Sil­ver-green surfer

Element - - Upfront -

Few sports would cel­e­brate the nat­u­ral environment as much as surf­ing but surf­board man­u­fac­ture can be a toxic busi­ness. But Michael Gro­belny has de­signed a wooden surf­board which elim­i­nates the use of polyurethane foam, fi­bre­glass and polyester resin. “The phys­i­cal act and cul­ture of surf­ing pro­vides an in­ti­mate con­nec­tion with nat­u­ral forces,” says Gro­belny, who de­signed the board as part of a re­search project for a Bach­e­lor of De­sign (Hon­ours). “It’s this emo­tional and phys­i­cal en­gage­ment with na­ture that makes surf­ing a pow­er­ful and en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. In di­rect con­trast, the use of toxic ma­te­ri­als in the man­u­fac­ture of surf­boards is haz­ardous to board mak­ers and the nat­u­ral environment.” Gro­belny re­searched dif­fer­ent types of tim­ber look­ing for some­thing strong, light and sus­tain­able. He set­tled on paulow­nia, a fast grow­ing, lo­cally avail­able wood. In AUT’s prod­uct de­sign work­shop Gro­belny had use of a com­puter nu­mer­i­cal con­trolled router which he used to shape the over­all form of the surf­board and re­move ex­cess ma­te­rial to cre­ate an in­ter­nal hon­ey­comb struc­ture. This was then sealed with a bam­boo ve­neer deck be­fore be­ing coated with a biodegrad­able var­nish. Through­out the project Gro­belny ap­plied the guide­lines of the Cra­dle to Cra­dle De­sign frame­work which aims to cre­ate sys­tems that are not only ef­fi­cient but vir­tu­ally waste-free. Gro­belny’s surf­board is now a fi­nal­ist in the IDEA, In­ter­na­tional De­sign Awards com­pe­ti­tion which is run by In­dus­trial De­sign of Amer­ica.

Surfer and AUT prod­uct de­sign grad­u­ate Michael Gro­belny has de­signed a strong, light­weight and eco-friendly

wooden surf­board

nzher­ald.co.nz/chang­ing­world

Michael Gro­belny with his cre­ation.

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