The World’s First Recycled Surfboard

Video interview with Joey Santley & Matt Biolos below!

We first met Joey Santley and his business partner Steve Cox back in the summer, when we were working on the Green Issue. We had heard from Matt Biolos that there was a guy fishing around his dumpsters at the end of each day, grabbing all of the waste from his shaping bays. Turns out the guy was Joey and he was very much a man on a mission. He was launching, a project committed to collecting all the broken surfboards and shaping waste clogging up our landfills and reusing it as filler in byproducts like asphalt and concrete. But as took off, Joey and Steve were already on to other things…like, you know, proving the foam blowing industry wrong and making the world's first recycled surfboard. And the very first one — the one you see above — is a pretty damn perfect stick. Needless to say, Joey and Steve are on to something…again.

When did you first come up with the idea for a recycled surfboard?

My partner Steve Cox and I started brainstorming the idea as we were working on the project back in the fall. My dad had a foam blowing business when I was a kid, so I'm familiar with the process. I knew it could work.

Who did you go to first with the idea?

I went to Matt Biolos first and foremost because he and I have been friends since we were kids. But he was also the first to jump on board with and he's always interested in helping us out. When I came to him with this recycled surfboard idea though, he didn't believe we could do it. But he was up for the challenge. Sure enough, the first one — the one in the photo — came out great.

Explain the process of making a recycled blank without giving away all the secrets, of course.

Well, the first board is 65% recycled foam. All I did was sweep up the foam dust from the shaping machine and bays of Mayhem's factory and mixed it into our blending process. Of course, there has to be some virgin polyurethane in there to make everything adhere, but this is a huge start. We're hoping to get the boards up to 70-{{{80}}}% recycled.

What's the difference between a regular polyurethane blank and your recycled blank?

Nothing, really. I mean, the blank has flecks of ground up stringer material in it, but as far as densities and weight, they're coming out the same and we can alter all of that just like you can when blowing regular blanks. Some guys actually like the pieces of material mixed into the finished product — it looks really unique.

Who have you gone to with these recycled blanks and how has the response been?

I expected way more pushback then I got. All of the shapers are stoked to be working with recycled blanks. I've left a bunch at Channel Islands and they're saving one for Kelly to work on, since he's really into shaping his boards right now. Rusty has some, as well as Patagonia, Doc, Timmy Patterson, Pat Rawson and others. There are more guys, I'm just working to get them made and out the door.

Where are you making these blanks?

We just teamed up with Just Foam. We went to a lot of blank manufacturers and they all basically slammed the door in our faces. But Just Foam is into it, and they will be making these recycled blanks.

You will be able to see Joey and Steve's recycled surfboards at the ASR Trade Show in San Diego, coming up on January 22 through the 24, along with information on They'll be at Booth #1036