Kun_Tiqi Carve It Up with Balsa Surfboards
Photo credit: Kun_Tiqi
We've covered a whole quiver of wooden surfboards in the past (links below), but the Kun_Tiqi boards somehow slipped under our radar, until showing up on the screen as one of the finalists for the international sports expo (ISPO) Brand New Award.
Contrary to most foam-based surfboards the Kun_Tiqi are crafted from 90% renewable and natural materials, primarly balsa wood, sourced from a family farm in Ecuador. Avoiding the nasty epoxy resins normally used to protect foam boards, Kun_Tiqi opts instead for a resin mixture of 98% linseed oil.Balsa surfboards are said to trace their heritage back 80 years, until displaced by plastic foam blanks after the Second World War. So making boards from the a tree that grows 10 metres (32 ft) in less than four years is not new. The application of the linseed oil is however a far more recent development and one the holy grails that has been chased by many an eco surfboard maker. The linseed is said to impart a higher degree of board flexibility, with less tendency to split or crack.
Photo credit: Kun_Tiqi
What else is different here is that Kun_Tiqi buy their balsa wood from a family owned Ecuadorian farm, who practice sustainable harvesting by also cultivating bananas, yuca and bean, alongside the balsa. And as the whole production process is essentially handmade, a Kun_Tiqi balsa/linseed oil board takes "approximately six times as long as it takes to produce a conventional foam board."
Photo credit: Eco Surf Shop
Although the fabric used between the balsa and linseed is currently fibreglass, there are appaently plans afoot to move this to a natural fibre as well. We'd imagine such a move to be soon forthcoming, given the successful endeavours already achieved by Stefan Weckert, who as German business administration student, founded the Kuntiqi project in 2006, out of his work experience in a fair trade organisation in Ecuador.
More Wooden Surfboards
• 42 Surfboards. They're Wooden, As Are Many Others.
• Paulownia: Treehugging for Grommets and Waxheadsr
• Wooden Longboards from the Long White Cloud
• Get Wood: Grain Surfboards Say Its Good
• OceanGreen's EcoFoil: A Balsa Hemp Surfboard