeah, there was some kind of waterproof wristband key, but other than that it was a truck with the Hurley logo on it.
So what’s Jaguar Land Rover’s deal? Well, they launched a surfboard made from recycled plastic. In what they’re calling the Waste to Wave project, the vehicle giant is taking the polyurethane they used in the creation of early design studio models and turning it into surfboards and paddleboards. It’s a nice thought, right?
As human beings, we routinely vomit out vast amounts of garbage. There’s an estimated 8 million tons of plastic dumped into the ocean every year, and although there are a few initiatives (one shaggy-hair Dutch boy genius comes to mind), no one’s making any real headway. A recent analysis of the tap water from 14 different countries found microplastics in over 80% of samples, and there’s much we can do about it. Sure, Jaguar Land Rover’s recycled plastic surfboard is a nice idea, but overall, it’s not doing anything other than paying lip service to a problem that probably can’t be fixed. But lip service is better than no service, I suppose. And here’s an interesting fact that will make you want to buy a Jaguar Land Rover when you run into a whole pile of money: “Annually, Jaguar Land Rover reclaims 50,000 tonnes of press shop aluminum waste – enough to make around 200,000 Jaguar XE body shells.”
The surfboard in question was made with SkunkWorks Surf Co. Then, Lucy Campbell, a wonderfully freckled English women’s surfing champion, took it for a test drive off the coast of Northern Ireland. According to the press release, Land Rover’s is making a whole range of surfboards from entirely recycled plastic.
“Polyurethane is used in the manufacture of life-size clay models which are modeled by hand at the very beginning of the car design process,” a random press release writer wrote. “The polymer forms the ‘skeleton’ of the models, which is normally destroyed once a car is launched, while the clay is recycled and re-used on site. Now, Jaguar Land Rover is ensuring that all plastic is recovered and sliced into blocks ready for a second life as surfboards or paddleboards.”