Wave Arcade is a project designed to keep putting quarters in the wave machine.
Inspired by the ocean and tasty waves, the Wave Arcade project is a combination of art, design, and sustainability. We aim to find new ways to recycle, upcycle, and repurpose ocean-related products and waste as well as find ways to make sustainable materials and production methods of surf equipment the norm rather than the exception.
There are plenty of companies and projects focused on the research and education components of more sustainable surfing products – that’s not our primary focus. We plan to create really great products using environmentally responsible materials and processes because it’s the right thing to do. If you think so too, welcome aboard.
We’re in the early stages of research and development and waste collection, but you can join us today. Check out some of our apparel and accessories, follow us on Instagram, and check back here for development updates and new products.
Great Salt Lake Surf Sessions – How Wave Arcade Started
I started Wave Arcade in 2017 mostly out of a necessity to help retain my sanity when I temporarily lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, where you’ve got this huge salty body of water that has no waves and smells really bad. My surfing cadence had been cut down to a handful of days every few months when I’d be back in San Diego for visits or work. I was feeling pretty land-sick and needed something to distract me.
Wave Arcade started as a side project that got me drawing and designing again. I worked on some t-shirt designs and did some screen-printing in the basement. For whatever reason, I had an old wetsuit with me that was no longer seaworthy – I used that to make some beer koozies (speaking of beer, Utah did have some good options – surprisingly) and tags for my shirts.
At the same time, I also became interested in fin design. I did as much reading as I could and started learning how to use 3D-modeling programs to design fins. I did some experimenting with 3D printing surf fins at the University with some interesting results.
Admittedly, I’d never given much thought to my fins before moving to a place where I couldn’t surf. It was mind-blowing to me how subtle changes in fin design, layout, and materials could have such noticeable effect on your surfing and the feel of a board.
When I moved back to San Diego I had fin fever. I dusted off my boards that were stored in my girlfriend’s parents’ garage (thanks guys) and began experimenting with my fin setups so I could experience what I’d been reading about. I was convinced, and I wanted to figure out how I could make my own fins that were both fun to surf and environmentally conscious.
Despite my passions, my focus on Wave Arcade moved further and further to the back-burner as I became busy with my 9-5 at an office downtown. On the weekends and after work, I’d try to sneak in some time to work on the project, but I was making slow progress. It felt really strange that I had more time to work on my surf project when I was completely landlocked than when I was right down the street from the water.
But I pressed on, and I started experimenting with bamboo to build surf fins. I made a crude single-fin prototype – equipped with a filed-down bolt for a pin and an unintentionally asymmetrical forward profile – that, despite its flaws, surfed great! The responsiveness and feel of a fully bamboo surf fin was something I’d yet to experience. And that’s where my primary focus for Wave Arcade landed – bamboo surf fins.
In Fall 2018, I decided to go against conventional wisdom and leave my stable day job behind so I could focus on Wave Arcade.
If you need me, I’ll be in the garage.