STEM Skills can be used to innovate across many areas of our lives, including the surf!
Surfing is a sport that uses the natural environment as its playing field. Surfers spend a large amount of time in the ocean and develop an affinity for this environment. It may surprise people to learn that the technology that allows surfers to become connected to nature is far from being environmentally friendly.
Modern surfboards and many neoprene wetsuits are constructed from non-biodegradable petroleum products. Plastics are used in the manufacturing of many accessories such as leg ropes and wax combs and surf waxes contain chemicals that are toxic to any fish that are unlucky enough to consume them.
Fortunately, for the environmentally conscious surfer, STEM innovation is providing more environmentally friendly products for surfers. The innovators, all driven by a shared common goal, vary from high school students making environmentally friendly wax, to aeronautical engineers’ upcycling carbon fibre waste into high performance surfboards.
Many great stories of STEM innovation are happening right here in our region! Recently three Deakin graduates have established the world’s first recycled carbon fibre surfboard company, with the help of Deakin University’s SPARK Deakin Accelerator 2020 program.The group’s Jan Juc startup company, JUC Surf, is set to hit the Australian market with their revolutionary boards made entirely of carbon fibre material that would otherwise be headed for landfill.
The following four news articles provide examples of how these pioneers are use STEM to make surfing more environmentally friendly: