Surf’s Up: Startup finds success in Colorado marketing EPS foam surfboard

Ben Nielsen became passionate about surfing when he was at college in California. Now, as an engineer he is building Sheridan’s River Run surf park in the Platte River and launching Streamline Surfboards to provide the equipment — a board made out of EPS foam.

His goal is to get people out in the water surfing and enjoying an activity not normally associated with Colorado. However, he says, to have fun, surfers need the right equipment.

Nielson creates custom boards made to a customer’s specifications, including height, weight and surfing level of expertise. Using CAD software, Nielson creates a prototype of the ideal board for aspiring and experienced surfers. Soon he will be launching a website to sell his boards made with foam.

After the computer has the dimensions and shape of the board recorded, a computer-controlled knife carves the board from a large foam cube. The board then goes through a process to increase its durability and make it waterproof.

Ben Nielsen’s operation is but one of many. Businesses across the country are using EPS foam owing to the material’s many applications, cost-effectiveness, and ecological advantages. With the realization that EPS foam can be recycled and, in fact, is recycled in many areas of the country, small business owners can move full-speed ahead without worrying about their impact on the environment.

Just last month, FoamRecycle opened up a location in the San Francisco Bay area — an attractive spot for surfers. In fact, companies that recycle EPS foam efficiently and at a low cost are popping up all over the country. FoamRecycle even provides equipment to companies that allow them to recycle their own EPS foam in-house. In Hawaii, a new foam initiative is repurposing old foam by using a densifier in the recycling process.

Nielsen believes his surfing venture will be a success in Colorado after the idea of river surfing catches on full force. With Colorado being a mecca for outdoor sports, industry members agree.

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