Hayden Cox and upcycled cloth

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Gotta love an active mind...

It's been over a decade since Hayden Cox pulled apart the traditional surfboard and reassembled his Haydenshapes boards in a new and peculiar way. Yet what looked weird in 2006 has become regulation in 2020 with every label having some sort of carbon solution.

Keen readers of Swellnet may recall that last year, last July to be exact, we sat down with Hayden to talk about new ideas in board construction. In our discussion, Hayden pushed the enviro line a number of times. Aware of his label's footprint, he's attempting to tread more softly: less energy, less waste, more recycling, and he even hinted at new products along those lines.

This week he's made public one of those products - upcycled cloth - which is simply fibreglass and carbon offcuts from the laminating process that's been recycled...in fact, 'upcycled', into lengths of fresh cloth.

Of course, things are never as simple as they seem, and the process to integrate used cloth into a fresh weave, thereby reducing waste but also maintaining strength and quality, is a complex one.

As with all things Hayden does there's a marketing angle. This time 'round it's a collab with a watch company I'd never heard of who apparently reuse their waste material which inspired Hayden to do likewise.

The result Hayden has come up with is faithful to his blanc and noir colourway.

See vid below and presser beneath that.


What is it?
An upcycled fiberglass cloth that is made with chopped carbon fiber and fiberglass off cuts, aerated, then woven into new multiaxial cloth. It is a sustainable material created with the ethos of reducing and repurposing waste created from surfboard manufacturing back into creating a new product. Visually, the monochromatic black and white synonymous with FutureFlex is honoured by the disbursement of the chopped carbon.

How does it compare with a traditional fiberglass cloth?
The FutureFlex Upcycled Multiaxial fabric is a 6oz cloth made up of a stitched biax with the chopped strand upcycled fiber content in between the layers. You can use it in a single layered wet layup bio-epoxy lamination each side of the board to create a standard weight lamination with a nice homogeneous flex pattern. Compared with a traditional surfboard lamination of a single 4oz bottom with a 2x4oz deck, you will use about 10% more resin, yet the durability and strength of the lamination is substantially higher through the multiaxial and random nature of the FutureFlex Upcycled fabric.

When and where will it be available?
Right now we have progressed past the first rounds of samples and are now focusing on scaling up and making the upcycled cloth available. The two key focus areas will be development of machinery to cut and sort the waste fiber and a hopper/spreader to work with Colan Australia’s existing multiaxial weavers. This will take capabilities from small quantities to hundreds of meters. Ways to collect / receive carbon and fiberglass waste from not only Haydenshapes, but other manufacturers, is also being explored.

A decade ago Hayden worked directly with Damien and the team at Colan Australia on developing carbon fiber tapes which are now used by the majority of surfboard manufactures industry wide. The goal for the ‘FutureFlex Upcycled Multiaxial cloth’ is to again provide a material to the wider industry however in this instance, create something that is sustainable and works to minimise the environmental footprint by reducing the waste. Like the carbon tapes available, this cloth will also be distributed by Colan Australia however will sit within the ‘FutureFlex’ brand offering.

How did the idea come about?
In 2018, Hayden was invited to the IWC Schaffhausen manufacturing facility in Switzerland, watch makers of over 150 years, and saw first hand ways that metal off-cuts were collected and repurposed back into product. From here, Hayden linked up with Damien at Colan Australia to weave the upcycled cloth and the first sample board was built on board Haydenshapes ‘Remote’ pop up floating workshop in October 2019.

Comments

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 10:54am

It'd be interesting to know how much energy/resources it takes to recycle the cloth. Makes good business sense though - making a product out of something you'd be throwing away. If I was Hayden I'd be figuring out how to get other manufacturers to pay me to take away their offcuts, then sell the recycled cloth back to 'em!

He who hesitates is lost

Mindora's picture
Mindora's picture
Mindora commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 12:00pm

If I'm reading it correctly he's hoping to sell it to the industry??

So does it all have that B&W look, which is distinctly HS, or does it come in other (clear) colours?

bipola's picture
bipola's picture
bipola commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 12:08pm

good idea, hope it takes off.

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 12:32pm

Is that floating shaping shack for real? Holy fuck, that's the dream right there!

Don't let the bastards grind you down

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 2:51pm

...and it's also like the Goodies' 'Pirate Radio Station'.

