Sustainable, low-impact, and environmentally-friendly materials and processes is the norm rather than the exception for the Wave Arcade project.
This approach is typically not the cheapest, nor the easiest, nor the fastest way to get things done, but it’s the right thing to do. Otherwise, what’s the point?
We’re always looking for ways to upcycle old surf junk and use recycled and sustainable materials in our products. Our production methods are small-scale and completed primarily in San Diego County (mostly by hand).
Check out some of the materials and processes that help make Wave Arcade what it is.
Hand Crafted, Locally
We like to work with our hands, and believe it’s a necessary step in the production process to really understand what we make and how it’s going to work. Most of our products that incorporate some sort of CNC step are finished and refined by hand.
There’s something about surfing with handmade equipment that just feels better.
3D Modeling & CNC
Whether we’re prototyping something new or looking to replicate one of our designs precisely, we turn to 3D modeling software and CNC machines like 3D printers and routers.
Up-cycled Surf Junk
We love finding new ways to up-cycle our surf equipment that’s no longer sea worthy.
For example, we’ve found that wetsuits that are no good at keeping you warm anymore are real good at keeping beers cold.
We also add stitched, up-cycled wetsuit patches to most of our apparel – we think they look pretty cool and bring an entirely new purpose to something that would have otherwise ended up in a junkyard or in the corner of the garage collecting dust for eternity.
Recycled Raw Materials
Along with up-cycled surf equipment, we use recycled raw materials in many of our products and are always looking for ways to expand this even further.
You’ll find some of our accessories are 3D printed from recycled plastic filament. We’re looking to source the apparel we offer from recycled sources as well.
We make surf fins out of bamboo – a resource that we’ve found aligns perfectly with our aim to create high quality, good looking, and sustainable products. The light weight, strength, and recoil properties of bamboo make for a great fin.
We’ve learned that bamboo is a really interesting plant – it releases more oxygen into the atmosphere than an equivalent biomass of trees, it can grow as much a 3 feet per day and can mature in as little as 1 to 5 years, it grows very easily without the need for additional chemicals or fertilizer, and is stronger than steel in tensile strength.
Baltic Birch Plywood
We also make fins using Baltic Birch Plywood. Lightweight and buoyant, they’re a nice compliment to our bamboo fins. Expect the ply fins to have a bit slower rebound than bamboo, making them ideal for drawn out carves with a little more forgiveness out of turns. They’re great in a variety of conditions.
It’s a sustainable plywood option that works really well for fins. Baltic birch is typically a higher quality that plywood you’d find at a big home improvement store – free of voids and laminated with even, solid layers.
The layers are cross laminated, which gives makes it stronger that a standard ply and contributes to a unique look when the fins are foiled.
We’ve recently swapped fiberglass for hemp cloth to glass our fins. Hemp is another amazing plant that has a wide variety of applications. It’s also another plant that grows quickly, requires relatively little water, and doesn’t deplete the environment where it grows.
We’ve found hemp cloth to actually be stronger than fiberglass. It has some unique flex properties of its own when paired with wood or bamboo, and give a super distinct look to the fins we make.
We use small amounts of carbon fiber in our fins to ensure our bases are solid and strong. When making wood fins for removable fin systems, the base is the trickiest part and the area most prone to damage and breakage. A little bit of carbon fiber goes a long way in keeping our bases intact and promoting flex and twist through the tip of the fin.