The ecoFin is the world’s first surfboard fin made from ocean waste

Matt George
Swellnet Dispatch

“We’re just two surfers that decided we could no longer ignore plastic pollution in our oceans."  -Luise Grossmann

Whether it is collected from the ocean or will end up there, FiveOceans founders Luise Grossmann and Felix Wunner give ocean rubbish a new life. The ecoFin is the world’s first surfboard fin made using plastic collected from the Indian Ocean, and proves that it’s possible to close the cycle with ocean waste and make high quality surf gear.

Matt George: What was the genesis for this idea?
Luise Grosmann: In 2015, on a surf trip to Bali, we were shocked by the pollution on the beaches and floating out in the surf breaks. We paddled out through plastic bags and packaging and watched the tides bring more and more waste ashore. It broke our hearts. 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are floating across the world’s five oceans. This is a surfer’s problem. Clear and simple. And not a lot of people other than surfers are ever going to do anything about it.

With our backgrounds in engineering, we decided to use what we knew best to find a solution. Our ecoFin is the world’s first high performance surfboard fin made from ocean waste. There it is. No longer do we need to choose between performance and environmental impact.

We want to make this happen. Build a surfing innovation and information platform that would unite creative thinkers, problem solvers, and designers from all over the world. We want to ride together. We are not dreamers or hustlers. We have high level university degrees and success in global business. Surfing happens to be the love of our lives. We want to be part of the promise of the future. If we don’t all start now we won’t able to keep that promise.

Is the recycling process practical or just dreamy?
Felix Wunner: There is a quite bit of rocket science involved here. We can proudly say that we refined the material so that the ecoFin can absolutely compete with any fin on the market. The first pro tests are taking place now and it’s all positive.

What is the connection with the average surfer?
Luise: We definitely see that the connection of surfers with the ocean is something special, we feel it everyday ourselves, and we are convinced that surfers can act as role models for the rest of the world.

From a technical perspective, we already have ideas in the pipeline to expand the range of surf products made from recycled materials in the future and want to build a global family of surfers to make it happen.

Where does the trash come from, exactly?
Felix: Most the trash we use comes from Bali’s beaches and around Indonesia. Mostly plastic bottle caps. It undergoes the whole recycling process and then comes to us in the form of pellets. Then we transform those pellets into our Ocean Composite material. A material that was actually unique enough to trademark. The last step is the molding with specialised manufacturers in Australia. It’s teamwork.

What about the actual fin design and performance aspects?
Felix: We focused first on designing a template for advanced surfers. Our reinforced material can be as stiff as carbon based products. The feedback so far is that the ecoFin works best in small to slightly overhead waves. A solid base flex allows controlled drive and the flat inside foil delivers the stability.

The best part is that these fins are super light, so they do not need to upset the balance of a perfectly shaped and glassed surfboard foil.  Nothing tail heavy. We chose FCS and Future Fins box templates so just about anyone can use them.

And the overall vibe of the thing in the surfing community?
Luise: Well our Kickstarter campaign last year was huge. That is a great indication of surfer interest and support. So keep an eye out for us, we will be in shops soon, and join the family of caring for our ocean.

To get involved visit:

Website: www.five-oceans.co
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joinFiveOceans
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/joinfiveoceans
Instagram: https://instagram.com/joinfiveoceans/
And they've even got their own Youtube Channel

Comments

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:07am

Good job.

And, if they can bring them in cheaper than a set of Futures, I'll buy them.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:17am

A great idea ! but Why would they make fcs1 ? That is rubbish already?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:28am

FCS II is patent protected so no-one else can make it.

I'm still riding original FCS. Nothing wrong with them.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:34am

They have future too cml.
http://five-oceans.co/product/ecofin-thruster-1-for-futures/

Stu, I ride fcs 1 too and don't have problems. But heard from kiters blowing plugs and breaking fins all the time.

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 3:08pm

They look ok lostdoggy thanks

Guy Tuterangiwhiu O'Connor's picture
Guy Tuterangiwhiu O'Connor's picture
Guy Tuterangiwh... commented Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 at 3:34am

Yes kiters do but mine haven't on kite boards because I have reinforced the tabs with stainless steel rods 2 in each tab. But the futures ones I make don't need the steel rods.

https://www.facebook.com/Pipe-Storm-surfboard-fins-120412934696600/

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:36am

Certainly a positive step. It would be interesting to see the cost of the recycling process.
Unless the government brings in a return deposit scheme for plastic bottles, this will be difficult to work. It will be interesting to see what other products can be made from the recycled material. Apparently there is a process to collect the plastics in the Pacifc - huge pile, apparently. Now you just need to get the right economics.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 4:53pm

No,

We actually need to clean up the ocean. > go Figure> Life's not always about profits.

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 at 2:37pm

Sure LD, but that's not how people work. Indo needs to put a dollar (should say rupiah) value to the plastic. Then someone will collect it. For the poor, it is about the dollar or rupiah.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:38am

Sounds like they're on to it...I like to imagine the day when all of our hardware is fully recycled - boards, leggies, fins, travel accessories etc.

I'm not cheap,
But I'm free.

