Let my people go "body"surfing

December 09, 2015 0 Comments

Let my people go "body"surfing

Here follows a story about Ed Lewis and Kipp Denslow from Enjoy Handplanes. Not the whole story – as that is far to complex, still growing and best left to those with better writing talent.

In truth, I had/have grave doubts about doing this tale justice and hence the months in the making but here goes!

This is more a mini story or chapter if you will and if the chapter had a name, it would be called the “Funguy”.

The “Funguy” chapter begins not with “Funguy” but its predecessor. You see, the “Funguy” is a bodysurfing handplane, with an ancestry that traces back to 2010. This is the year, when Ed Lewis and Kip Denslow first took to stoke route one with making handplanes out of old surfboards and textile cloth.

Ok Ok I am delving a bit into the backstory

From this desire to keep trash out of landfills, Enjoy Handplanes was born. Each handplane is a functional work of art, giving life back to the discarded foam it came from. This rebirth, really resonates with a generation still coming to terms with the toxic nature of their holistic hobby. After all it feels good to support good.

It is then no wonder that Enjoy and Patagonia get on so well together. The two first hit if off in 2011, this was just before the release of the Keith Malloy, Come Hell or High Water film and Patagonia wanted to support bodysurfing. The then manager of the Patagonia Cardiff USA store, Devon Howard, brought Ed in to talk about carrying their hand planes. The upcycled nature of the product really resonated with Patagonia’s ethos and the rest from there is a type of symbiotic history. Enjoy assist Patagonia with a sustainable method of disposal for their textiles and wetsuits, while Patagonia provide the material and sale channel for the final product.


Enjoy Bodysurfing Handplane

PU fabric inlayed perfection

Despite the popularity and success of this PU hand plane – it wasn’t enough for the sustainability passionate duo at Enjoy.

You see, the PU hand plane was about correcting the mistakes of the past. What was needed was something for the future. Something that took the culture and responsibility for the product to the next level ,without compromising on the performance and stoke. Where the cycle of use and rebirth is a constant and any collateral, completely earth friendly.

All that would be needed, would be a water resistant material, that could stand up to the rigors of being consistently pounded in salt water but easy enough to recycle when its day is done. Sounds simple right?!

It was through Sustainable Surf that Ed & Kipp were introduced to Ecovative Designs. Ecovative are a company, that up until recently had specialised in producing/growing eco-packaging to replace polystyrene.  Which is incidentally the same material used in EPS surfboards.

The process is truly amazing, as it entails taking agricultural waste such as corn husks, stalks, roots etc and then seeding them with a form of mushroom called mycelium. The mixture is then pressed into a mold, in which the mycelium then grows and binds together the processed waste like a type of glue. The final step, a heat treatment to set the blank and stop further mushroom growth.

What remains is an eco-material that is similar to particle board, is stronger than foam, easily shapeable, naturally hydrophobic and completely compostable.

Now add to this, two quirky guys from So Cal with a sustainability dream, eco-resin with a chemical zipper, a recycled neoprene hand strap and voila!!!  You get the aptly named “Funguy” handplane and another step toward the holy grail of closed loop stoke sustainability.

Funguy Crafting

Stacks of stoke

How big a deal is that? Well imagine having your Funguy and taking it to the depths of the sandy abysses of your local shore break for many years. It gets battered by the saltwater, thrown in the back of car, till eventually it comes to the end of a great run. Instead of turning it into landfill waste – you soak in vinegar to dissolve the resin, reclaim the parts like the hand strap and mounts and compost the rest into your garden. The hand strap and mounts are then re-used, perhaps for another Funguy.  No toxic leftovers, just a responsible, sustainable and repeatable outcome. Its inspiring stuff and if only more products in our soulful pursuit of surfing could claim this.

It is no wonder then, that you can now find them featuring the famous Patagonia flying fish. The first non Patagonia made product to be officially endorsed in this manner and a huge tribute to the hard work and endeavour of the lads at Enjoy.

As I imagine Yvon Chouinard saying approvingly, "let my people go bodysurfing"

Yvon Chounaird - Let my people go bodysurfing

The Chounaird salute of approval!

See more about the Enjoy Funguy story in this great video by Steve Cachero 

Russel P
Has spent over 30 years of his middle aged life trying to spend more time in the ocean. Likes to surf, bodysurf, free dive and pretend he enjoys chasing big waves.

If you enjoyed this please share or comment below