Woolight – a method of building surfboards with sustainably sheared wool from sheep shepherded on Pamu Certified farms in New Zealand.
Every surfboard we make is built under Sustainable Surf’s ECOBOARD standard and Woolight is an extension of that – an effort to recognize that in some cases nature may have already perfected what man has created.
In this case, fiberglass.
Woolight uses half the fiberglass of a normal Helium build by substituting two sheets of fiberglass (one on the deck and one on the bottom) with two sheets of wool, thanks to a proprietary process invented by New Zealand surfboard builder and craftsman Paul Barron.
From Paul: “I was laminating a board at my factory in Tauranga, New Zealand one day, and I spilled some resin on a wool jersey I was wearing, and that’s when it hit me – I could make a surfboard using natural fibers sourced in New Zealand. And not only is the wool a New Zealand made product, it works just as good, if not better than fiberglass.”
Woolight is more than cosmetics.
It looks colorful, yes, but the color is only dye added to wool within a build process that brings structural integrity to each Woolight board the same way that Paulownia wood brings strength and form to each Timbertek shape.
Before we began R and D with Rob Machado and others, this sounded impossible to us because of wool’s reputation for sweaters and suits and blankets and other soft-goods.
But we were quickly educated on ‘Strong Wool’ a method of milling and applying wool’s naturally occurring tensile strength towards solid goods like furniture or boats for example, something Paul has been on the cutting edge of for the past three years using wool supplied by NZ Merino.
When we finalized Woolight’s build (a sandwich constructed 1 lb EPS core wrapped in fiberglass, 3MM EPP deckskin and wool fabric, finished with an epoxy resin hot coat) we were excited to find how similarly it surfed to our normal Helium build.
We found it incredible to have a naturally occurring fiber from such a wave rich island country performing to the same standards as a synthetic one that had long been the industry standard.
With Woolight’s Helium performance characteristics in mind we spent the last year testing many of Rob’s personal shapes and stock models in Woolight and decided to release Woolight first in Rob’s popular Seaside model before any other shape.
Why? Because the Seaside has been proven in waves around the world by surfers of all skill levels, and among Firewire employees and team riders, it’s a new favorite in Woolight.
For example Eric Geiselman has been surfing a Woolight Seaside at both San Onofre and Lower Trestles this Summer and he won’t get off of it, even for friends who want to try it.
Woolight is at Surf Shops around the world now.
If your favorite shop doesn’t have them on the racks, they can special order one for you, through us.
Just ask them.