Earth Technologies Surf: the Twinja (Limited Edition series)

overall rating:

2.75

planets

Cameron Jewett
7/1/2021
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The Twinja Limited Edition boards are some of the most sustainable you’ll find on the market. Like many sustainable products, the trade-off is the cost. There are 3 models made of the Twinja Limited Edition ranging from 5’11” to 6’3”, with each costing $3000. The boards utilize a Zero Waste System, intending for no excess materials to end up in a landfill. To help achieve this, each board comes with a collection of sustainable goods made from the waste of the board making, like coasters, wax combs, and more. They also come with a Shred Skateboard Surf Skate, made by a company that works closely with Earth Tech and uses 100% surfboard waste to make their skateboards. The one potential pitfall of this is since it isn’t what the consumer purchased, there’s no certainty that they will want or use the accompanying products. But since the additional products are generally useful and many of them are related to board care/upkeep, it is likely that most consumers will get good use out of them. A portion of the proceeds (an unspecified amount) also goes to charities listed under the 1People1Planet website. For a decreased price at $995 (but still greater than your typical unsustainable board), you can also get a Twinja stock board.

What it's made of:

2.5

With the ECOBOARD certification, it’s safe to assume that these boards are made of sustainable materials. Earth Tech doesn’t list the product materials on the page for the individual board which makes it hard to establish exactly what makes up the Limited Edition Twinja boards. A third-party summary of the board lists that the body of the boards are made from upcycled paddleboards reinforced with organic flax and recycled PET, and finished with scrap fiberglass.

While finding materials on specifically the Limited Edition Twinja boards is tough, Earth Tech does have a super comprehensive page on all the materials and technologies they use to craft their boards more generally. They use Level-One Sustainable Surf verified glassed over customer-specified traditional Poly foam or EPS foam blanks. As a more sustainable alternative to carbon fiber, on some boards they use basalt fiber made from volcanic rock. Earth Tech also notes that they use alternatives like flax and hemp to help maintain the sustainability of their surfboards.

Overall, quality of these boards are not sacrificed for sustainability (in fact, with the level of care put into these boards they likely far exceed the lifespan of the average surfboard) and the materials that make up Earth Tech surfboards are quite sustainable. What makes it even more sustainable is how customized the boards are. There is a great level of care given to each and they are often customized to consumer specifications, allowing for more oversight on sustainability during the process. Specifying what the Twinja Limited Editions boards are made of within their page on the website would help increase transparency and clarity for the sustainability of these boards. 

How it's made:

2.75

Made in a California-based factory (according to the ECOBOARD website), Earth Tech surfboards are made in a primarily customized way rather than having a large amount of stock at any given time. One key element of Earth Technologies’ manufacturing process is their Zero-Waste Initiative. All waste is either recycled or upcycled into their Greenlines products. They’ve clearly thought deeply about this initiative, outlining niche processes like leaving all the excess ‘would-be-waste’ products on the dip trays so that any excess resin will drip off and soak into the waste. Then when the waste is thick enough with resin and hardens, it is put through a plastic shredder before being upcycled into cool products. They also utilize a specific mealworm (dubbed a ‘super worm’) that has a unique poly styrene-eating enzyme in their gut that works to bioremediate Earth Tech’s foam and organic waste products like veneer shreds, cork, or flax. This initiative is pretty revolutionary, helping to eliminate all the waste from the board crafting process, which is a lot! In the making of an average board, material weighing about double the weight of the board is sent to the landfill as waste.

Earth Technologies ships worldwide, and as always transportation causes an increased carbon footprint of the product, but this is more a reflection on our consumerist systems and sustainability of transportation than it is on Earth Technologies as a company or the Limited Edition Twinja as a board.

All their boards are made to fit the ECOBOARD certification requirements, and Earth Tech’s manufacturing site was audited by Sustainable Surf in 2016. I would also love to know if they’ve had any audits done on carbon footprint or reports on emissions and such! 

Who makes it:

2.75

Earth Technologies is a long-standing leader in sustainable, zero-waste surfboards. They are gold-level Sustainable Surf ECOBOARD certified, which is a certification that affirms a surfboard’s sustainability and quality. They also donate a good portion of their profits to charities, with $100 from each sale going to a nonprofit highlighted on 1planetonepeople.com (helping to combat climate change, and racial and social injustice). This company prioritizes sustainability and customizability. Their emphasis on customizable orders reduces overstock and unwanted boards. They also have a page on their website for used, demo stock, and team-rider trade in boards. This supports reuse and reduced production of surfboards, and is also a cheaper option with boards in the $300-$500 range rather than the $700-$1000 range. While the environmental sustainability of their products is evident, one thing that I would love to see Earth Technologies do is discuss more about their labor and ethics policies.