The ecoFin is the world’s first surfboard fin made from ocean waste

The ecoFin is the world’s first surfboard fin made from ocean waste

Original article: Swellnet – ecofin world first surfboard fin made from ocean waste 28th November 2016.

We’re just two surfers that decided we could no longer ignore plastic pollution in our oceans. – Luise Grossmann

Whether it is collected from the ocean or will end up there, FiveOceans founders Luise Grossmann and Felix Wunner give ocean rubbish a new life. The ecoFin is the world’s first surfboard fin made using plastic collected from the Indian Ocean, and proves that it’s possible to close the cycle with ocean waste and make high quality surf gear.


Matt George: What was the genesis for this idea?

Luise Grosmann: In 2015, on a surf trip to Bali, we were shocked by the pollution on the beaches and floating out in the surf breaks. We paddled out through plastic bags and packaging and watched the tides bring more and more waste ashore. It broke our hearts. 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are floating across the world’s five oceans. This is a surfer’s problem. Clear and simple. And not a lot of people other than surfers are ever going to do anything about it.

With our backgrounds in engineering, we decided to use what we knew best to find a solution. Our ecoFin is the world’s first high performance surfboard fin made from ocean waste. There it is. No longer do we need to choose between performance and environmental impact.

We want to make this happen. Build a surfing innovation and information platform that would unite creative thinkers, problem solvers, and designers from all over the world. We want to ride together. We are not dreamers or hustlers. We have high level university degrees and success in global business. Surfing happens to be the love of our lives. We want to be part of the promise of the future. If we don’t all start now we won’t able to keep that promise.


Is the recycling process practical or just dreamy?

Felix Wunner: There is a quite bit of rocket science involved here. We can proudly say that we refined the material so that the ecoFin can absolutely compete with any fin on the market. The first pro tests are taking place now and it’s all positive.

What is the connection with the average surfer?

Luise: We definitely see that the connection of surfers with the ocean is something special, we feel it everyday ourselves, and we are convinced that surfers can act as role models for the rest of the world.

From a technical perspective, we already have ideas in the pipeline to expand the range of surf products made from recycled materials in the future and want to build a global family of surfers to make it happen.

Where does the trash come from, exactly?

Felix: Most the trash we use comes from Bali’s beaches and around Indonesia. Mostly plastic bottle caps. It undergoes the whole recycling process and then comes to us in the form of pellets. Then we transform those pellets into our Ocean Composite material. A material that was actually unique enough to trademark. The last step is the molding with specialised manufacturers in Australia. It’s teamwork.


What about the actual fin design and performance aspects?

Felix: We focused first on designing a template for advanced surfers. Our reinforced material can be as stiff as carbon based products. The feedback so far is that the ecoFin works best in small to slightly overhead waves. A solid base flex allows controlled drive and the flat inside foil delivers the stability.

The best part is that these fins are super light, so they do not need to upset the balance of a perfectly shaped and glassed surfboard foil. Nothing tail heavy. We chose FCS and Future Fins box templates so just about anyone can use them.

And the overall vibe of the thing in the surfing community?

Luise: Well our Kickstarter campaign last year was huge. That is a great indication of surfer interest and support. So keep an eye out for us, we will be in shops soon, and join the family of caring for our ocean.

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