SA Creator Wins International Award


David & The Acorn - © Vissla

Local boy David Wernas has done the greener community super proud. He entered his up-cycled creation into the Vissla competition. What's most impressive is how little additional materials were used to make "The Acorn"

The aptly named acorn was born from an old windsurfer board which had pretty much seen it's day. Or so the previous owner thought when he dropped it off with David at the WaWa factory. From there the experiement began and, in his own words, "I was intrigued by the construction of the board and started by cutting it open to see what was inside. That's when the idea was born."

Awesome or what? Yep, we think so too.

theGREENERsurfer caught up with a very stoked Mr. Wernas to get the full scoop.

TGS: Give our Greener community an insight into the process of your creation?

David Wernas:
The board I built is made using the EPS foam in the core of the windsurfer, covered in an Agave skin. Agave is otherwise known for its use in the Tequila industry, hence its other name tequila plant. The wood i used on the windsurfer is a byproduct of the plant, which only comes out at the end of the plants life. Once the shape was completed and the skin was glued on, the board was glassed with entropy bioresin, arguably the greenest epoxy on the market to date.

Where did your journey into alternative craft building begin?

D.W: I actually did an apprenticeship in Carpentry, and learned to make kitchens, doors, flooring etc. Working construction is tough, and as much as i enjoyed working with my hands, I knew I wouldn't stick around construction sites for too long.
I love surfing, and felt that it was my duty to make a wooden surfboard, using not the conventional surfboard building techniques, but using what I learned while doing carpentry.

TGS: What was it that drew you to sustainability in surfing/surfboards and how did you find the right materials?

D.W: I don't think it's so much about finding the right materials as it is about learning how to work with them. A big part of sustainability and keeping a low carbon footprint in our lifestyle means to work with what we have in our surroundings. It's so much cheaper (in every possible way) to work with locally sourced materials. Especially with the economy doing what it does, importing is just not an option. Agave is great, it's so light and every pole I work with feels and looks different. It's tricky to work with, but all these attributes make is one of the most interesting woods to work with. I don't think I've figured out the best way to use it, but I've come a very long way from the first board i made to the ones I'm making now.

TGS: Where to from here/whats the vision for you?

D.W: The upcycle competition was an awesome experience and I'm stoked I made the finals. I think it's rad that so many people from around the world are trying to life a greener lifestyle and applying that to the surfing industry. Vissla is one of the few companies with an ecological mindset, unfortunately, and our environment could do with a lot more. But the tide is turning, with every upcycle competition and every surfboard that is built using greener technologies/methods. I hope to be able to keep contributing to it!

TGS: Thank you Dave and thanks for your efforts in promoting best practice while playing in the ocean.
D.W: Shot!

See the slides below for the full process from A-Z.

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Creators & Innovators 2016


This year marks the 2nd annual Vissla + Surfrider Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest, where the organizers challenged the public to take something that might be considered waste and create something that can be used in the ocean. We had the pleasure of gathering the community to celebrate the results of this contest and the finalists' projects on Friday night at Interval Gallery in San Clemente, CA. The gallery was packed, full of curious passers-by, industry legends, Creator & Innovator Donald Brink, and of course, contestants, coming from all over the world -- Brazil, Portugal, Cayman Islands, Australia, South Africa, Northern California, and the list goes on... Vissla has always valued the concept of Upcycling, and it has become one of the foundations on which the company builds itself. Because upcycling means such a great deal to us, we feel extremely grateful to share this concept with people from all over the world, and are humbled by the amount of support and participation in this year's contest.

After much debate, three 16 & Under and 16 Open Division finalists were chosen and showcased at our event on Friday night. Our judges for the night included Creator & Innovator Donald Brink and Vissla founder and president Paul Naude.

* South Africa's David Wernas came in at a very credible third place for his agave and resin re-purposed windsurf board, dubbed "The Acorn". We will have a full interview with David coming soon.

- Official press release from Vissla.

SA's very own Donald Brink & Paul Naude are the masterminds behind this fun and unique competition. all images © Vissla

See some examples produced by the talented & resourceful upcyclers, below. 


16 & Under Division
1st – Ian Irish | Fins made from denim and resin
2nd – Danny Link | Wakeboard made from pallet wood with wine-box fins
3rd – Leon Agurruza | Handplane made from discarded styrofoam bowl

Open Division
1st – François Jaubert | Surfboard made from cardboard and resin
2nd – Fabricio Flores Nunes | Surfboard made from styrofoam offcuts and resin
3rd – David Wernas | Surfboard made from agave and resin

Most Functional – Adam Baldwin | Surfboard made from EPS and PU foam with agave and western red cedar and epoxy resin
Best Use of Materials – Michael Kenney | Handplanes made 100% from discarded plastic

*Disclaimer: theGREENERsurfer is in no way affiliated to Vissla and receives no financial benefits. We just love a great initiative!

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Shoes made from recycled ocean waste


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World-renown sportswear and shoe manufacturer, Adidas has recently partnered up with Environmental Organisation 'Parley for the Oceans' to create a brand new running shoe made out of recycled ocean waste.

The brand unveiled their first prototype for the shoe, designed by British designer Alexander Taylor, in 2015.
After more research, design and production, the shoes are set to finally to launch with 7000 pairs going on sale in mid-November.The brand is launching the 'UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley' as part of their mission to eliminate virgin plastic from their supply chain, according to Adidas exec Eric Liedtke (The Verge; 2016).

Each pair of shoes is said to be made from 11 plastic bottles as well as various other recycled material.
According to Howarth (published on; 2016) "The green wave pattern across the uppers is created from recycled gill net, which was dredged from the sea and recycled into the fibre. [and] The rest of the upper is formed using waste plastic collected around the Maldives, where the government is collaborating with Parley to rid the island chain of the issue within five years."

“In 2017, we are going to produce a million pairs of shoes from Parley ocean plastic. The goal of adidas is to completely remove purely synthetic materials from our supply chain,” said Eric Liedtke, adidas Group executive board member responsible for global brands. “We will recycle the bottles and turn them into high-quality sports apparel.” (The Inertia; 2016).

The brand also intends to launch limited edition soccer kits for well-known clubs, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich made out of recycled ocean waste.

Could this be the new way sports apparel is made? We have no idea, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Let's hope more brands follow suit.

For more information visit:

*Disclaimer: theGREENERsurfer is in no way affiliated to Adidas or Parley and receives no financial benefits. We just love a good idea!