If John John can do stuff like this on eco-foam, there's no reason we all shouldn't be using it. Photo: WSL
Arctic Foam And Marko Collide For The Betterment Of The Environment
"The biggest thing in foam since the collapse of Clark Foam," and Two-time Stab in the Dark winner Jon Pyzel and other eco-friendly shapers are quite pleased with the merger.
When people talk about the quality of a surfboard, most assume that the hands who shape it play the biggest role.
This may have been true in the 20th century, but with advent and subsequent improvements of CNC machines, the actual "shaping" of the surfboard consists of little more than refining pre-designed edges.
It's basically 30 minutes of fine-sanding.
In 2018, the most important factors behind a "good" surfboard include the shaper's designs (which, using CAD software, take highly technical measurements and apply them to the CNC machines, ultimately producing a well-shaped piece of foam), high-skilled tasks like glassing and sanding, plus the quality of certain raw materials like foam, stringers and resin. These elements are majorly responsible for the flex, durability, and weight of a surfboard, which when combined with a particular shape, determine the caliber of the craft.
And good materials, just like skilled glassers, sanders, and shapers, are not always easy to come by.
Which is why, as of today, surfboard foam companies Arctic and Marko are joining forces to sell their products around the globe.
Arctic is famous for its PU product. Following the Blank Monday, and the death of Clark Foam, Arctic has become one of the biggest foam distributors in the world.
Marko is best known for its EPS construction, which is still less prevalent than PU cores industry-wide, but is rising in popularity.
Both brands place an emphasis on eco-friendly construction; Marko uses recycled products to produce its EPS foam, and Arctic recently created an algae-based PU (which has been used extensively by Jon Pyzel on JJF's boards).
Marty Gilchrist, Arctic’s Head of Business Development had this to say about the merger:
"We are extremely excited to join forces with Marko. Our goal has always been to make the best PU surfboard blanks in the world and Marko shares the same philosophy in regards to EPS blanks. So this partnership is a perfect match.”
With no real competition between Arctic and Marko (different foams for different folks), the two brands can minimize costs and environmental impact, shipping their products together to surfboard manufacturers.
Two birds, one very large box.
Marko’s Coby Peterson said, “With PU still being the core of most surfboards it makes it hard for companies worldwide to invest in large shipments of only our EPS blanks. This partnership increases the availability of our surf specific EPS blanks in places we had trouble establishing long lasting distribution like Hawaii, Central and South America.”
And he's right.
John John Florence's go-to shaper and the 2x winner of Stab in the Dark, Jon Pyzel, couldn't be happier about the merger.
"After many years of using their foam, we are excited to have Marko Foam easily available to us here in Hawaii," Jon said. "Marko has set the industry standard for a long time now and is always looking at ways to improve. We're especially excited about Marko’s recycled foam and its contribution to help create a more sustainable surfboard.
In April Arctic Foam will be shipping blanks to all of their global distributors, except for Viral Surf in Biarritz, France, where Marko already has distribution.