21 September by Eleanor McGillie

TWO surfing brothers who are making waves around the world by manufacturing 100 per cent recyclable surfboards have just taken their work to a whole new level by working with Jaguar Land Rover in its ‘Waste To Wave’ project.

Ricky and Chris Martin from the North Coast of Northern Ireland have been going from strength to strength since coming second out of 900 businesses in the VOOM Pitch to Rich competition run by Virgin Media Business two years ago.

Their company, SkunkWorks Surf Co, is working with Jaguar Land Rover to recycle plastic foam from early vehicle design models to give them a second life in the form of surfboards.

SkunkWorks Surf Co are working with Jaguar Land Rover in the Waste To Wave Project

Polyurethane used in the creation of early design studio models will now be turned into surfboards at the SkunkWorks factory in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Waste to Wave’ project.

The surfboard was tested off the coast of Northern Ireland by England’s number one female surfer, Lucy Campbell, before being showcased at the 2017 Tech Fest in London.

Jaguar Land Rover invited Lucy Campbell, the UK’s number one female surfer, to get behind the wheel of a Discovery Sport before putting the concept through its paces on the waves of Whiterocks Beach, Northern Ireland.

SkunkWorks Surf Co are working with Jaguar Land Rover in the Waste To Wave Project

Speaking about the project, Lucy Campbell said: “When I first heard about this project I was so excited to be a part of it. The ocean is a big part of my life so helping to raise awareness of the need to preserve it is so important to me.

“I didn’t know much about the car design process and it’s been fascinating to learn about how Jaguar Land Rover is giving a ‘second life’ to its materials in this way. Getting out into the water and trying the board out for the first time was awesome.”

The surfboard was created with SkunkWorks Surf Co – a surfboard manufacturer well known globally for its focus on minimising environmental impact.  It was hand-built to the exact dimensions (5’7 x 18 3/8 x 2 3/16) required by Lucy Campbell, who is currently competing on the global circuit. It has carbon fibre rails from the nose and a carbon strip from the tail for additional strength while allowing flex to push through high-intensity manoeuvres.

The board was created from a Discovery Sport clay model which was broken down in June 2017 and was designed and built by SkunkWorks Surf Co.

SkunkWorks Surf Co are working with Jaguar Land Rover in the Waste To Wave Project

Ricky Martin, co-owner of SkunkWorks Surf Co said: “I’m a keen surfer so being able to create sustainable boards which can ride the waves is great. When Jaguar Land Rover approached us with their idea of reusing polyurethane we couldn’t wait to get started in helping reduce their waste – a subject that is very close to my heart.

“It is so useful to get Lucy’s feedback. Her experience riding some of the best waves around the globe will be invaluable as we continue to develop our processes.”

Polyurethane is used in the manufacture of life-size clay models which are modelled by hand at the very beginning of the car design process. The polymer forms the ‘skeleton’ of the models, which is normally destroyed once a car is launched, while the clay is recycled and re-used on site. Now, Jaguar Land Rover is ensuring that all plastic is recovered and sliced into blocks ready for a second life as surfboards or paddleboards.

With an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic dumped in oceans every year, taking hundreds of years to decompose, Jaguar Land Rover has strengthened its commitment to achieving its zero waste goal by creating a range of surfboards made in Northern Ireland, wholly from recycled plastic.

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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps.