Felts says foam from chitin has broad-reaching applications, but the focus on the surf industry first was a deliberate choice. “Surfers almost by definition are hungry for more sustainable options, and some of the inroads that other companies have made are really motivating.
Chitin is affordable, durable, and can be used to create a foam that is much less toxic than polyurethane or expanded polystyrene (EPS). “Back in the 70s and 80s, people essentially thought chitin was going to be this super material that would solve the world’s problems, and as we know it didn’t really pan out that way,” Felts told me.
Cruz Foam was founded by John Felts, a 31-year-old UC Santa Cruz electrical engineering Ph. D. student, and UCSC associate professor in electrical engineering Marco Rolandi, 40, to create a more sustainable alternative to traditional polyurethane foams.
In the surfboard industry in particular, among numerous recent innovations, Marko Foam has been instrumental in creating EPS surfboard blanks partially made up of recycled material, and Arctic Foam will soon make its algae blank commercially available.
Read more here: The Inertia