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Marine debris is a huge problem in our seas and oceans. It’s an eyesore and annoyance to us but for animals who rely on the sea it’s a killer. Plastic in particular is a huge problem, we consume it at a ridiculous rate, and every piece ever created is still on the earth somewhere, much of it in the ocean. In order to do your bit in stopping the accumulation of waste in our waters you can re-use AND recycle plastics (reusable shopping bags and water bottles, for example) In addition, many innovative approaches to reuse are popping up, and plastic is being remade into T-shirts, belts and shoes. One such person, a surfer named Kevin Cunningham, a man whose ocean-focused reuse of plastic debris is not only helping to keep waters clearer of debris but also re-use this debris in a really pro-active and cool way.

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Kevin came up with an innovative way to use the trash he saw washing up on the local beaches of Providence, Rhode Island. He creates surfboards from reclaimed litter. He says he was inspired by the  a mix of a love for the ocean and feeling so agonised by the amount of trash washing up on the beaches, that he felt compelled to try to do something to combat the problem.

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The possibilities are endless for the uses of the debris, plastic bags woven into a strengthening cloth, plastic bottles cut up and reassembled into fins amongst other things. The project, Spirare Sustainable Surf Craft, started in 2011, limited edition boards traveled to galleries across the USA, followed by a line of 100 custom-made boards. The boards aren’t just sustainable – they’re seen by Cunningham has a functional work of art, as surfboards are, in his words, “the ultimate combination of form and function.”

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He designs and builds boards of all types. Some of his boards are constructed of wood with a recycled EPS foam interior frame. They utilize a parabolic wood perimeter as well to maximize flex and spring back to project the board out of turns. The wood perimeter also brings the controlled flex to the rails of the surfboard where the board is engaging the wave the most. This provides a more positive feeling and transfer of energy from the surfer to the wave. A wood skin unifies the structure of the EPS frame and the parabolic wood perimeter. These boards are also lightweight; comparable to the weight of conventional PU boards while being much stronger and longer lasting while maintaining their flex characteristics.

But don’t take my word for it, see what Kev has to say for himself…

Find out more about Spirare boards here

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