Continentseven: Will this collaboration with Sustainable Surf have an effect on all of your board ranges?
Svein Rasmussen: All our windsurfing boards and paddle boarding will be built with bio resin. The only exception are boards built with foaming epoxy, this would be 3 DX boards and the GO/ Start boards. We plan to introduce plant based resin also in these lines as soon as the product is fully developed and verified for commercial production.
Continentseven: Was there any special situation you realized it’s about time to take care on the environment more?
Svein Rasmussen: Back in the late 70s we had the first climate change discussions in Norway and Arne Fjørtoft who was leading the green party (chairman), Venstre, was the first person in Norway to voice his concern in the parliament. These were early days and Arne was by the parliament suggested to rather have such discussions with the meteorological institute instead. I was a teenager at the time and quite concerned knowing that our emission levels would continue to grow with most people not realizing the magnitude. Years then passed, I was just having fun windsurfing and later loving to develop boards and other gear.
Then some 3 years ago our group advisor Tor Winswold (now passed away) recommended me to broaden my view and become a bit more useful. I joined him to an Orchid and Mangrove conference in Yangon, Myanmar, interestingly organized by Worldview founder Arne Fjoertoft, participants would include the former environmental minister to the EU, Margot Wallstroem, representative from various embassies there and the local Mangrove experts. Seeing how engaged this crew was I started to look at how our little company could step it up and move forward together with our riders and networks. I went back to my home town Arendal in Norway for the summer just to find out that there was an UNEP brief with the UNEP President visiting GRID-Arendal (e.n. GRID-Arendal is a centre collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), supporting informed decision making and awareness-raising)
Listening to the scientists and the politicians I was struck by the fact that they all agreed about the environmental challenge by that they did not know how they could get the peoples votes to make changes fast enough as it simply was not yet cool to speak up on behalf of the environment.
In our sports the environment obviously is the most exciting part, so in our arena we would all be ready to engage and speak up.
Continentseven: What does this step to a more eco friendly production mean for Starboard, the windsurfing market and the future of windsurfing?
Svein Rasmussen: We are really just getting started, but we are fully committed to see the environmentally conscious development as the priority for our brand. I would love to see windsurfers leading the rest of the sports world towards a more intelligent future, then see the sports world motivate the rest of the planet to get on board and protect what they love.
I would love to see windsurfers leading the rest of the sports world towards a more intelligent future, then see the sports world motivate the rest of the planet to get on board and protect what they love. Svein Rasmussen
Continentseven: You already used renewable resources for your boards, like wood, in the past. What are the reasons you will not use wood anymore and replace it by carbon?
Svein Rasmussen: Yes, Starboard pioneered Wood Technology in 1994 with the help of New Caledonian Jean-Louis Colmas who started his research on the Wood tech in 1984. I still have a cool wood board anno 1985 , it’s the only board I’ve kept after 15 years of professional windsurfing and developing loads of boards over the last 22 years. We had our best ever results with our Formula boards in wood, scoring 18 out of the top 20 places in the World Championships in the days Formula was the most popular race format.
We are doing intense research with new ways to utilise wood, both as veneer lamination and as sandwich material to replace PVC. We did however not manage to evolve the wood sandwich development program to our ambitious level within the development frame and this year unfortunately slipped. We continue the research and for 018 we plan to be back with a much evolved wood board technology bringing that technology to the very next level. For the 017 season, we went with UltraCore and we’ve worked with our UltraCore supplier to improve manufacturing efficiency. This reduced the carbon footprint of UltraCore by some 30%.