Guy Tuterangiwhiu O'Connor's picture
Guy Tuterangiwhiu O'Connor's picture
Guy Tuterangiwh... commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 6:27pm

the world first 100% recycled fins are mine since 2009
https://www.facebook.com/Pipe-Storm-surfboard-fins-120412934696600/

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:38am

Given SurfStich are in financial difficulty, leasing out their patent on FCS II could be a nice earner.

calmbutnot's picture
calmbutnot's picture
calmbutnot commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 11:17am

so when they snap off, the plastic goes back to the sea bed floor ?

Guy Tuterangiwhiu O'Connor's picture
Guy Tuterangiwhiu O'Connor's picture
Guy Tuterangiwh... commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 6:26pm

FCS ones will my FCS fitting ones stay attached to the tabs if they ever do break.
https://www.facebook.com/Pipe-Storm-surfboard-fins-120412934696600/

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 2:13pm

The trash in the ocean is terrible & if you contribute to it then you suck . Fcs 1 suck too

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 2:37pm

Haha I've never heard such dislike for fcs from anyone else caml. It's a pisser. I think an analogy you used once was, it's like buying a Ferrari and putting second hand tyres on it..I love it

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 2:55pm

Love my Fcs1 fins in Futures boxes....works well.

# Ollie Dousset #
You are my Hero son

Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ni-biki no inu's picture
Hako o hakonde ... commented Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 at 11:27am

so the converter works well udo ?

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 3:05pm

do you put futures in your fcs udo ? Are you guys actually saying that plastic fcs1 are good ? & dont snap off & become rubbish immediately ?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 3:18pm

Fcs1 into Futures boxes...

# Ollie Dousset #
You are my Hero son

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 3:22pm

Not plastic FCS 1, I don't use them, but my current sets are carbon or resin injected FCS compatible fins.

Only reason they created FCS II is so they can profit from patent exclusivity. Nothing else.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 5:44pm

"Only reason they created FCS II is so they can profit from patent exclusivity. Nothing else".

Exactly.

I dont know if it was a wife tale or what, but didn't they screw up with the original FC 1 and accidentally let the patent expire?...not sure how a business like that could let it happen though.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 7:25pm

Nah, wasn't a screw up, they only had patent for, I think, 15 years. All inventions come off patent at some time, it's why big pharmaceutical companies evergreen their drugs so they retain patent exclusivity. 

I remember when the original FCS went off patent and FCS-compatible fins flooded the market, so to fight back they showed Julian Wilson, Kelly Slater, and whoever else was on their team spruiking FCS plugs in their ads: "Demand the real thing" the ads said plaintively.

...and plainly they were struggling.

I mean, really, who cares whether your plugs were made by FCS or some other manufacturer? It's the fins people care about and all of a sudden people could buy FCS-compatible fins for a fraction of the price.

And then they came out with FCS II, which was their way of evergreening the original FCS invention. Now it's like getting aspirin at the chemist. You want to pay big money for the big name trademarked product, or half the price for the no name one that does the same job?

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 8:25pm

Absurd how the best surfing website in Australia promotes the cheapest ,non genuine, gimmicky , poorly manufactured products available ?!!!
Lucky for stunet he has the forums crew to raise the detail levels in this one rare case . Sharing info about these aspects in finer detail , Its all cool ! But answer this ,do you buy $2 sunglasses ? dont be caught with good sunnys & cheap fins .
Recycled fins are cool still not saying these ones arent good

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 8:27pm

Cheapest? Gimmicky? Poorly manufactured...?

You don't even know which fins I ride.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 3:23pm

You got the Futures-to-FCS converter, Udo?

Can't remember its name...

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 3:26pm

Wasabi

# Ollie Dousset #
You are my Hero son

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 4:49pm

Interesting,

If they came in future moulds, i would give them a whirl.

See lots of less than positive views against the old fcs design(tabs).

Even more against plastic/ Composite fins .

Any reasons?

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 6:03pm

Lankydean , Same reason surfboards have been made from fiberglass for 50 yrs .. plastic (knifes forks )are just replicas of a real fin . Besides I thought everyone knows how easy they snap off at the base or the little plugs . At least a proper fibre fin lasts 40 years .
STILL Think that these recyced fins are cool & good luck with them

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 at 3:54pm

Fins Fins,

We all choose to ride different fins , i have bucket full of fins that i switch out, depending on conditions.

That being said though, i feel anyone who is interested in cleaning up the oceans and making fins from the waste should be applauded . What a fantastic idea.

Mr Caml, i understand that you do not like Plastics or composite fins, though you would be surprised on the overall memory of some plastic /composite materials. Also sorry to break it to you mr caml , but

"Fiberglass (or fibreglass) is a type of fiber-reinforced plastic where the reinforcement fiber is specifically glass fiber. The glass fiber may be randomly arranged, flattened into a sheet (called a chopped strand mat), or woven into a fabric. The plastic matrix may be a thermosetting plastic – most often epoxy, polyester resin – or vinylester, or a thermoplastic. "

What i often wonder is why fins are wrapped with so much Carbon nowdays. It took the manufacturers far too long to realise they didn't need to wrap the whole fin in carbon............

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 6:34pm

Used at Nazare this year well done.

# Ollie Dousset #
You are my Hero son

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 28 Nov 2016 at 10:58pm

There is a converter for futures to FCS ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 at 11:38am

Here you go, Blowin:

https://www.wasabisurf.com/

c/o Udo.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 at 8:32pm

Cheers Udo / Stu.

Doesn't put futures into FCS slots though. Spewing.