Tow it past the 12 mile limit and no laws apply :)

And now, let's take a Walk in the Black Forest...

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Monday, 3 Feb 2020 at 10:26am

Thanks, I just spat coffee all over my work computer...

Classic call VJ.

Don't let the bastards grind you down

HaddoCurl's picture
HaddoCurl's picture
HaddoCurl commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 12:51pm

Yeah good one. Wonder if the off-cuts can be recycled multiple times or it's a one off process.

Haddo

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 12:52pm

Eco and sustainable flying in a plane to go shape?

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

sacash's picture
sacash's picture
sacash commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 5:17pm

still be a $1000 bucks a board

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 2:08pm

Not if you buy on Black Friday. I have 2 DPs, I will soon have 2 HS's.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2020 at 9:27pm

Good on him for pushing a new angle. I'm a bit confuddled though, with a dust-producing shaping bay over water accessed by plane on one hand and a green message on the other. I know, no need to be absolutist, but there's a conflict with it.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 10:11am

Reckon you've gotta understand Hayden's background to appreciate his schtick: Dad is a scientist and Mum is in marketing, so Hayden is a cross-pollinated fruit who hasn't fallen far from either tree.

People who give him shit about his marketing are only seeing the surface, and overlooking his design credentials, and perhaps more crucially, his manufacturing credentials.

Consider that just about all carbon weaves now in production, that is, every bit of black you see on modern boards, comes from Colan Fibreglass, but Damien at Colan didn't make any of that until Hayden convinced him to weave the carbon that would become his FiberFlex. You may call SpineTek, Carbon Wrap, X-Core and the hundred other stringer substitutes a hoax - some are, some aren't - but the thing they all have in common is the shapers using them are following Hayden's lead by eschewing trad construction for targetted strength with modern materials.

He's an original thinker, and that's what I like about him. Can't speak for the performance of his boards, I've only ever ridden one, but as long as he keeps doing his own thing then I'll keep featuring him on Swellnet.

Lastly, I look at his marketing the same way I look at politics: Is it better to change the system from the inside or the outside? Clearly, Hayden would say the former, he uses all the tools of the current system - marketing, celebrity, collabs etc - yet the fact is he's challenging the status quo of the board-making industry.

neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 11:32am

What do you think about Peter Schroff?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 1:24pm

What do I think of Peter Schroff, or what do I think of Peter Schroff chainsawing Hayden's boards?

Actually, the distinction probably doesn't matter, I'm entertained by both. Schroff has always been somewhat of a performance artist, appeared in his early ads, quit shaping for art, then when he returned to surfing he brought his camp theatrics with him. He's a little like Peter Drouyn in that he's tack sharp, sexually ambiguous, and drama follows him everywhere.

The chainsaw thing was hilarious, swinging it around like a roaring phallus, and while I've no idea what Hayden thought of it, I doubt it did any damage to his business.

And look, if people are so militant about domestically made boards then go down to Mona Vale or to his Cali shaping bay and get one made there.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Saturday, 1 Feb 2020 at 4:36pm

I don't disagree, Stu, though I wouldn't put him in the "act straight, infiltrate" camp just yet.

Any improvement which reduces the environmental impact of surf-related gear is a good thing. I agree that incremental improvement has merit, but I find it a little tedious when anyone's hype avoids the other elephants in the room. More strength to the innovators, to be sure.

At the end of the day, though, until we get everyone off the fossil-fuelled surf industry foundations of foam/fibreglass/neoprene/petrol/jet fuel, we are more part of the problem than the solution. I'd need a new keyboard to get through that one, and at the moment I am guilty as charged.

Fliplid's picture
Fliplid's picture
Fliplid commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 7:44am

Marketing teams alternate reality, I wouldn't be taking it too literally.

Got to give him credit though, most shapers just shape and run a business. Somehow he has been able to market himself and recieve endorsements from other businesses, Hayden Cox IS the product, brilliant

sanded's picture
sanded's picture
sanded commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 1:40pm

Well Done Hayden
As Stu said hes an original thinker and if he didn't convince Damo at Colan Australia to do carbon tapes all those years ago.... It would of been hard to convince him them to help me do our range of all the Eco Aussie made cloths we partner with Colan these days! So thanks Hayden! A lot of people also rubbish him about manufacturing overseas.. but at least all those boards have Australian made cloths on them! So keeping our industry manufacturing still going in oz.

