Personally delivered by OVNY’s Michael Briody, the staff at iJS received the Recycled Records (a.k.a surfboard coasters) for ‘testing’ with much anticipation! We got wind of this product a while back, but we couldn’t discern much from the website photos at OVNY.org … and the prospect of recycled wetsuits that did not involvemelting and reprocessing had us quite eager to examine the real mckoy. We got the point of the product: recycled neoprene turned into surfboard spacers to avoid board on board contact, and reduce stress cracks and fractures.
Right from the beginning, the feel and texture of the surfboard coasters was quite different from what we had expected. Since these black record-like discs are made from ground up neoprene – picture a cross cutting shredder going to town on your wet suit! – they have a textured feel and weight to them … not smooth and molded like a mouse pad or the rubbery skin of your laptop sleeve.
The coasters are formed using a high heat / compression process, employing an adhesive base to bind the chopped pieces together. Overall the coasters have a heavy feel to them, “masculine and strong” as resident textile expert Kaya puts it. “You can almost see the history of all the wet suits that were recycled back to life, dying to tell stories of surfing days gone by.”
One thing to remember is that the coasters are not molded, so folding one in half like a Frisbee is not something you should do. Much like a pair of thick flip flops (or slippahs in Hawaii), if you bend them enough times, they will start to fold at that spot and eventually break off or flake away. NOTE: We have to admit that this particular aspect was not an officially sanctioned iJS test, but the side tests that resulted in using them as Frisbees after so much prompting acted more like torture tests for the Recycled Records.
Officially though, the surfboard coasters tested quite effectively. We placed the coasters between two longboards initially, a 9’6″ epoxy board and a 9’0″ beater board that we waxed liberally just for this test. Since the two boards were very similar in profile and shape, the coasters needed very little adjustment once we placed them between the two wake surfing boards. With the straps holding the boards together onto the soft rack, we took off for a freeway ride to Oahu’s west coast.
Conversely, another set of boards made their way to the south side, headed to Waikiki for a session of surf and grindz (pronounced food for the non-locals). On this particular trip, we strapped a 5’9″ fish with some heavy rocker on top of a coffee table flat 9’6″ longboard. This setup proved to be the real test for the coasters as their protective job was in question based on the diametrically opposed rocker setup and length of the two boards.
Anyone who has ever placed a heavily rockered shortboard on top of a longboard on a roof rack knows how you immediately get nose and tail squash-action into the bottom of the longboard. AND if you strap the boards down to prevent them from flying off your car, the resulting compression pressure can be bad news for both surfboards. However, the Recycled Records held their end of the deal fairly well, allowing us to elevate the shortboard from the bottom surface of the longboard just enough to avoid any damage.
The first bonus benefit we found with the Recycled Records was that they were perfect anti-cement pads placed under the surfboards while the boards were being waxed. Placed conveniently under the center fin or skeg as well as near the nose, we were able to wax the surfboards without scratching the bottom or fins, even on cement.
AND SO WE SURFED. (This is where no actual product testing happened, just a lot of good surfing that conveniently masqueraded as research). But after the surf sessions, er … research … we were surprised to find some unadvertised uses for the surfboard coasters!
The west side surfers discovered that the coasters worked really well as changing pads (or mats) to stand on while standing on a sand parking lot. Thick enough to lift your feet from the sand and allow you to stay sand-free, the coasters let our staffers keep a good portion of the sand from following them inside the car. The Waikiki surfers used the coasters as nose and tail guards to rest the surfboards on while they slid the surfboards into their cloth socks.
DO THEY WORK THEN? In a nutshell, yes. And then some. Here are the overall observations from the staff:
- Without having to use board bags or socks, the surfboards stay perfectly spaced from each other. [The coasters] provide enough spacing to avoid wax transfers from board to board
- I like the spacing the coasters provide between the boards, it allows air to flow in there and cool the wax rather than melt or get squashed down which requires a surf comb afterwards
- The wax just peels right off the coasters after you use them – easy cleanup!
- Even with board bags, the coasters prevent boards from getting smashed into each other by creating spacing to allow for individual rocker
- You can stack the coasters for better spacing – two in the nose area, one in the tail – you just gotta play with them
- The coasters are thick and strong, with plenty of “shock absorbing” property to protect surfboards
- They coasters prevent more rubber from going back to the land fills, enough said!
- In a pinch, I used the coasters between the roof of my car and my surfboard when I couldn’t find my soft racks …
- Two words people: mouse pad!
- I used them as padding for the tail of the board when I stand em up in the garage, mesh bag and all
We obviously like this new product for the simple fact that it prevents more garbage from getting dumped into the land fills, but it also performs a crucial function in reducing waste in other areas not necessarily attached to the land fills. By using the coasters, we could stop using our beach towels as spacers between the boards thereby reducing the “waxy” build up on the towels themselves. In turn, less laundry loads. We also like that proper spacing and padding prevent unnecessary damage to our surfboards during transit, travel, or storage. Less repair chemicals as well as better longevity for the boards!
Does anyone still make actual records these days? Since the advent of CDs, the vinyl spinner platters were doomed to the kitschy corner of local retro shops, and perhaps dusty milk crate stacks of die-hard disc jockeys. Music may not fade and die, but the respective forms that it takes has left a mountain of debris ranging from eight track tapes to 78 speed records. Similarly, surfing may never fade and disappear into the history books as a fad gone by … but the mountain of rubber and neoprene left behind in the form of wet suits and rash guards could remain in our land fills. Kudos to Michael Briody and OVNY.org for doing something to help mother nature and for creating a useful surf product at the same time.