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Warning: these boards may contain (coco)nuts


August 15, 2013

The NSP Coco Mat stand-up paddleboard is made partially from coconut fibers

The NSP Coco Mat stand-up paddleboard is made partially from coconut fibers

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A carbon fiber surfboard? Well yeah, you could buy one of those, but ... if that board is intended for use somewhere warm and sunny, then coconut husk fibers would be way more appropriate! As it turns out, they also offer an unmatched strength-to-weight ratio, they come from a natural and renewable source, and require less toxic epoxy resin in their construction. That’s why they’re used in Global Surf Industries’ line of Coco Mat surfboards and paddleboards.

The fibers come from self-sustaining crops of coconut trees, located near the Australian company's manufacturing facilities. Describes as “random discontinuous” fibers, they reportedly require minimal processing.

The boards themselves have the traditional EPS foam core, encased in an inner and outer coating of fiberglass. Sandwiched between those two fiberglass layers, however, is a layer of the coconut fibers. Epoxy is injected into all three layers to bond everything together. Because the coconut fibers absorb less epoxy than materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass, less of the noxious liquid is needed, plus the finished board isn’t as heavy.

According to the company, the boards are among the lightest and strongest on the market, and offer “a responsive, fluid ride with great flex characteristics.”

The Coco Mat surfboards and paddleboards are sold under the NSP brand name, and are available in a variety of models and sizes. Prices range from US$365 for the Coco Mat Fish surfboard, to $1,570 for the Coco Mat SUP (stand-up paddleboard).

Coconut fibers could also find use in a light-but-strong renewable-source plastic, which is currently being developed in Brazil.

Source: Global Surf Industries via Popular Science

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

600 MPa for Carbon fibre fabric, versus a published 21MPa for coconut fibres (fabric is a lot weaker than the individual fibres)...

It doesn't appear that coconut fibres are any where near as strong as carbon fibre (or even fibreglass), the mass reduction probably comes from poor design of the board, when made of fibreglass (probably using old fashioned surfboard (hand/squeegie wet-out) methods.

One common source of Activated charcoal is coconut fibre, maybe they should find a way to make CF from coconut fibre (anerobic decomoisition to coco-char), then it may be more suited to manufacturing "Natural" fibre composites (it may even be stonger in the matrix than raw fibres, then again maybe not.)

Is this article merely Advertisement for a "Green" product?


Not a very honest article. It seems like they are just using them for filler, not for strength.

facts are Coconut fibers are really weak and their only strength would be from the epoxy.

Far better replace the FG with hemp fibers that are really strong, lower cost. ford used them on the Model T before they were made illegal by Dupont who didn't want the competition with his new syn fibers like rayon,nylon, etc.

Thus hemp, likely the best fiber, biomass fuel was made illegal by bribing congress. newspapers..

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