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Marine-i grant helps Jaxon Surfboards ride the Eco Wave

Specialist company Jaxon Surfboards and Workshops is planning to diversify into a new type of environmentally-friendly surfboard, thanks to a Rapid Innovation Grant from Marine-i.

Founder and Managing Director, Jackson Fearns, explains the philosophy of the company:

“Our company was set up in 2010 to 'de-mystify' surfboard design and manufacture. We offer a range of unique one to one workshops, each with their own specialized course. Each workshop enables people to design, create and build their own custom surfboard from start to finish. Courses are available at our new workshop near Falmouth in Cornwall. Customers can choose to completely shape their board from a blank, or alternatively have their board pre-shaped saving time, mess and keeping their board accurate. The latter approach is a great option for first time builders.”

Based on their years of expertise in surfboard design and manufacturer, the team spotted an emerging opportunity in the surfboard market which they were convinced could offer valuable new growth. Jackson explains:

“Obviously there is a worldwide interest in environmentally-friendly products, but this eco awareness is much more pronounced among the surfing community, many of whom have seen first-hand the effect that human activities are having on the marine environment.

“This inspired us to explore new ways of producing sustainable surfboards, using new materials combined with innovative methodologies and manufacturing techniques. The way in which many boards are currently produced is not only harmful to the environment, it can also be hazardous to the health of the workforce that makes them. Our process is designed to generate less waste material and also to allow off-cuts to be recycled as part of new blanks. Our passion for this idea led us to vow that, unless we could find a new and better way, we would pull out of surfboard manufacture altogether.”

Pursuing this opportunity required a lot of research into new materials, sourcing and procurement, and testing of different foams, resins and fibre-glasses. But the critical stage would be the ‘live testing’ of a range of prototype boards using Jaxon’s own team of riders. At this point the company approached the Marine-i team for support:

“This new development was vital to our future but was also stretching our resources. We therefore applied to the Marine-i project for assistance and were successful in gaining a Rapid Innovation Grant, which has enabled us to progress with the design and production of our crucial prototype boards.”

Rapid Innovation Grants from Marine-i offer 100% fast-track grants of up to £2,000 to marine businesses, in order move their idea or innovation to the next level. The grants can be used to purchase services or equipment.

Professor Lars Johanning of University of Exeter, lead partner for Marine-i, says: “The team at Jaxon Surfboards are true pioneers in their field. This latest innovation will enable them to stay one step ahead of their competitors in this valuable worldwide market. In addition, the company’s methods and aspirations have the potential to cross over into additional marine manufacturing sub-sectors and the wider industrial community, bringing important new skills and opportunities to our local economy.”

Jackson Fearns adds: “We are hugely grateful to the Marine-i team for their support. It has added massive momentum to this exciting project and given us the opportunity to achieve first mover advantage in a highly competitive market.”