Lonely Planet Writer

California surfer makes board from 10,000 cigarette butts

A Californian surfer and industrial designer has created a functional surfboard that incorporates 10,000 cigarette butts into its body in an effort to promote the use of recycled materials in creative projects and raise awareness for environmentalism.

Created by Taylor Lane, “The Roach Tail” was designed as part of the Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest, hosted by surf gear company Vissla in association with Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works to protect and clean oceans and beaches. “The premise of the contest is to create some article of surf craft out of up-cycled material, aka trash. So we decided littered cigarette butts off the beach would be a good place to start. 10,000 butts later and a labour of love yielded this,” Taylor explained.

In order to produce the board, Taylor and his team had to take part in beach clean-ups on the Central Californian coast. The design also uses EPS foam and fiberglass cut-offs donated from surf shops, styrofoam from fish markets and found fabrics that were epoxied using a special soybean resin. After 200 hours and a few failed attempts at getting The Roach Tail out on the waves, Taylor’s creation went on to win the competition, beating designs that included boards made from potato sacks, recycled packaging materials and supplies gathered from dumpster dives.

Following the success of the project, Taylor is now planning to create an environmental surf documentary about the making of the board, while also showing the harmful effects of beach pollution. He intends to build three different models for the film, before bringing the boards to various coastal regions around the world.

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched in order to fund the documentary. More information on it is available at the official page.