Jairo Lumertz and Carolina Scorsin, founders of the Eco Surfboard project, hold their eco surfboards at a Rio de Janeiro beach on Nov. 9, 2012.
It was around five years ago that Brazilian surfer Jairo Lumertz got the idea to join his two passions of surfing and protecting nature by creating surfboards made out of plastic bottles.
The 39-year-old surfer is now traveling from beach to beach with his girlfriend Carolina Scorsin promoting his invention to help children take up surfing and reduce waste at the same time.
Lumertz’s “eco surfboards,” which he first developed in 2007, consist of bottles supported by PVC tubes and glue. The bottles are treated with dry ice to make them stronger and more floatable. A standard board is made up of 41 bottles, and a stand up paddleboard is made using 73 bottles.
“A common surfboard in the store costs at least $2,000, but can reach $5,000. A board with plastic bottles is only $100,” explains Scorsin.
Deciding to promote the use of their eco surfboards more seriously, the couple launched a project in August with the motto “One for all and all for a better world.” The two visit schools and give lectures about surfing, the environment, and their unique surfboards.
Jairo Lumertz (R), the inventor of the eco surfboards, at the Municipal School of Bertioga in Litoral, Săo Paulo, on Nov. 22, 2012, following his lecture at the school.
So far, they have held 44 lectures in a span of 45 days with over 5,000 children in the southern and southeastern coasts of Brazil in attendance.
“The feeling [of working with children] is wonderful. Acceptance [from children] is 100 percent. We want to continue,” Scorsin says.
Although Lumertz and Scorsin have received some funding from municipalities and corporations for their project, the main source of funding is their own pockets. The two plan on opening an NGO and expand the project to the northeast of Brazil next year.
Scorsin says that they didn’t start this volunteer work to get rich. They wish for more children to take up surfing and for more people to become conscious of the environment and reuse waste.
“In some beaches that we surf, you’re landing your foot in garbage instead of sand. It’s a sad feeling knowing that you’re walking on trash,” she says.
“The more people get involved in using the ecological surfboard, the more we would be cleaning the planet.”