Three Deakin graduates have established the world's first recycled carbon fibre surfboard company, with the help of Deakin University's SPARK Deakin Accelerator 2020 program
The group’s Jan Juc startup company, JUC Surf, is set to hit the Australian market with their boards made entirely of carbon fibre material that would otherwise be headed for landfill.
Aerospace engineers Dr Filip Stojcevski and Andreas Hendlmeier, along with organic chemist James Randall, combined their knowledge of carbon fibre manufacturing, electrochemistry and material interfaces to overcome the technical hurdles of using recycled carbon fibre to create a robust, affordable, high-performance surfboard.
The trio were inspired by their interactions with famous Torquay-based surfboard shaper Eiji Shiomoto.
While carbon fibre is an amazing material, more than 45,000 tonnes of it is thrown into landfill each year
The group is confident that the new recycled carbon fibre boards are stronger, lighter and more durable than conventional e-glass fibre-reinforced boards while costing around the same price.
Until now, carbon fibre surfboards have been too rigid and prone to delamination, due to micro-cracks in the carbon fibre interface. The new recycled boards use electrochemistry to improve the properties of surface-modified hydrophobic carbon fibres and recycled fibres to solve the problem.
Dr Stojcevski completed his Deakin PhD with Boeing R and T Aerospace, where he worked on improving surface treatments that make carbon fibre adhere to resin, while international student Andreas Hendlmeier is from Germany and has worked on optimising carbon fibre surface treatments.
The Australian surfboard industry account for almost a third of the global market, with 8.5 million surfboards in Australia alone. The new company is hoping to carve out a space for ourselves in this large potential market – and this venture isn’t just limited to surfboards; the technology could also be adapted for other sporting and marine applications.
The boards are available to pre-order from the JUC Surf website with prices ranging from $650 to $900 (AUD)