Is it possible to make a surfboard blank from hemp? Does it have the qualities of strength and lightness? Thanks James DeMaio
South Coast Surfboards in South Africa. We have been making only greener boards for more than two years now. Hemp lamination, using entropy SupaSap. Recycled blanks in PU or PS. Bamboo veneer inlay on the deck, this would be our standard spec. And we are in the process of developing two different greener blanks, one made from sugar cane pulp which is in abundance here, the other made from hemp pulp. Leash plugs and fin plugs made to any spec, using wood that is harvested locally from all alien species in the neighborhood. The boards and SUPs handle well, are lighter and stronger than normal fiberglass products, and of course are very green. Ahoy 🌴
Any one ever consider using toe sacks, adding an epoxy binder for strength? Toe sacks or feed sacks if you would rather describe them are easy to come by. I’m comparing the cost/price relationship between the various methods of constructing a board at the moment.
there are already people in byron bay producing hemp surfboards they use clothing grade knitt woven stretch hemp fabric streached over a traditional foam core bonded with epoxy , vacuum bagging is a must as this type of fabric holds alott of resin unless it is compressed . one may be able to make a material simmilar to foam by seperating the stalk pith from the fibre and hot pressing the pith in a mold this should be about twice to three times the weight of foam but four to six times the compressive strength . you could make ahollow core for a surf board with this material and end up lighter at the same strength as classic fibreglass boards , and two pack resins can be made from the linolaic acids in hemp seed oil, there are chemists presently working on plant based two pack resins . im reasearching this to build a hemp fibre recumbent bike/boat
Dear James, Your request to the NAIHC for information on the use of Industrial Hemp has been forwarded to me for a response. I am pleased to respond.
Industrial hemp has some unique properties, some of which might make it a candidate for use in producing surfboards. Hemp grows in a tall bamboo-like manner. The most outstanding property lies in the strength of its fibers.The fibers are quite long, reaching upwards of twenty feet and are unusually strong and flexible.This property makes it very desirable for blending with wood chips and producing a strong lumber substitute. This requires a number of highly complex steps using such equipment as heated plattens,boilers, sanders etc.
A critical component would be the adhesive or binder. Much work has taken place in the past 20 years to develop new adhesives that would be compatable with hemp in that the adhesive must be able to permeate the hemp fibers and provide a strong bond between the fibers.The adhesive must be light enough to keep the product from being too heavy.
Certainly it is feasible to cut the hemp and rett (separate) the fibers. One could blend in the adhesive to form a mat of the proper size. The process would then require the mat to be placed into some type of mold and be subjected to very high temperature and high pressure. While such equipment exists, it would require extensive modifications to produce a blank for further shaping.
While it might be possible to produce a board and shape the surfboard, I suspect that the weight would be excessive due to the adhesive.There is also the flotation property which the board may or may not have. Since the board would be in the water, we must provide a waterproof “surface finish,” again adding to the weight problem.
In conclusion, it should be stated that while it may be theoretically possible, it certainly would be economically impractical. Such a process would require significant R&D effort in many areas.Good luck on your project ! William C. Miller, NAIHC Board Member
I am a local Madison artist, and I am working on building a completely sustainable surfboard to use on the Great Lakes. I would like to find a hemp alternative to traditional fiberglass. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks, Scott Pauli
Think “hollow.” Rick Campbell
Yes it is possible to produce a surfboard from hemp fibre. In the United Kingdom, there is a site in Devon called the Eden Project where hemp is grown in controlled conditions and where the team has produced a hemp surfboard. For the full report, visit: http://www.edenproject.com/about/1364.htm
The Eden Project is in Cornwall, but just over the border in N. Devon (Bideford) hemp is grown and makes hemp cooking oil and protein at ‘Good Oil’.
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