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Shrinking the Surfboard Carbon Footprint by Turning it into Art

Turning broken boards into beautiful sculptures: legendary long boarder Herbie Fletcher recycles surfing's detritus.


One doesn't often think about the environmental detriment of surfing and surf culture. In fact, the equipment can be taxing on the earth: Most wetsuits—with the exception of Patagonia's new plant based model—are made from neoprene, which takes decades to decompose, and most surfboards use synthetic materials like resins and polyurethane foam. As a response, many people have found ways to repurpose surfing's detritus. That includes legendary long boarder Herbie Fletcher, who has made a 50-year-plus career out of nose riding waves on Hawaii's north Shore.




Riding such challenging breaks also means a lot of of surfboard carnage. Instead of letting these fragments go to waste, Fletcher began using his broken boards, and those of his friends, to make the beautiful sculptural series Wreckage. Adorned with years of sponsorship stickers, these colorful pieces call to mind the work of Pop Art masters like Andy Warhol and Julian Schnabel, which makes sense, given that the surfer studied painting under the latter. This Saturday, February 9, Fletcher will reveal six of his recycled creations at The Hole gallery in New York City, with an exhibition on view through February 28. Now you don't have to travel all the way to Oahu to check out Fletcher's eco-art, although who would complain about that?

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship. This week: Measure Your Carbon Footprint. Follow along and join the discussion at #goodcitizen.

Images courtesy of The Hole

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