Pops - I have seen this cloth being made and its only a slight difference to make it as making a normal double bias cloth apart from putting in recycled material than raw new material so no extra resources or energy.

Mindora - yes it can be clear - double bias cloth is used on about 30-40% of the Eps boards on the market already

Cpt's picture
Cpt's picture
Cpt commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 3:16pm

I like the fact that Hayden is recycling post production waste. But I think his marketing angle is very flawed. Yeah some people might think it looks great and aspirational, flying across the water to a secluded floating shaping shack on Pittwater. But if you were really on board and committed to reducing waste this would have to be the worst way to promote a greener product.
I really hate the fact that he is creating a large carbon footprint by flying in on a plane and then shaping a board on the water and risking getting waste into that waterway. It sends the wrong message and conflicts with what he is trying to achieve. I really can't stand it and think a better outcome could of been achieved with some thought beyond trying to be flash.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 6:57pm

It was a temporary setup for a promo for a couple days.....

simba

hairmick's picture
hairmick's picture
hairmick commented Saturday, 1 Feb 2020 at 4:45pm

I'm not sure if or how that reduces the impact on the environment. Perhaps the opposite?
I'm fairly neutral in my opinion on HS. Really like the initiative of recycling the waste but not sold on the appearance of the final product/ boards.
I have owned 2 HS boards. Loved the first (bought in great second hand condition)made in Asian factory . Then ordered a custom to replace it made from his Australian factory. Sadly the Australian made product was far from well crafted and finished in comparison. I was disappointed with the finish from and quality from the day I received it but chose to not complain. Turned out the board also had poorer durability and didn't last as I'd expect. Put me off in a big way. Have gone back to another local Australian shaper for my last 3 boards and couldn't be happier.
Hope the recycled cloth takes off but perhaps without the carbon fibres if that's even possible.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Friday, 31 Jan 2020 at 10:27pm

hey everyone its a watch ad !

knB

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Friday, 31 Jan 2020 at 10:31pm

hey everyone its a watch ad !

knB

smithyg's picture
smithyg's picture
smithyg commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 5:00pm

How environmentally clean can an industry that since the early 1950's has PU foam / styrene foam, polyester resin / epoxy resin / acetone / fibreglass / carbon fibre / acrylic paint / pigments as core raw materials. The collection and reprocessing of waste glass and carbon is going to be marginally cost effective. Alternate clean materials that enable manufacturers to make durable boards and good profits is the go. Environment solutions will be fixed when they can make money from the fix. So far it's all BS.

GS

TomW Syd's picture
TomW Syd's picture
TomW Syd commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 9:48pm

Good point. Often it seems like the current arsenal of materials and production methods (mass produced boards overseas) is the elephant in the room. Changing the status quo would most likely disrupt many manufacturing facilities, profits, and the rest of it. Recent podcast interview with Thom Yorke of Radiohead, where he says that there needs to be some big changes from above (government) to protect the environment, as they’re ultimately the mechanism that dictates how we operate as a collective. Mainstream politics is too scared to say things have gotta change... and you’re not gonna like it.

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright commented Thursday, 30 Jan 2020 at 8:09pm

"Hayden is a cross-pollinated fruit who hasn't fallen far from either tree."

Classic line.

hangingtomatoes's picture
hangingtomatoes's picture
hangingtomatoes commented Friday, 31 Jan 2020 at 11:51am

i don't like being cynical about these type of projects, because it's better do be doing something, rather than nothing.

but i do wonder about what's going to happen to that floating shaping bay?
And i'm not sure adding recycled fibre to a multiaxial cloth is upcycling or simply just storing the shit in a new board?
Can't you just make a board with multiaxial cloth only?
ie the recycled stuff serves no purpose?
And if it serves no purpose, then the energy going in to produce it is wasted...

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Friday, 31 Jan 2020 at 10:24pm

That just looked like a classy ad for a expensive watch to me.

knB

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Friday, 31 Jan 2020 at 10:26pm

Oh and lets charter a private see plane and fly to a five star flowing cabin and call that going back to shaping roots LOL

knB

bipola's picture
bipola's picture
bipola commented Sunday, 2 Feb 2020 at 8:26pm

it always takes someone to think out of the box. recycling the off cuts is a good idea. if it were not for people like him, nothing would ever get discovered.