Circular Boardmakers – Munich – Impressions from Julia Graeter

During our days in Munich we had the pleasure to spend time with some of the local key players amongst the surfboard and snowboarding brands here in Munich. 

With the collaboration of Steckerlfish, Riot Surfboards, The Bakery snowboards, Mio Boards and Wau Eco Surfboards we managed to organize an incredible evening event at SantoLoco store, the most emblematic boardsports shop in the city.
We started with a short presentation about GK, followed by the screening of our short-documentary ‘Mediterráneamente Plástico’ and to round off we had a really constructive panel talk discussion with all the local board-builders. 

Discussions were based on the current reality of the manufacturing of boards as well as focus points on the weakest and strongest elements in terms of sustainability. The builders explained their materials innovations, how they deal with their waste and how they believe that costumers have the power to change the trend to more eco-friendly gear.

Hanging out with this guys you tend to forget how crazy it sounds that someone is building surfboards in Munich.

Julia Gräter – Designer & Environmentalist – joined the event and decided to write about it in her blog:

The following text has been translated and adapted from the original German article that you can find the link at the bottom of the page.

julia.graeter.

“It’s all about Good Karma”

Film screening and panel talk with Munich’s board manufacturers

For some years now I live in Munich. But what brought me here? Quite simply: the love of boardsports and nature. Munich is particularly suitable for boardsports of any kind. So you can go to the Eisbach for surfing in every season, in summer for kiting, SUP or wakeboarding to the lakes in the direct vicinity and in winter to snowboarding in the nearby mountains.

Freedom. Enjoy the moment. To be one with nature. Self-realization.

Who is thinking about pollution? Unfortunately, a few. Especially the industry often makes us believe that we dive into the nature with a board under our feet and therefore we are passionate nature lovers. But let’s take a look at it in a sober state: wear and tear, CO2 consumption when traveling to the spot and in the production of equipment and lifestyle fashion, and last but not least waste and toxic chemicals in the production.

But what does that mean for us who love board sports? Abstinence? No!
Let me explain it:
Yes, I also buy new equipment when I need it.
Yes, I also sit in the car or the plane to get to a surf spot or into the mountains.
Yes, I am not perfect neither.
But no, we do not have to!

It’s not about being “perfect” and allowing yourself nothing more and spending a life of grief and loneliness in your own home. It’s about building awareness. Therefore, to know and weigh the effects of your own actions. Do I really need the new equipment, or am I just satisfying a short-term need for the latest trend?

The guys and girls from Good Karma Projects have tackled this problem.Through various projects and actions, they are paving the way for more sustainability in boardsports. They are looking for solutions for riders and raise awareness in society. Albert Font de Rubinat, Co-Founder of Good Karma Projects,  visited Munich them to present the project at Outdoor by ISPO this year. As the grand finale, on the last day, on the 3rd of July, he organized the screening of their latest documentary in the SantoLoco Shop, the local surf shop in Munich. “Mediterráneamente Plástico” is the new documentary about the ever-present problem of microplastics (filmed by Joe Delahunty).

After the film, there was finally a panel talk about sustainable board production. With the local shapers from Munich and surrounding area of WAU surfboards, Steckerlfish, Riot surfboards, Mio boards and the guys from The Bakery Snowboards (from left to right).

Each one of them explained their personal experience and show alternative ways of working. The boards from WAU Surfboards use organic flax fibers, an upcycling core, eco-resin and bamboo, for example. Also, they use the material waste that normally is thrown away to make backpacks and laptop bags instead. Ben from Steckerlfish started making ding repairs with bio-epoxy early on. He was also the one who brought the alternative bio-resin to the SantoLoco shop, where the end consumer now also has the opportunity to purchase them. He soon realized that he wanted to produce his own surfboards, which last longer especially in the extreme conditions on the Eisbach. Also Riot surfboards focuses on the production of conventional surfboards, which last longer, are sustainable and despite all this does not lose function. Mioboards manufactures various wooden boards, specializing in kite and foil. For this sustainable production, they have already been awarded with the GoldLevel Ecoboard certification by Sustainable Surf. The Bakery Snowboards are the only local Munich snowboard manufacturers in the round. And they of course also have something to add in the topic of sustainability. In addition to bio-resin, they use bamboo instead of a traditional wood core, as it grows ten times faster and can therefore capture more CO2. Instead of glass fiber The Bakery sets snowboards in many boards on flax or hemp fiber. In addition to snowboards, they now also produce lifestyle fashion. This is made from organic materials such as bamboo viscose and organic cotton.

During a concluding question and answer session, the audience once again had the opportunity to speak in order to put left-over questions about manufacturing processes or other topics.

All in all:

YEAH – the consciousness is growing! And yet there is still much to do. So far, we are still a relatively small community, which is really actively committed to more sustainability in boardsports and is aware of the effects of their own actions. Let’s fight together to make sure that does not stay that way. We want to grow and reach the big fish of the industry. Only in this way is a truly sustainable development and change possible – and thus also an improvement of the state of the oceans.

I am also currently planning new projects for more environmental protection and awareness. So much has already been revealed – even a joint CleanUp on the Eisbach with the local board manufacturers, the community and CleanUpMunich is in the planning.

Become active too, by sharing the message right now and so informing your friends as well.
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