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Efficient and Eco-friendly Construction Of Revolutionary surfboard blanKs

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - e2CORK (Efficient and Eco-friendly Construction Of Revolutionary surfboard blanKs)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-09-30

The overall objective of the e2CORK project is the construction of eco-friendly surfboard-blanks built with cork. To reach this, the design of a sustainable-industrial manufacturing procedure will be necessary.
The typical surfboards are manufactured from noxious materials and with unsustainable processes that contaminate the environment, require safety equipment for shapers exposed to toxic materials, and produce a massive carbon footprint on our planet. e2CORK will offer a clean alternative, 100% natural, organic, sustainable, and with physical, structural and mechanical properties that far exceed the current styrofoam blanks.

e2CORK will enhance the current hand-operated manufacturing procedures with a sustainable industrialization. These improvements will lead LIVING SURF to offer more competitive prices, reaching more units manufactured per day, to achieve international growth, to make a product portfolio extension and hence attaining wider audience. Moreover, e2CORK will boost the European cork-production market and its associate industries, hence contributing to the conservation of the cork-oak forests.

The specific objectives of the current phase 1 are to study and evaluate the technical feasibility as well as the sustainability and profitability of the e2CORK results. Concretely, e2CORK “Phase 1” was devoted to:
• Evaluate the benefits of industrial fabrication and cost reduction.
• Examine the environmental and performance features of the new components/materials.
• Validate the existence of a profitable market and an attractive gap for the new surfboard-blanks.
• Detect possible risks and bottlenecks, both external (regulations, competition, suppliers...) and internal (financial, operative...).
• Elaborate a Business Plan for the implementation of the innovative solution.

The objective of the overall innovation is that the current stage of e2CORK’s TRL6 prototype version reaches a TRL9 commercial level at the end of phase 2.
LIVING SURF has a wide expertise in manufacturing and selling surfboard blanks, offering natural alternatives to existing foam products. This background and knowhow enables the company to significantly reduce the risk of undertaking the e2CORK project while maximizing the probability of success of this business opportunity.
During the 5 months of the duration of the project we have undertaken a deep analysis of the different areas of interest that will make e2CORK success: User needs; Technical issues; Market; Economic/Financials; Organization’s operational capacity.

We have analysed the potential to achieve sustained growth of the company; if the management team have the necessary skills; if the probable return on investment justify the risks taken; and if the investment match the fund's investment criteria… and all answers are positive.
The expected outcomes of the overall e2CORK project are:
• The design of an efficient and sustainable Industrial Manufacturing System.
• The optimisation of the additional materials of the blank (bio-resins and other natural adhesives).
These outcomes will have internal and external impact.
- Internally
a. Commercial solution (TRL6-to TRL9)
b. Manufacturing upgrade
c. Growth in turnover and staff
d. Achieve competitive prices
e. More units manufactured per day
f. International expansion
g. Product portfolio extension
h. Attaining wider audience

- Externally
a. Will foster the surf industry in the EU
b. Boost the European cork-production industry
c. Reduction of time to acquire blanks and with lower prices.
d. EU manufacturers will safe in importing costs.
e. Green boards will suppose a reduction of hazardous components; hence, reduction of needed safety and prevention processes.
f. Cork surfboards manufacturing will be compatible with current surfboards manufacturing, so no additional investment is necessary.
g. The leftover cork sanding can be reused for other parts of the surfboard, as fins.
h. Reduction of the price of the finalised surfboards.
i. The increased strength and longer-life of cork boards will suppose savings in renewing broken boards.
j. Great tactic for marketing strategies using the “green” concept.
k. Dynamization, empowerment and improvements in production-related industries.
l. Reduction of the utilization of hazardous components and contamination.
m. Sport creates a more active society, hence delivering cost savings for health.