Wahoo International Opens The Door To A ‘Greener’ Way Of Building Surfboards, Offering Styrofoam-Safe, Environmentally-Friendly Laminating Resin
Wahoo International, a leading manufacturer of polyester surfboard resins using ultraviolet (UV) technology and creator of surfer-favorite, Solarez Ding Repair Putty, announced this week that its popular Solarez product is now also available to manufacturers of Styrofoam boards to assist with the surfboard production process.
This new, zero-VOC method, says Gary Fisher, founder of Wahoo International, can now be used on Styrofoam blanks. It is also safer to the laminator, or production workers, because it has no amine-based hardeners that can cause allergic responses. All of the benefits of polyester UV curing accompany this product, including indefinite pot-life, super-fast curing, denser crosslinking, non temperature-dependence and reusability of uncured “waste” resin.
Fisher notes the irony of a sport priding itself on proactive environmentalism being unwilling or indifferent to a technology proven to reduce air pollution and waste in the glassing room. As far back as 1993, he sought the endorsement of UV technology from the Surfrider Foundation, surfing’s foremost environmental group. He was told tersely by a Surfrider official that the organization “did not endorse chemicals.” Ironically, Surfrider had just endorsed a beer company for manufacturing plastic break-away snap rings to protect marine life, while sidestepping the issue of air pollution caused by the manufacturing of millions of surfboards worldwide.
Not only have they have developed a non-yellowing, strong, fast and efficient way of making boards, but this technology also helps to reduce air pollution and health hazards, making it environmentally-safe. It’s also a huge timesaver, helping keep industry workers safe and healthy and it ships “non-hazardous”.
While Solarez has long been an industry standard for field repairs and touch-ups in the glassing room, its use in surfboard production as a faster, cleaner, more durable and less expensive alternative to the more polluting and traditional method of applying catalysts or hardeners once received some skepticism from the surfing industry.
“The method of glassing polyester surfboards hadn’t changed significantly in 40 years,” says Fisher. “They were basically using the same foam, glass, resin and catalyst. With the increasing use of Styrofoam blanks, Glassers are now scratching for innovative methods to increasing production. I’ve seen guys use anything from Spackle to Wilbur’s glue in order to compatibilize Styro blanks. They also modify conventional epoxy resins to increase sanding ability or cure rates but they can’t escape some of epoxy’s inherent shortcomings; susceptibility to humidity in its liquid state, awkward gel transition and yellowing with age. UV technology is the new industry standard for protective coatings on everything from CDs to cars and camera lenses so why not Styrofoam-surfboards?”
UV resins, like Solarez offer two distinct advantages. First, the quick set-up time greatly reduces the amount of air-polluting fumes, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) created in the glassing room. Second, they speed up the curing process and decrease surfboard production time.
With Stryo-safe Solarez you can prep a badly pitted blank so it is sealed and ready to be laminated in 3 minutes. At this point, you can laminate with your favorite polyester (yes, it’s compatible) or epoxy, or you could continue glassing with Solarez and be done in another 15 minutes.
For more information on UV curing, or for details on purchasing Solarez, call (760) 967-7873 or visit Wahoo International’s website.