Rerip is a non-profit organization in San Diego that reuses surfboards, skateboards and snowboards. Their goal is to raise awareness for sustainability and to prevent boards from going to landfills. We got to talk to Meghan Dambacher, co-founder of Rerip, to learn more about this environmentally friendly concept.
How did the initial concept for Rerip begin?
Rerip was founded in 2006 over conversations about sustainability in surfing with my friend (and soon-to-be business partner) Lisa Randall. We started by creating an online classified specifically for surfers, snowboarders and skateboarders, and our goal was to raise awareness for sustainability in the surf industry. Our message was to buy used and “Rerip” them on our site, and if you are going to buy a new board, support those in the industry who are considering the environment as they design, build, and construct your new stick. (The classifieds are no longer a component of Rerip, as one of the IRS requirements for their 501c3 status was to not allow third-party transactions on the website.)
At the time, we knew the surf industry’s manufacturing ecosystem was flawed. Over the past 50 years, the number of surfers has grown from 5,000 to approximately 23 Million (Future of Freedom Foundation, 2006). This exponential growth has created a multi-billion dollar industry, and as the population of surfers continues to grow, so do the number of surfboards that surfers own. Many avid surfers go through dozens of boards a year – boards that are highly toxic due to fiberglass resins and foam cores.
With no viable recycling programs in place, excess foam and broken or unrideable boards have few places to go besides the landfills. Surfing is so often aligned with a healthy lifestyle, clean oceans and beaches, and it is only now that surfing’s “dirty little secret” is being exposed. Rerip decided to become a part of the solution to this problem, and have experimented with different business plans, models and ideas, and have finally focused on one component: to keep boards out of landfills.
What are the different ways you reuse surfboards?
Currently, the most popular way is through art. We have fine artists, mosaic artists, amateur artists, photographers, furniture makers, sign makers, etc., transforming these boards into beautiful pieces and giving them new lives. Boards that are repairable for surfing are always done so.
Other than Reduce, Reuse and Reride — are there other ways you help the environment?
For Rerip, we always coordinate our pick ups, meaning, we only pick up when we are in the area, we don’t make special trips since we know the carbon footprint of driving is way more than buying a new board. Additionally, we have teamed up with Firewire Surfboards, who help us with pick ups in areas they distribute. Personally, I try to minimize as much unnecessary waste as possible (single use water bottles, plastic bags, extra packaging, etc) and educate others about the “why” in doing so.
If someone would like to support Rerip, what are the ways they can get involved?
Donating their old board, buying a used board, sending us a creative way they reused a board, donating money or time, be nice to the earth!
Right now, Rerip and most drop off locations are in California – do you see it expanding to other states?
Yes, we are currently looking into new drop off points in Hawaii and the East Coast.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future with Rerip?
We would like to set up more locations worldwide.
We would like to thank Meghan not only for the opportunity to learn more about Rerip, but for her amazing efforts to keep boards out of landfills. To see how the organization is doing, check out their Facebook and website.