Over the next week or so we are going to walk you though how a stand up paddle board is made. The heart and soul of the board is the blank. The blank is the foam core of the board. In surf and SUP boards there is two types of foam. PU/PS and EPS foam.
Polyurethane (PU) foam has been used in surfboards for over 50 years. Its very light weight, and very shapable. The downside to PU foam is its a very toxic material, its not sustainable, and the resins you use on it while laminating is also very toxic. Clark Foam was the largest supplier of surfboard blanks in the USA, they were forced to close down manufacturing in the USA because of environmental concerns, in 2005 Clark Foam closed down completely.
At Glide we use Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam. EPS foam is made out of small BB's that are stuck together. This makes the foam extremely light weight and buoyant. It also makes it harder to shape then PU foam. The added difficultly comes in that the BB's of foam if you are not careful shaping the board can be ripped out of the board! Another downside to EPS foam is it will soak up water very quickly. Glide boards take this into consideration and we make an ultra durable waterproof shell on our boards.
The benefits of EPS foam is that is completely recyclable, and is an inert material. EPS is safe enough to be used in food containers.
The EPS we use at Glide is produced a few miles from our factory, any scraps and off cuts go back to the EPS factory and are recycled back into raw EPS.
In order to cut our environmental foot print down as much as we can, we work with the foam factory to pre-cut our blanks reducing any off cuts and waste for popular models. We also own a CNC hotwire machine that allows us to produce blanks up to 24' long, and in any shape or size that we need.
Next step is CNC and Hand Shaping! Stay tuned.