Ecoboard Shaper Highlight 007:

Beyond the Waves: Notox Surf’s Journey to Reconnect You with Nature

by Kailani Wetherell for Sustainable Surf. 07 March 2024.

Situated near Biarritz in Anglet, the southwest of France, Notox Surf is a French brand at the forefront of the new generation of surfboards, characterized by a profound commitment to environmental consciousness.

Notox Surf invites you to reconnect with nature, embarking on a journey that began in 2006. The co-founders, Benoit and Pierre, both with backgrounds in robotics, were disenchanted by the industrial production methods of traditional surfboards. Benoit, already a seasoned amateur board shaper, and Pierre, an engineer and robotics doctor, took a bold step after visiting a subcontracting workshop for prominent surfing brands. This eye-opening experience led them to leave their jobs and establish NOTOX. After three years of intensive research and development, they proudly introduced their first eco-friendly board to the market.

Utilizing an innovative upcycling process to harness carbon for surfboards, Notox pioneers an approach that seeks to recover material seamlessly, eliminating the need for intermediate transformations between retrieval and manufacturing. This method, surpassing traditional recycling, boasts a virtuous cycle by sidestepping energy consumption during the material transformation phase.

However, the catch lies in the demand for adaptability in manufacturing processes to accommodate the variability of available recovered materials. The flexibility required to adjust processes becomes a significant challenge.

Remarkably, the use of upcycled material has no adverse impact on the board’s performance. Instead, it is the nature of the reclaimed material that subtly influences the board’s characteristics. The reclaimed fabric, marginally thicker than the standard carbon fabrics prevalent in contemporary surfboards, imparts a rugged and stiffer quality to the boards.

Navigating the carbon fiber terrain involves a trade-off, particularly in flexibility when compared to fiberglass PU boards. The inherent stiffness of carbon fabric translates to immediate energy feedback but can render the board more susceptible to choppy conditions. However, the advantage lies in the simplicity of repairs. When the need arises, repairing these boards is straightforward, requiring only common materials like fiberglass and epoxy resin. This accessibility ensures that repairs can be conducted by any shaper, anywhere, making Notox’s boards a practical and sustainable choice for surfers worldwide.

What’s exciting about the future of board building is the potential for innovation within the traditionally conservative surfing industry. Notox Surf sees promising developments on the horizon, fueled by factors like the rise of Foiling, which continually pushes the boundaries of surfing equipment. The synergy between surfing and foil could give rise to groundbreaking concepts, ushering in a new era of creativity.

Moreover, the growing climate emergency is reshaping market demands, gradually steering the industry towards more eco-conscious practices. While this shift remains somewhat marginal at present, it encourages both established companies and new ventures to explore innovative approaches to eco-design. Notox acknowledges this positive trend, emphasizing the need for caution amidst a sea of potentially challenges.

Notox Surf aspires to inspire a wide audience, primarily surfers but also extending its impact to fellow shapers and existing institutions. By advocating for sustainable practices, they aim to be a catalyst for positive change within the broader surfing community.

Looking towards the future, Notox has a myriad of projects in the pipeline. From partnerships to eco-innovations, they hope to see these initiatives come to fruition, fostering growth in a sustainable manner while remaining true to their core values. Notox Surf stands as a beacon of hope in the surfing world, demonstrating that eco-friendly practices can coexist with innovation, creating a harmonious balance between surfing and nature.

For a deeper dive into the mission of Notox Surf, explore their work on Instagram @notoxsurf