Generally, we discuss the merit behind the application of foam within the construction industry, however in this blog we will take a detour down a coastal highway. Foam’s versatility has helped evolve a pastime that has been part of the Australian culture since 1915. Surfing.
First introduced to Australia in 1915 by Hawaiian legend Duke Kahanamoku, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that surfing’s popularity really started to take off in Australia thanks to a visit by Hawaiian and mainland American lifeguards. During their display, the crowds were treated to the sight of the increased performance capabilities that fiberglass/balsawood boards possessed. These shorter and lighter designs, now equipped with fins and rocker, were already popular in California and able to manoeuvre and accelerate across the face of a wave.
When the surfing boom kicked off in the late 50’s and early 60’s, Australian shapers immediately began experimenting with new designs using fiberglass, wood and foam.
Through the 80’s surfing was popular on a global scale. By the 90’s all surfboards (as well as body boards), were made from foam and fiberglass, sporting three fins and leg ropes.
However, even the foam used in the creation of the earlier surfboards has changed. Traditionally, shapers and glassers used polyester resin to craft boards, and due to the high toxicity of the chemicals in the resin, needed to wear masks to make sure the harmful chemicals would not damage their respiratory system.
Motivated to find a material that was less damaging to their health and the environment, the move to epoxy (polyurethane foam) seemed to be a natural one. Epoxy emits 50-75% fewer VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) than polyester resin.
In the pursuit of newer technology and methods, the world of surfing has steered towards the use of extruded polystyrene. The method, not to mention end result, of creating extruded polystyrene makes it an ideal material for a sport like surfing. Taking polystyrene crystals, melting them down with additives and a blowing agent to essentially deflate and combine all the ingredients together, turns it in to a water resistant and lightweight material that can be shaped easily. Another benefit that comes with using extruded polystyrene in the creation of surfboards is its superior strength to other foams, making it extremely resistant to dings and compression caused dents. Extruded polystyrene also has a good flex pattern, which makes it very responsive on water.
It’s these characteristics and qualities that make Foamex’s XPS Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Boards ideal for use across a variety of residential and commercial building and construction applications. So whether it’s for the surf, or the turf, our XPS Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Boards will be perfect for your project.