Spooked Kooks develop soft boards, surf boards that have a soft top layer, in comparison to conventional surfboards which are coated with hardened fibre glass or an epoxy top layer. This offers a softer surf board, which is less dangerous in case of collisions, or ‘wipeouts’. The Dead Hippie 8’0’’ surfboard is recommended for beginners, and smaller waves, although it is still claimed to be of great quality. Moreover, Spooked kooks are a brand that champions awareness and action in regards to doing more for the planet and being more environmentally friendly. Their website is littered with information about how their products are sustainably savvy and with general information on awareness as a whole. Spooked kooks are described to have a small carbon foot print, and always looking to improve, which to me is something they should keep doing, and maybe voice what they are doing. Such as the steps to becoming carbon negative, and when/how they will reach each of their milestones. Although, they do engage in many practices I believe other brands could learn to replicate; leading the way by producing the first premium soft top surfboards made with post-consumer recycled plastics, but also with services such as encouraging the return of old boards to be recycled for a discount on your next purchase, or even no plastic wrapping when shipping. Due to the lack of information I could find for the ‘how it’s made’ and ‘who makes it section’ I’m limited to only scoring 1.5 planets, even though there could be entitlement for both a better or worse score, it is just the information is not readily available, deliberately or accidentally. You would think that a company who market the idea of supporting sustainability would be as transparent as possible.
Spooked Kooks provide a great emphasis on all hard plastics of their products being 100% recycled for all products, and that is no different for the DEAD Hippie 8’0’’. Meaning that the entire “slick”, the underside of the board, leash plug, fin boxes, fins and fin key are all made of 100% recycled plastic. This plastic is sourced and intercepted in water ways and beaches before it gets to the ocean. The effort made by spooked kooks here to clean up waterways and beaches, but also being part of an effort to reduce plastic waste in the ocean is something I love. The rest of the details of what the board is made from are not given, so I enquired with an email. “The remaining materials include an EPS (expanded polystyrene) core, with two Paulownia”, a type of wood, “stringers running the length of the board, which is covered by a bamboo veneer and a light resin coat”. Finally, the deck of the board is made with a “PE foam” material, a polyethylene foam. These materials, apart from the wood, are not good for the environment. Polystyrene and polyethylene require a lot of energy to produce, leading to greenhouse gas emissions in production, as well as contributing to the micro plastics problem in the oceans. Sadly, I found out that Spooked Kooks have looked into replacing their “PE foam” with a more sustainable material made from algae which they have been “effectively blocked” from using due to the provider having an “exclusive supply arrangement” with “Slater Designs”. Both Spooked Kooks and I think it is sad that “potentially sustainable tech is being withheld from companies” that are “keen to incorporate as many sustainable materials as possible”. Although faced with this issue, I believe Spooked Kooks should be more transparent on their website about the materials used across all of their products, but can also mention hardships such as these where they are finding it difficult to improve. This could help consumers hold other brands accountable in this kind of situation or others.
Similarly, I could only find details on how the recycled plastic parts of the are made on the website. The collected plastic, from the Philippines, is converted into HDPE pellets which can then be used to develop the hard plastic components of the board. Interestingly HDPE pellets are non-toxic and non-staining which is beneficial to the environment, not only as it is using waste materials, but because the final product shouldn’t contribute to the micro plastics problem. Apart from this information on how it’s made, I could not find anything else out. There are claims in their product reviews, and in details from Spooked Kooks that they design their boards with longevity in mind, meaning that a long product life cycle should be something to expect when you make a purchase. It is great see, a longer product life cycle, but hard to fully verify, although I could not find anything to say that is not true. They also as previously stated ask buyers to return boards once they have finished their life cycle so that they can be recycled, for a 10% discount on their next purchase. I would love to see the details of how their boards are made on the website, it is hard to asses this process with so little information on it. Leaving the eery impression that this could be deliberately done.
It was hard to find out who makes the Spooked Kooks boards, and I ended up finding out via my email. A real flaw in transparency in my opinion. Uniquely their “fin boxes are made in the US” meaning this sole part of their product is made there, seeing reasoning behind this would be interesting and beneficial to understanding the supply chain. The boards are made and assembled in a factory owned in China, by their “small team” who adhere to “strict quality control measures”. No detail was given on support or conditions of their workers. They did however stress efforts to move the production to Australia, but have not been able to as it would “require significant funding and the cost of the boards would price us way out of the market”. Again leaving a familiar feeling of lacklustre detail, “efforts” do not mean actions or results. It would be great to see details of the team who makes Spooked Kooks happen, and whether the working conditions, and pay they are given are up to scratch. But also, a move to Australia should be more beneficial to the environment, reducing their carbon footprint from transportation of their goods. To improve here it would be great to see more obvious transparency on these processes, how they can be improved and what is being done to do this.