GREEN WAVE: Sustainable surfing is what Tom Wegener and his boards are all about.
GREEN WAVE: Sustainable surfing is what Tom Wegener and his boards are all about. Contributed

Getting on green boards for Noosa's environment

WORLD class surf and "green" boards equals perfect harmony at the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

The biosphere concept of people interacting in harmony with nature was on dress-circle display last week, with "green" timber surfboards the focus of a special master class.

Noosa Biosphere Limited chair Dr Sue Davis welcomed the opportunity to sponsor the sustainable surfing exhibition and demonstration, featuring the alaia boards crafted by local master surfboard shaper Tom Wegener.

"The fascinating story of Tom's discovery of the original surfboards, and his experimentation with the perfect properties of Paulownia timber, grown on renewable timber plantations in Queensland, has been one that we have been sharing with a number of visiting international student groups to underline that sustainability can take on many different forms in everyday life," Dr Davis said.

The Paulownia timber is light and has the special quality of not soaking up salt water, unlike fresh water.

"Although Tom's work has earned him a place among the world's most influential surfboard shapers - winning an international Shaper of the Year award in 2009 and Australian Design Award 2010 - he feels his biggest achievement has been creating the green surfboard factory."

Dr Davis said most surfboard factories had toxic chemicals and created an enormous amount of waste.

"Tom's factory has no toxic materials and creates almost no waste.

"The wood chips and sawdust are mulched into Tom's garden and orchard. Apart from helping the environment, it is a really nice place to visit and, I dare say, to work," she said.

To find out more about Tom's story visit www.tomwegenersurf

To find out more about Noosa Biosphere Limited visit www.noosabiosphere