E-Tech Boards is an award winning high performance eco surfboard company that is the first of its kind in the world. Co-owners Todd Patterson and Ryan Harris opened E-Tech with one mission in mind: to demonstrate to the greater surfing community that there are greener and more sustainable surfboard production methods that will not compromise the performance of the board.
In an effort to get this message out, E-Tech has partnered with industry leaders and the Sustainable Surf Foundation to facilitate the transformation of surf culture and the surf industry into one powerful community that strives to protect the ocean playground. They’ve teamed up with major industry brands such as Lost and Channel Islands to glass boards using their eco-friendly production process and expand the visibility of green glassing. The E-tech surfboards are also verified ecoboards by Sustainable Surf which benchmarks their use of more sustainable materials made with the latest advancements in green chemistry, recycled and renewable resources.
We sat down with E-Tech co-founder, Ryan Harris, to discuss his inspiration for starting E-Tech and what goes into making high performance eco surfboards.
Conscious Connection: It’s great to be with you, Ryan. Give us the story on how E-Tech Boards got started.
Ryan Harris: It all started about five years ago when Todd and I were both local California board shapers. Todd was building eco boards out of his studio while I was building eco boards under the Entropy Resins warehouse. When Entropy pulled the plug on surfboard production, Todd was my first phone call. We immediately linked up, joined forces and decided to launch our own new eco board line together and offer eco board building services to the industry.
Conscious Connection: It sounds like it was a truly organic process. Tell me what exactly goes into making a surfboard sustainable?
Ryan Harris: It starts with the blank — we use recyclable EPS, or recycled Envirofoam from Marko. We only use sustainably harvested wood for the stringers or bamboo. And of course, the resin! Super Sap from Entropy Resins is the only USDA certified bio epoxy, and it is the only resin we use. We also utilize vacuum bagging as much as possible to reduce the total amount of fiberglass and resin used. Bamboo veneers, as well as many industry firsts in terms of eco materials. We have a honeycomb foam made from recycled plastic bottles, and several different types of fiberglass replacement materials both recyclable and bio based.
Conscious Connection: That’s great that you have made each aspect of the manufacturing process sustainable in its own right. Tell me now about what went into creating the #CCMag board (pictured below).
Ryan Harris: This board was hand shaped by me out of Marko recyclable EPS and glassed in our E-Flex Tech 4 construction. The bottom was laminated using a recyclable ballistic polyester material which is very hard to ding. The deck was then vacuum bagged with a bamboo veneer. All in all, this board uses 50% less fiberglass than traditional boards, is light and strong and by far one of the most eco/sustainable boards on the planet!
Conscious Connection: Well I have to say, we’ve been riding our E-Tech eco-board for a few months now and are proud to report the performance is way better than any traditionally made surfboard we’ve ever ridden. It’s lighter, faster, stronger and more stable when pulling off advanced maneuvers in the water. Consider the myth that eco-boards lack performance totally busted!
Ryan Harris: Exactly. We make eco-boards for the top two surfboard companies on the planet: Lost and Channel Islands. These guys are synonymous with the most high performance surfboards around and we make boards for them using our sustainable design tech — enough said!!
Conscious Connection: Agreed. So what’s in store for the future of E-Tech and the eco-board movement?
Ryan Harris: In the immediate future, I’m taking a promotional West Coast trip to both educate and capture some SUP sales. There are plans for other green glass shops, and while it has not been our plan to monopolize this, since we set the bar we will be consulting with anyone that plans to pursue green glassing. We will continue to educate the public and keep dispelling the old myths about eco boards. The whole eco lifestyle brand is a long term goal. The time is now, we are currently making green boards for: CI, Lost, Timmy Patterson, Cole, Pat Ryan, PauHana SUP, Invert SUP, and most recently Roberts. As you can see the list of big board brands is growing which is a great sign. Green is finally in within the surf industry and we hope to continue to raise the standard on what makes a high performance eco board.