A startup spun out of Australia’s Deakin University has leveraged its knowledge in organic chemistry and aerospace engineering to produce the world’s first recycled carbon fiber surfboard. Pitched as not just a way of preventing waste going to landfill, JUC Surf says it has overcome previous issues with carbon fiber construction to offer a board that performs just as well as a traditional one.
“While carbon fiber is an amazing material, more than 45,000 tonnes of it is thrown into landfill each year,” says JUC Surf’s Dr Filip Stojcevski, an aerospace engineer. “By using the principles of engineering and chemistry we learnt at Deakin, we’ve created surfboards that we’re confident people will love, with the added benefits to the environment in reducing landfill too.”
While completing his PhD, Stojcevski worked with Boeing R and T Aerospace on advanced surface treatments for carbon fiber to improve its adherence to resin. Other innovations involved advanced electrochemistry techniques and new ways of recycling the carbon fibers to make the material more durable.
“Until now, carbon fiber surfboards have been too rigid and prone to delamination, due to micro-cracks in the carbon fiber interface,” says Stojcevski. “We’ve used advanced electrochemistry to improve the properties of surface-modified hydrophobic carbon fibers and recycled fibers to solve the problem.”
The team has channeled these breakthroughs into the production of high-performance boards, which feature conventional expanded polystyrene cores and epoxy resin. The specially designed carbon fiber fabric, however, is said to offer the board the same flexibility as a traditional one, but with greater strength and less weight.
“We’re confident that our boards are stronger, lighter and more durable than conventional e-glass fiber-reinforced boards, but cost around the same price,” Dr Stojcevski said.
JUC Surf’s boards are available for preorder now via the company’s website, and are priced between AU$650 to $900 (US$450 to $630).