A 15-year-old student is the latest to join the eco-friendly wave taking over Jersey, which has seen islanders ditch plastic products for reusable alternatives, after making a surfboard out of 2,500 corks from wine bottles.
Charlie Cadin came up with the idea for his Design and Technology GCSE, as he had to make a sports product or accessory for his exam, but he also figured it would benefit the environment and he would be able to use it afterwards too.
Being under the legal drinking limit, the teenager approached Sumas and The Crab Shack restaurants as well as Dunell’s wine shop in Gorey for their help.
The manager at Dunell’s shop in Gorey, Amar Boudjaoui, recalls it being the first time anyone has asked him for hundreds of corks, let alone for them to be used to make a surfboard, saying: “I thought it was a great idea, as I could imagine the cork would be a good material as it’s light and floats so would hold him.”
Pictured: Charlie used 2,500 corks to make the surfboard, which took two months to build. (Charlie Cadin)
Sadly, it was a request the shop wasn’t able to meet as they only had corks available from the 18 bottles of wine used in the tasting machine. But Amar was keen to help the teenager with his project, so managed to collect 2000 wine corks from his other job at Samphire, formally known as Ormer.
With the help of the other restaurants as well, Charlie had enough to start his project, which took around two months to build as it wasn’t an easy task. “Making the board was challenging because it’s not a single solid object like a foam board, it’s made up of 2500 small parts that need to act like a solid object. The corks were glued into hexagons like honeycomb instead of a solid block to reduce weight, and the board was covered in fibreglass to waterproof it. It weighs a little more than a normal surfboard, however it works just as well.”
Pictured: Charlie tested his environmentally-friendly surfboard on the water, which he says "works just as well" as normal surfboards. (Charlie Cadin)
Unfortunately, Charlie has had to give his eco-friendly surfboard to Victoria College to be marked for his Design and Technology GCSE, but he plans to use it on the waves after the exam is finished, but will wait “until it’s a bit warmer!”
Before he passed his creation over to his teachers, the student had one other person he wanted to show it to… so made a surprise visit to Dunnell’s last Saturday.
“I started laughing, I was so surprised and impressed. I didn’t think he would make an actual surfboard…I thought he meant a small one” chuckled Amar.
Charlie, who plans to study engineering at university after his A Levels, told Express he wants to explore his idea of a greener, more sustainable surfboard in the hope it will catch more than just waves over the next few years.
“I am going to try with a few different sustainable and recycled materials instead of corks due to the weight, such as cardboard or polystyrene packaging.
“In the future I don’t think surfboards will be made with wine corks, however there will definitely need to be a change in the materials of surfboards to more sustainable, environmentally friendly ones.”
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