Wood is good . . . just check out the head on Tommy Wegener. Look for his workshops at the Noosa Fest.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Whether you are a born-and-bred local or a first-time visitor, there is no denying the spectacular natural beauty of the Noosa Shire. Each year, the Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing takes a step up in its ecological responsibility towards a completely sustainable event. In 2017, we have urged all partners and promoters to take it upon themselves to match our sentiments, providing more environmentally viable promotional material.

Partnering with Unity Water, Noosa National Surfing Reserve and Noosa Community Biosphere Association, the festival aims at drastically reducing the level of single-use plastic generated by the event and create greater consciousness in every area of our ‘8 Days of Pure Stoke’.

Friday, 10 March will also officially become Sustainability Day, with a host of public activities taking place on the sand at Festival Village. Tom Wegener, long-renowned as an innovator of sustainable surf commerce and now a PhD in Surfing Sustainability, has organised an interactive day of creation and craftsmanship, featuring himself and three other shapers of wooden surfcraft.

Tom will be hosting workshops of his timber ‘Surfie’ bellyboards, a fusion of inspiration from the Hawai’ian alaia and paipo boards and the bellyboards of the South West of England. Fun for everyone, the Surfies are a far cry from the foam bodyboards of today, and Tom will be helping members of the public shape one for themselves.

Similarly, Toru Ogawa will be joining us from Japan to coach people in the crafting of timber handplanes. Used for bodysurfing, handplanes are possibly the simplest of surfcraft, but the shapes and designs still need to be carefully created to give maximum lift and hydrodynamics. Toru has spent several years perfecting his shapes and travelling the world to share his skills. Adding to the lineup for Sustainable Friday, he is inviting the public to join him on the sand at Main Beach to shape their own handplane under his expert tutelage.

Also from Japan, Nouhito ‘Nobby’ Ohkawa is a master craftsman of timber surfboards. Creating the boards as sustainably and chemical-free as he could, he was not satisfied with then affixing fiberglass and polyester resin fins. While timber alone or constructs such as ply are not strong enough to endure the pressures of fins on their own, through much experimentation, Nobby developed a highly technical process to create timber hardy enough for the purpose. Nobby will be inviting the public to shape a fin with him from his special timber composite.

Lastly, Adam Baldwin will be making the short trip up to Noosa from Caloundra. A teacher at Coolum High School, he too is an expert woodworker, but moves a step further in the realms of sustainability. Timber is, of course, biodegradable, but Adam utilises waste, recycling and upcycling old, broken surfboards and materials he finds to create functional surfboards bound together with organic bio-resin. So successful have Adam’s creations been that he was awarded the ‘Most Functional Surfboard’ trophy in the 2016 Creators & Innovators Contest presented by Vissla and Surfrider. Adam will be on hand to discuss his techniques and the need for us all to readdress our use of materials in all areas of life.

Sustainability Friday’s conclusion will be a panel discussion with Tom Wegener, Save the Waves Coalition’s director of programs, Nick Mucha, and other guests discussing ways in which the surf industry can improve, as well as the prospect of Noosa Heads’ induction into the heralded list of World Surfing Reserves.

Places for this special event are very limited. To reserve a space with any of these inspiring shapers, please EMAIL TOM WEGENER

For more information on the Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing, please VIST THE FEST WEBSITE

-    report by Tommy Leitch / NFOS


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