A new fin, constructed from ocean plastic waste, which combines sustainability and performance is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.
Felix Wunner and Luise Grossmann originally from Germany but now living in Brisbane have developed the idea using Balinese beach rubbish.
Bali was chosen as it is a prime example of a third world country suffocating in waste as the Indian Ocean garbage patch washes up tons and tons every day. The island is also well known for its surf breaks so it came as the ‘perfect choice’ to tackle the problem by building not only a practical solution but also a high-performance one.
It is estimated that some eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year and the warning comes that this his number will only increase if we don’t reduce the production of new plastic and take recycling seriously.
Waste plastics will be taken from Bali to a processing plant in Java where they are turned into plastic pellets. These are then sent to a factory in Brisbane where they are converted into high-performance surf fins. It is estimated that 50 plastic lids will be removed from the ocean to create each fin.
Both Felix and Luise are experienced surfers but they are also buoyed with skills in product development. Felix is a PhD student studying for advanced manufacturing technologies, while Luise has a business and technology background with a broad market knowledge and vast experience in the surf scene.
After university degrees in Germany they took the chance to live the dream in Australia. They then undertook extensive research of the waste journey in Bali and Java before returning down-under to launch themselves full throttle into the development of the ecoFin.
Along the way they have picked up support from surf legend Rusty Miller with his wife Tricia who are now team ambassadors and mentors. They have also garnered support from the likes of Patagonia and Nikon Australia who both helped back the filming of a half an hour documentary charting the ecoFin’s journey.
“Starting such a project is much more challenging as we thought it would be. Like always, actually doing things is always a different kind of story. Especially as a woman in a male dominated surf industry you have to fight a little bit more for your respect. The question if I surf is standard – but I must admit, once they are convinced, the support is incredible. Thanks to all who believed in us.” Luise said about the endeavour.
To find out more you can visit the ecoFin kickstarter page here