GOOD 100: Meet Danny Hess, Borrowing From the Past to Build Surfboards of the Future
Not many people can be described as a ‘wood fetishist.’ Then again, not many people are Danny Hess.
Hess is a surfboard builder with an uncommon plan to build a better board. His wooden boards not only cut out the toxic components that comprise most boards, but are also significantly sturdier and meant to last a lifetime. In an industry reliant on synthetic materials, Hess is pioneering the future of surfing, by borrowing from the past.
Based in San Francisco, Hess uses salvaged wood, natural finishes and organic resins to create environmentally friendly, green surfboards. Crafting surfboards that last and can even be passed down from generation to generation is uncommon in a sport where participants crash often, forcing them to replace broken equipment more than once a year.
“My main goal has always been to push how surfboards are built further,” Hess says. “The main part of the industry still relies on 50-year-old technology. I want to inspire people to think about alternative, healthier, and stronger building methods and materials.”
Later this year, Hess will debut his new design—a lightweight, durable product made entirely from reclaimed or recycled components. This design will take foam, resin, and fiberglass out of the surfboard-building process, Hess says, and he’s already built a couple successful prototypes. He plans to have a few of these new boards ready to surf by mid-summer.
Too curious to wait? Hess invites GOOD users to “stop by the Woodshop in San Francisco to peek through the window and have a look at the two earlier prototypes on display.”
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