This year marks our 4th annual Vissla + Surfrider Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest, where the public was challenged to take something that might be considered waste and create something that can be used in the ocean. Friday evening, we gathered with the community at our dear partners' and friends', The Ecology Center, to celebrate the craftsmanship of our finalists' projects from all around the world.
Nothing quite beats The Ecology Center here in Southern California. We say it after every event, but it truly is the most special space to gather with the community. You can see peoples eyes light up as they enter the gardens lit with string lights and wander through the organic farm. It is an ecological oasis –– an environment designed to both educate and inspire visitors to be better. As friends, family and community wandered through, they were greeted with drinks from Docent Brewing and the most beautiful spread of hors d'oeuvres from local chefs using local organic produce. Meanwhile, Odd Faces, the most groovy grom group of all time, provided musical vibrations that had everyone swaying and hooting for more.
Our judges for this years contest were Vissla founder, Paul Naude, master shaper / Vissla Creator & Innovator, Donald Brink, and The Ecology Center founder / Vissla Creator & Innovator, Evan Marks. Paying close attention to the creativity, upcycling, functionality and details of each project, they deliberated the winners of this years contest.
In 1st place came Titouan La Droitte, who built a surfboard made from 150 aluminum cans, split pallet wood and a paulownia sheet made out of scraps. A plastic bottle neck and cap were used to create the leash plug and fins were made from old vinyl recods, fiberglass and epoxy.
In 2nd place came Korey Nolan, who crafted a surfboard using 700 EPS Dunkin' Donuts coffee cups. Using a mold from recycled materials from his snowboard press, he compressed the cups together with epoxy then used a flexible silicone heat blanket for snowboard building to flash cure the epoxy in 40 minutes. Once the blank was complete, he used an off-cut of bamboo plywood from a past snowboard build to insert as the stringer. Lastly, the fins were made from plastic straws set in a cavity.
Tied for 3rd place were two former winners, François Jaubert and Dane Whiteside. François built a surfboard using fruit and beer packaging and glassed with upcycled coconut boardshorts, cigar boxes, grass, tags, a favortie t-shirt and more. Dane crafted a board named Skippy using two old cedar blind sets, builders foam and old timber saw blades.
Under 16 Division
Our 16 and under division winner, Jayben Poy, crafted a handplane from found materials. By skinning an old surfboard he was able to reuse the foam to shape the handplane that featured bottle cap inserts and a grip made from an old leash.
Congratulations to all the finalists and winners, and thank you for taking part in the 2018 Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest! We have been blown away by the level of craftsmanship this contest has brought forth and it just keeps getting better and better every year. Upcycling has meant a great deal to Vissla since our inception, so the opportunity to get people from all over the world engaged in participating feels incredibly special. While Titouan, Korey, François, Dane and Jayben all took home Vissla shopping spree prizes, everyone who participated in the contest is truly a winner.
See you next year!