Sustainable surfing with algae boards

Sustainable surfing with algae boards


You know it’s an interesting thing,
you know we crawled out of the ocean you know maybe a couple million years ago,
right? And that has not been, that’s not lost, right? Like where you came from,
every time you go back in the water there’s days when I will have such a
bad day here because I have to take my cybersecurity course, and students are
whining at me, and papers that I’ve sent in get – you know – bad reviews because
people are idiots or whatever, right? Or just whatever it’s a bad day. You jump on
a board and take one dive underwater it just immediately washes off you. I am Steven Mayfield. I am professor of
molecular biology at the University of California San Diego and I’m an algae biotech guy. I actually run a center here called the California Center
for Algae Biotechnology and we make lots of products. So we were making foams
here, and – you know – knowing that we wanted to make surfboards and we had
made those, and then we were able to refine them a little bit. And then one of the kids who
was here for the summer was making these little things out of our foam. To get to
the quality that John Florence would would ride it took us a couple years,
right? It took us a while to get that formulation really well Petroleum comes from ancient algae. It’s not melted dinosaurs. It’s not something else.
It’s just algae that, some of it 200 300 million years old, grew in shallow
seas, kind of settled to the bottom. It’s – you know – dirt and sand filled on top of
it and over millions of years under high temperature and high pressure, the oils
inside the algae converted to petroleum. So once we pulled petroleum out of the
ground, it’s really complex because after millions of years under high temperature
pressure a lot of those oils that form new chemical bonds. Surfing to me is a
lifestyle. I started surfing in the 60s and all of us shape our own boards
and we’ve all spent our entire lives traveling around the world. I used to
live in Mexico all summer long chasing waves, reading books and having
fun and surfing. And it makes you very very aware of nature especially
attached to the ocean. It’s really very rewarding. It’s one of the toughest
lifestyle, art form or sports – whatever you want to call it –
that there is because first of all you have waves they’re all different shapes
and sizes all around the world. And you’ve got your different equipment. It
can be very dangerous, I’ve lost quite a few friends that have died surfing. So the danger factor is there also, just like it would be with mountain climbing
or something. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. I used to take my kids
when they were very young and put them in the car and we’d go on a surf check
at dawn. And naturally when they’re young I’d give donuts and everything else. We would go
up and down the coast checking the waves, checking the tides, you know? They’d learn
about wind, they’d learn about tides, they’d learn about the swells in the winter,
swells in the summer, beach erosion, what makes waves break, what causes winds
and climatic conditions and so on. And to this day my kids still get up at dawn
and knock on my door, or they’ll come walking out when I’m making coffee go,
“Surf check?” So, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Antonio Breitenberg

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