We met Francois back in August or July on the interwebs. Well, we were introduced to Francois by our French distributor, Viral Surf via email. At that time, Francois was beginning to work on a new project out of Shaper House / Viral Surf in his home country of France.
For this new project, Francois was going to use a combination of environmently friendly foam and cardboard. Francois kindly asked if we wanted to be apart of his story and sponsor him as he designed and built these phenomenal sustainable surfboards. Francois was the defending 2016 Vissla Upcycled Contest Winner, was talked highly of by Matt Parker of Album Surfboards and the guys at Sustainbable Surf, Vissla and Firewire Surfboards so we had no reason not to support such a passionate craftsman.
This past week, we had the pleasure of hosting Francois here at our facility in Irvine, CA. We were able to experience his unique craftmanship first hand and assist him in creating 3 of his dream boards to close a chapter in his story. Read our conversation with Francois aka @french_da kid below:
Photography by Léo Maigret
1. You're known for using cardboard, What is it about cardboard that attracts you to use it in surfboards?
Cardboard is mostly used once before getting into the trash, what a waste of material. I am using cardboard mainly cause it´s a strong material that we can find everywhere.
2. What inspired you to start building fully "sustainable surfboards"?
I am Architect, since university I was always concerned about sustainable design. Then I started surfing more and more and asked myself what my surfboard was made of? I didn’t like the answer so I started to ask myself how could I make eco-friendly surfboards
3. Your from France, How did you hear about us at Marko Foam in France?
I actually didn’t heard about Marko in France. I was in L.A visiting Kevin from Sustainable Surf, he introduced me to some sustainable products, Marko was in there ;)
4. How does our foam compliment the cardboard?
Foam and cardboard are the most used material in terms of packaging in all kind of industries. If we start recycling them in a large scale, we could make a lot of surfboards and avoid filling a lot of trash cans.
It´s a win / win for the environment and for the surf industry!
5. How did the foam and cardboard hold up on the CNC machine?
It went well! I think it can open up new doors for new materials in surfboards. CNC machine are powerful machines, I am sure it could handle other materials.
6. Any future shapes or progressive board designs in your future?
I am now finishing my last prototypes, and I would love to make a surfboard using a wetsuit!
7. How can people support you and what you are doing?
Fins, plugs, fiber, carbon, blanks, tools… I need materials to keep on creating. I am working on a surf documentary that will sum up all my research and surf trips for the last 14 months. All about recycling!
This only the start of more to come from Francois - Stay tuned for more on his documentary and the board he created at our Irvine Factory.
P.S. For more on Francois, check out Vissla's blog post Stoked On | Francois Jaubert