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IWC Schaffhausen, Surfboards, & Sustainability

IWC Schaffhausen Sustainable pop-up floating workshop 'Remote'

IWC Schaffhausen has been making strides towards becoming sustainable. They make their watch boxes with 90% less plastic compared to before; their headquarters as well as their manufacturing center are powered by renewable energy; and they melt the off-cuts from their watches and reuse it in later production.

Hayden Cox, IWC brand ambassador and founder of surfboard brand Haydenshapes, saw all this in action on his tour around the IWC Schaffhausen Manufacture. It inspired him to incorporate upcycling into his own brand. Discussing conventional surfboard production, Cox said, “There’s over 30% wastage industry wide in just foam and fiberglass alone when creating a single board, which typically just goes straight to landfill.”

Hayden Cox with IWC Schaffhausen Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium

Hayden Cox wearing a IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium.

Through his partnership with IWC, Cox set up a self-sustainable floating studio in Palm Beach, Australia, where he could develop ideas and shape boards in peace. “The floating idea and being out in nature felt fitting for the concept of upcycling waste, which is what the first ‘Remote’ studio is centered around,” said Cox.

Now, over a year later, Cox has come up with up-cycled prototypes of different parts of a surfboard: a stringer (the material that runs down the middle of a surfboard to strengthen it), a tail pad (a pad applied at the back end of a surfboard to prevent slipping), and a cloth (laminated around the core of a surfboard). While the first two mentioned are still being developed, Cox is confident about the up-cycled cloth.

A Haydenshapes Surfboard utilizing upcycled cloth

A Haydenshapes Surfboard utilizing the upcycled cloth.

The cloth is made from carbon fiber and fiberglass off-cuts from the lamination process, the very same process that the cloth is going to be used for. These off-cuts are chopped up, aerated, then put into a fabric weaving machine, creating a unique black and white pattern that will be different from board to board.

The entire process is currently done by hand, but Cox wants to scale it up eventually to be able to produce more from waste. He said, “From a materials standpoint, it’s my goal to create new eco options and make them available to the entire industry.”

With his other ideas still being prototyped and tested, it’s only a matter of time before Haydenshapes makes the move towards a fully sustainable future. Hopefully the rest of the surfboard industry will follow suit.


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