Ecoboard Shaper Highlight 003: Ashley Lloyd Surfboards
by Kailani Wetherell for Sustainable Surf
At one point, she was one of the only two females in the world making surfboards, you’d probably know her as the woman shaping out of Santa Cruz. But for Ashley Lloyd, shaping boards was a passion project and will always be a labor of love.
“I see the challenges more when they are pointed out to me. My challenges with this are who I used to be. At once I was one of the few women in the world making surfboards. (we all thought i was the only one) It felt special, and yes it was challenging. I think making surfboards whether you are male or female takes a lot of practice, desire, and knowledge. Now there are dozens and probably hundreds and soon to be thousands of females in the industry. My hope is that they see that they are all special..no one can do things like they can each do it.. If their desire and love for it is there, they will be supported. We are always being supported by our beliefs.”Ashley Lloyd 2023.
Growing up on the beaches of Southern California, Ashley Lloyd spent her childhood surfing everything Malibu had to offer before moving up the coast and settling in Santa Cruz, California. Surfing from a young age, Ashley was used to repairing the dings that came with the sport. But it wasn’t until her 20’s that Ashley’s friend and mentor, Danny Tarampi, introduced her to the possibility of shaping. Essentially falling into the craft in 2002, she learned to shape and glass boards from Tarampi, her friend Eden, and some other friends from the Wilderness of Santa Barbara. In the beginning, making boards in an eco-conscious manner didn’t necessarily cross Ashely’s mind, but as she became more educated in the practice, she became more cautious about the impact the surf industry had on herself as well as the environment.
When asked why eco-friendly boards, Ashley explains, “Why not?! Years ago, when filmmakers from Dear and Yonder asked me to shape a board for their movie, they introduced me to the makers of bio-foam blanks. This was so exciting!” Dear and Yonder is a renowned surf film that provides an inside look into the daring stories of ladies united by the sea. Featuring Stephanie Gilmore, Coco Ho, and of course Ashley Lloyd, amongst many other best names in the business, this was a huge turning point for Lloyd and how she would go on to shape her boards.
It was during this time that Ashley met her now former husband, Alex and upon becoming a new mom, Lloyd had a new perspective on her body’s intake and the importance of what was being put into her body. She came across bio-epoxy resin which was found to carry low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), and decided to take the financial risk of investing in the alternative environmentally friendly material. High VOC’s exist in our daily lives through the forms of benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, and methylene chloride just to name a few and carry a variety of dangerous health effects upon exposure including eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system. Some VOCs are even suspected or proven carcinogens. After years of trying to find a glasser that would incorporate the bio-resin and aesthetics Ashley aimed to achieve, Alex went on to glass her boards. Together in the midst of the wonderful chaos; Ashley and Alex then met Sustainable Surf Co-Founder, Michael Stewart, and Brett Giddings, stoked on the possibility of Ashley becoming an ECOBOARD Certified builder. Michael and Brett audited her factory making sure it was up to eco-standard, and introduced Ashley to many components to make building more eco-friendly boards a reality. Lloyd expresses her appreciation “I am grateful for them and their passion for helping spread the word and connect the dots for people in regards to making ecoboards and contributing to a more sustainable profession. I am now an ambassador for the Sustainable Surf and the Sea Trees project, which is a great honor for me!” Ashley and Alex continued to work in harmony until Alex had a career switch. It was then that Ashley’s “eco-board neighbor” Tyler Hopkins from Locus surfboards began to glass her boards. Locus surfboards maintains a high bar for environmental responsibility without skimping on quality. Every Locus board is glassed using plant-based epoxies and every Locus creation is EcoBoard certified by SustainableSurf.org.
Further detailing her approach to building eco-friendly boards, the process consists of glassing with only bio-epoxy resin, using flax cloth layer in construction with recyclable EPS foam, and repurposing resin floor drippings. Working together for 6 years, sustainability is key while she shapes and Tyler glasses, as the two create boards that are incredibly strong with gorgeous color lams appealing to Ashley’s favorite aesthetics.
By being part of the ECOBOARD Project, Lloyd has gained hope explaining that the project has put wind in her sails for starting something that was out of the norm, straying from how she had been traditionally taught to make surfboards. “It has helped me live a more conscious life.”
Ashley believes her impact is phenomenal along with everyone else’s who’s inspired to participate in making ecoboard. “It feels really special to have been a part of the movement of making ecoboards. We are all part of the movement, even if we are only in the witnessing seat. Being a part of the ecoboard project has always been a ‘hell yes’ for me; even through the challenges of learning how to use new materials and achieve the aesthetic, strength, and performance functionality I desired. We never truly see the exact physical influence our actions benefit, but when we are guided through our love source decisions that our own individual beings call us towards, the benefit is tremendous.”
Pulling inspiration from where she grew up, Malibu was where Ashley learned to make boards, play music and teach surfing. She has built out her own incredible multi-functional wraps and apparel company “Unfurling” which has given her the ability to build on doing the same stuff she’s loved since she was a child. An appreciator of classic style, in everything she does, Ashley puts a focus on flow, consciously creating, and authenticity. For all future surfboard shapers out there, she tells the younger generation: “Find proper gear to protect your precious body. Enjoy the process of learning. Success is in the process…”
Finally, as I like to highlight something that makes the world go round, I asked Ashley if she had any funny moments she’d like to detail. What she shared was rather inspiring, and I’ll let her statement speak for itself:
Yesterday I thought someone asked me to ‘sign’ their new surf book and they just asked me to ‘see’ their new surf book. Ha!
I felt so full of myself to have misheard this person, thinking they wanted my signature, then she kindly told me she actually just wanted me to see the book! Ha! Feeling more embarrassed as time went on that I misheard her thinking she wanted my autograph, this moment deconstructed the pride in familiarity with presenting myself as humble.
Writing about this moment now, I find the answer. (I see lots of metaphors in life) While an autograph may only be the significance of a pen on a page, what if we are actually leaving our autograph all over the place energetically? Bio Footprint is a term we use to measure our impact on the physical environment. When we talk about Ecoboards, there is so much of the physical that we are referring to. Yes, our physical world is very important, we live in a physical world. We must care for our environment. But everything starts energetically, so … What if each thought and feeling we have could be presented as a footprint or signature? Our greatest power lies within our own consciousness. Caring about our inner environment directly affects our outer environment. Bubbling from us and out into the ethers may be the way I feel, being kind to self and others, trusting in the process of where we reside, and accepting others to do so for their own wellbeing. What signature are we leaving and why? We are all extremely important, whether apparent at the moment or not. Whether you are being asked to present it or not, what is your signature? What are your thoughts? Are you allowing yourself to see and cherish the love that resides in you?
I want to feel good about what I do. This starts in my consciousness. Whether my signature is on a page, or in the ethers energetically, it is there. The best thing I can do for my environment (which contains myself) is begin with loving myself, so I can in turn contribute to this web of my outer environment. We all are extremely powerful. The answers continue to present themselves when the desires are there. I am grateful for organizations like Sustainable Surf. You guys connect and highlight the dots on so many desires that have been rocketed by lovers of the environment and surf!