Mark Price talks Slater Designs, Surfboard Industry Sustainability, and WSL Eco Boards

Ready for Summer: When Mark Price isn’t surfing, he’s plotting a sustainable future for Firewire. And the rest of the surfboard industry as well.

Loyola Marymount University asked Mark Price to speak with an audience of students in a Los Angeles auditorium about sustainability in the surfboard industry, and a lot more – such as the future of fin design, the production steps to building a Firewire surfboard and what may be next for the WSL.

The event was sponsored and presented by Ian McKeown’s Green LMU, an academic team on campus dedicated to education, innovation, and stewardship initiatives for the well-being of our planet.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from this hour long video:

The future of business:

“We believe that companies should realize that at some point in the future, if you’re not opperating your busines in the most sustainable way possible, consumers will reject your products.’

On Eco Boards:

“The work has been done to get to eco board certification. We could all be there today with every surfboard we ride, without any loss of performance. And we really believe that. ”

The future of Firewire:

“We are about 8 months away from introducing a completely sustainably produced cloth alternative that’s not hemp or flax or linen or any of the things that anyone is familiar with. It’s going to be quite mind blowing where this product comes from, and the way in which it’s incorporated into the board building process.

On how Firewire tries to lead:

“We’re building less toxic surfboards. They’re not toxin free. So I don’t want to get on a pedestal here and say we’ve got it all figured out and we’re doing everything right. But we are doing certainly a lot more than most people in our industry, and hopefully, through that, we’re coercing them and encouraging them to make similar changes.

Why surfboards cost what they do:

“If you talk to surfboard builders, they’ll always tell you that surfboards are too cheap. I would argue the opposite. I think surfboards are worth what surfers are willing to pay for them. The surfboard industry has been building disposable surfboards for decades. A regular PU/PE surfboard, after 3 or 4, 6 months, the materials have fatigued. The deck is dented. The resale value is low. You’d be lucky to get 200 dollars at a garage sale. So I think the industry needs to look itself in the face and say, wait a minute – we have driven down the price of surfboards because that’s all they’re worth.

Talking Timbertek – The students asked great questions.

On the decision to begin Timbertek production:

“If you do the right thing, and you put it out there, people will support it. Now we put it out there at the same price point as existing surfboards and we absorbed the cost of bio-resins and the sustainably grown timber that’s used as the deck skins and the 20% recycled EPS core that’s in the Timbertek build. But again, we’re looking long term. And I think that everyone needs to start having a much longer term view of the world. ”

Mark also share’s the story behind

  • How and why we developed Slater Designs Traction.
  • The path we took to recycling eps foam into paving stones.
  • Firewire’s goal of producing zero waste by 2020.

And a whole lot more.

You can watch it on YouTube here.