Thursday, January 24th, 2013
About five years ago, Brazilian surfer Jairo Lumertz came
up with an idea that could combine his passion for surfing with his passion for the environment — create surfboards made of plastic bottles.
Today, Lumertz is a man on a mission. Carrying the Eco Surfboard made of plastic bottles (presumably PET) that he designed, he and his girlfriend, Carolina Scorsin, travel from one to another of Brazil’s many beaches, visiting schools where they encourage children to take up surfing, and at the same time, show them how to reduce waste and help the environment.
The low cost of Eco Surfboards makes it easier for kids to get involved. “A common surfboard in the store costs at least $2,000, and can reach $5,000,” Scorsin says. “A board made with plastic bottles is only $100.”
Last August, the couple launched their project with the motto “One for all and all for a better world.” They have been visiting numerous schools and talking with the kids about surfing, the environment, and how their unique surfboards combine the two.
In one of 45-day period, the couple gave 44 lectures, spreading the word to more than 5,000 children along the southern and southeastern coasts of Brazil. Scorsin says the feeling from working with the kids is wonderful, and their acceptance is 100 percent.
Eco Surfboards begin with repurposed plastic bottles that have been treated with dry ice to make them stronger and improve their flotation. The bottles are joined together using PVC tubes and glue to form a surfboard or the larger standup paddleboard. A standard board uses 41 bottles. A paddleboard uses 73.
Based on their ongoing success, Lumertz and Scorsin want to continue the program, but though they have received some municipal and corporate money, their main source of funding has been their own pockets. Scorsin says they didn’t start this volunteer work to get rich. Their purpose is to have more children take up surfing and for the kids and others to become more conscious of the environment and learn how to reuse waste.
They now have developed a plan for forming a non-governmental organization
(NGO) that will enable them to expand the project to the northeast of Brazil during 2013. Scorsin says, “On some beaches that we surf, you’re landing your foot in garbage instead of sand. The more people get involved in using the ecological surfboard, the more we would be cleaning the planet.”