One Hundred Percent Eco Surfboard

What is the latest? Is it possible to make a longboard completely out eco friendly materials? When I did some reseach a few years ago it seemed not. Now I have a friend who wants to make a hollow wooden longboard out of organic western red cedar. The wood is fine but what to glue it with. Polyurethane glue is no good. What to finish it with? Glass and resin? Oiled finish?

Does anybody know what glues and resins are available ? Have yet to find anything in the UK or importable that is waterproof, 100% eco-friendly and strong enough to make a board with. Supersap is not good enough.

Originally considered a foam blank made out of sugar but it turned out the sugar was genetically modified. Fail. The idea was to glass it with bioresin but not sure if this would cure properly or hard enough. A solid wood cedar board would be purist but perhaps too heavy. A hollow chambered organic cedar board held together with wooden rods and an oiled finish seems too idealistic. So what about a HWS that is pure? A bit of googling reveals an alarming mass of distracting confusing information. Can someone in an organic nutshell give me a brief answer?


I’m far from being a pro but my guess would be chambered paulownia board with oiled finish.

To get the logs together, “green” epoxy, but can’t be 100% vegetaly based.

Use linen/hemp fabric and green epoxy to get fins on or maybe a couple of inox screws to avoid using resin too much.

U can’t be greener imo.


PS: the “green” problem has no solution… the would would come by boat running on fuel etc… the only true green solution is to plant ur own trees, w8 10 years, harvest and mill them by hand etc… it a bit unrealistic.

Tell your friend to get a life. There are starving children the world over, and he fills his days thinking how to make a water toy that doesn’t use glue. Tell him to save the planet and go bodysurf.

And I mean this all in the nicest way possible :~)

Yes this is the problem. I believe that if you buy pawlonia in the uk it is imported from China. Ha. The Western Red Cedar I mentioned is specifically local and grown on a farm but I cant vouch for the fuel that was used to power the machine that was used to fell and plank the timber or the fuel used in the vehicle to transport the timber a few miles from the forest to the shed where it was dried (naturally)

So maybe your suggested method using cedar instead of pawlonia. Maybe not 100% but pretty close.

I am acting as an advisor but will not be making the board. That will be done by someone with more carpentry skills as I am limited to plywood kookboxes. My experience is in traditional shape it out of foam and glass it with resin leaving a biggish carbon footprint. And I use diesel to drive to the beach.

thank you for your niceness everysurfer but my friend does a life - one in the organic business where as a surfer he is trying have more mother earth friendly board.

I am wondering how much a longboard hand carved out of cedar will weigh?

I knew there was not going to be a simple answer to my original question.

Perhaps some compostable glue?

Biom Foam (GMO-free)  perhaps:

Reclaimed wood? 

Seems environmentally sound to me…

I’m all for being “Green”, but I doubt if it will ever be 100%.  Just think of the manufacturing process to make even simple hand tools, sand paper, and the foam that you put on top of the shaping stands.  Nice idea, but unless he is going to shape with a rock, and drag the board over the sand to smooth it, true Eco isn’t going to happen.

Just go back a hundred plus years. All wood finished with oil from nuts. In Hawaii, we used Koa and Wiliwili wood for the boards and Kukui nut (candlenut) oil for the sealer. Heavy boards.

You’d have to find a fallen tree large enough to carve out a board then use hand tools to shape it. Closest thing to it is a modern Alaia made from Paulownia wood.

Solid cedar is about double the weight of balsa. So figure 60 to 75 pounds. Unless you chamber it, but that takes a lot of tools and energy, so not very green.

If you want to be green, make boards that last longer.

And Diesel is really not earth friendly. Large particle exhaust is bad for living things that breath air.

The more you know, the better a Ford F-250 gas looks. Lasts forever. Most of environmental harm is in the manufacturing process. Recycling helps little, because if the board lasts, there is nothing to recycle.

And I really am trying to be nice…

It’s not hard to make a completely eco surfboard , as long as you totally ignore “performance”…the trouble these days is that most things marketed as “green” are a total compromise on performance , or have no durability and end up as landfill…the greenest board is the board that’s built to last…it’s hard to argue with , when there’s so many pre -70’s boards around that are still in mint condition and never been restored…just looked after correctly…and , as a bonus , all boards built correctly are now worth far more than they were when they were made…

Paul Jensen and Mike Sheldrake have a method to make a wooden and card board surfboards using interlocking ribs and strip skins. Something the Grain gang and others have also monetized over the years.

You could porbably do something similar with the cedar using some type of organic glue and really good japanese like dovetail joints like an interlocking puzzle for the skins. There’s animal hide/hoof glue that wood workers have used and other types of oil like cedar oil or walnut oil that can be used to waterproof the structure like Chris Garrett did back in the day when he was building his wood boards. I believe you can get templates from tree2sea to cut out ribs that you can make a skeleton with and then use clamps/bricks and glue to adhere thicker strips(maybe 1/4") on as a you would a cedar strip canoe. Silk, hemp and linen can be used inplace of fiberglass just don’t know what you’d use in place of resin although there’s a couple of brother’s pushing bio-resin in California.

Roy Stuart has some building patterns to make boards out of multilayers of small pieces of wood strips which I think he calls parallel profile design. You might want to contact him to see if there’s a green glue or resin he can recommend, He’s about the greenest build out there but you gotta be willing to live with the end product.

Checkout the Kukbox design from the 30’s that Tom Blake did, they are still a viable design as witnessed by WoodOgre’s great build thread years ago here. But WoodOgre used epoxy and I don’t think Blake did with his.


The reality is , buying a well built local board is about as green as it gets …built it yourself , even better…mass produced imports have a massive carbon footprint , regardless of the materials used to make them.


Go cedar HWS.  It is greener than a standard eps/pu board in that it will last a lifetime or more if cared for properly. 

Even better than that, buy a second hand board, look after it, and surf it for a lifetime… thereby saving it from landfill.

The second-hand board is already out there in the ecosystem, leave the trees alone, they’ve done nothing to harm you!

Oh, and while you’re at it, stop wearing clothes and living in a house.

The kookbox has, but the hollow wood surfboard hasn’t stood the test of time. Classic weight foam, fat stringer with double volan will last a lifetime if taken care of.
Save the carrots! Eat yourself.

Modern plantation forest industries have taken care of that problem…the trees keep growing , and there’s plenty to go round if people don’t waiste and abuse the resource… it’s extremely important to make things that last… like it was , not all that long ago.

mmm - lots of food for thought

In the real world, in a working landfill, nobody is going to consider if the board was made of compostable materials. The workers there are going to see surfboard, assume resin, crush it grind it and bury it in a plastic lined pit with all the other inert trash.

This special organic, covered in surfwax Eco friendly board is never going to be composted and used as fertilizer in someone’s garden.

In the real world, in a working landfill, nobody is going to consider if the board was made of compostable materials. The workers there are going to see surfboard, assume resin, crush it grind it and bury it in a plastic lined pit with all the other inert trash.

This special organic, covered in surfwax Eco friendly board is never going to be composted and used as fertilizer in someone’s garden.