Paradoxal Surfboards

paradoxal surf
Polystyrene or polyurethane are the two materials used in almost all surfboards in the world. They are toxic for the environment, energy-intensive to produce, carcinogenic to humans, generate micro-plastic and come from very far away. PARADOXAL SURFBOARDS offers a surfboard that is both 100% biosourced and 100% Breton. Its design is based on biomimicry and recalls a microscopic view of an algae, the diatom. The boards are produced using 3D printing, which combines a unique design and optimized performance.

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The origin of the project is the result of a combination of three circumstances:

In 2020, as co-president of the YSTOPIA association in Douarnenez, I participated in highlighting initiatives acting directly or indirectly in favor of the preservation of biodiversity and the ocean. At the same time, as co-director of a design office, part of our activities consisted of creating various objects using 3D printing for our clients. Whether simple decorative objects, model parts or replacements for rare parts on the market, making this part of our business profitable has proven to be complex due to the time-consuming nature of tailor-made. At the time, my objective was to refocus exclusively on objects whose design we had mastered upstream ( Point 1 ).

One day, while delivering an order to one of our customers, she asked me about the material used in our 3D prints. I explained to him that it was a plant-based plastic, free of petroleum, made from corn starch (PLA). Having extensive knowledge of the subject, she pointed out to us that the PLA we were using came from the United States (the world’s largest producer), was genetically modified, caused enormous damage to biodiversity areas and that the growing corn required a significant amount of water… in short, a material that was anything but ecological! This is how I had the idea of ​​locally creating our own eco-designed material for 3D printing ( Point 2 ).

A few days later, during a surf session on Ris beach in Douarnenez, I noticed that the beach was temporarily closed to swimming due to the proliferation of green algae and potential health risks (a phenomenon recurring in Douarnenez). Despite the abundant presence of algae, I decided to surf this spot. However, I came out completely in bad shape, bedridden for two days. This episode raised my environmental awareness and encouraged me to act on my own scale to tackle the problem of green algae from strandings
( Point 3 ).

And then, eureka ! The idea: use stranded green algae (Point 3) to create a thermoformable material in 3D printing (Point 2) in order to manufacture an object with a previously mastered design (Point 1) – an algae surfboard!

This is how the PARADOXAL SURFBOARDS project was born .

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