Ecoboard Shaper Highlight 006:

So you’ve snapped all your boards – now what? Join David Porter on a journey to forge a profound connection with your surfcraft

by Kailani Wetherell for Sustainable Surf. 23 February 2024.

In the heart of Helensburgh, a quaint town nestled an hour south of Sydney, Australia, lies the headquarters of Treehouse Surf—a sanctuary where David Porter, a dedicated surfboard builder, strives for a singular objective: cultivating a deeper bond between surfers and their boards for a more enriching surfing experience. Porter, who embarked on his surfboard-building odyssey in 1996, was drawn to woodworking at the age of 16, fueled by an innate curiosity about the intricate process of creation. Faced with financial constraints that prevented him from purchasing new boards, he took matters into his own hands, crafting boards from PU foam and polyester resin until 2006. The turning point came when a string of snapped boards led him to question the environmental impact and workability of traditional materials.

With a design degree under his belt, Porter delved into exploring alternative, sustainable materials that not only benefited the environment but also enhanced the craftsmanship of his boards. His motivation extended beyond the present, with a desire to create enduring, beautiful products that could be treasured for generations.

Treehouse Surf stands out with a unique board-building process, showcasing Porter’s innovative prowess. The combination of carefully selected materials results in lightweight boards that offer exceptional responsiveness and durability—a rare combination in the realm of board construction, attesting to Porter’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.

In the realm of materials and shapes, Porter’s passion lies within a specific niche. When asked about his excitement for board building, he expresses a dedication to exploring this niche further. “I’ll continue to build boards that excite me,” he affirms, constantly pushing boundaries by investigating bio-based foams and materials derived from waste. “I’m constantly exploring new materials, particularly looking at bio-based foams and new materials created from waste.  The future of surfboards in general will be quite different to what I’m doing.  New materials, new processes and automated systems will be introduced.”

As Porter envisions the future of surfboards evolving with new materials, processes, and automated systems, he remains hopeful for increased adoption of bio-based resins, foams, and recycled content, envisioning a more sustainable mainstream surfing culture.

Rekindling a practice from his past, Porter is reintroducing hand-shaping classes, aiming to inspire a new generation. With Treehouse Surf, he strives to instill in his children the pursuit of their passions, emphasizing the joy that comes from waking up with a burning desire to create.

For David Porter, the real richness in surfing comes from the profound connection with your equipment. He explains “the key to achieving that feeling is through really well built boards that last a lifetime. Boards that become like ‘old friends’ and also through shaping your own boards. Getting that whole different experience when you go surfing. I’m keen to spread more of that.”

For a deeper dive into David Porter’s mission with Treehouse Surf, explore his work on Instagram