Behind the Brand: Starboard SUP

At Trailhead Paddle Shack we take pride in carrying brands that do their part in protecting the environment. Through the #BehindTheBrand series we’ll take you behind the brands we carry and showcase their history and what they’re doing to protect our planet.

History: Starboard SUP produces some of the best boards on the market, they’ve been innovating for years  finding new ways to make their boards faster and more accessible all while causing as little harm to the environment as possible. Starboard owes it’s success to it’s founder, Svein Rasmussen who began windsurfing when he was 15 years of age and entered his first windsurf board in 1978. Svein would go on to win the Windsurfer Europeans in 1980, the Mistral Worlds in 1983, a Gold Medal Candidate for the 84 Olympics and compete for 10 years on the PWA (Professional Windsurfing Association) pro-circuit. Starboard became the first brand to mass produce paddlebaords on an international scale. Growth continues as Svein created tandem, short and long race boards for every paddle boarder on the water. Starboard’s growth hasn’t stopped over the years as they continue to innovate with new designs and technology like the addition of a Carbon Sandwich Techonlolgy. Svein wants to make Starboard a company that allows everyone to get out and explore on the water from entry level to professional.


Svein Rasmussen

Svein Rasmussen, the founder of Starboard SUP

Why we carry Starboard SUP: Central to the business of Starboard they’re focused on protecting the environment in any way they can. Starboard has gone Carbon Net Positive by planting Mangrove Trees in Thro Heyerdahl Climate Parks.

Man Grove Tree

Mangrove trees have the ability to remove 1 ton of CO2 per tree from the atmosphere over 20 years. When you purchase a Starboard SUP they plant a tree on your behalf this way every surfer and paddler out there has a positive impact. Through this initiative Starboard has planted over 100,000 Mangroves and counting.

Starboard is transparent when it comes to how they are impacting the planet – each year their carbon footprint is calculated and available to the public a footprint offset by the Mangroves unique ability to reduce CO2. Starboard is currently pushing for better regulation for single use plastic bags – these regulations would help keep our greatest resource heathy – water. When you purchase a Starboard product a lot of thought goes into how to make it better, outlined below is how Starboard makes their boards, accessories and packaging different:


Fins & Boxes from Upcycled Fish Nets: Fins and fin boxes are made from 70% recycled material – this includes recycled industrial yarn and old fishing nets! The material also provides improved stiffness and outperforms previous virgin plastic fins.


End Grain Balsa: Starboard’s Carbon Balsa construction boards, as well as our Balsa Core fins, use incredibly lightweight and strong end grain balsa wood in their construction. This renewable and sustainably sourced material actually has a negative carbon footprint due to balsa’s CO2 storage capabilities.

Pine Positive: Pine Tek boards feature sustainably grown Australian Pine. It’s 100% PEFC certified, meaning it was harvested from a forest that maintains biological diversity, ecosystem health, and water quality, plus respects indigenous land values.


Natural Flax: Starboard’s Pine Tek line also introduces full uni-directional rails made of Natural Flax sourced from Europe. Our tests have shown that this flax is actually stiffer and stronger, with a higher breaking point, than many premium carbon fibers! Flax construction reduces 90% energy consumption when compared to fiberglass, and has a carbon footprint that is 94.7% less than PVC.



Recycled EVA: As of 2018 EVA deck pads are made from up to 50% post industrial recycled EVA. Starboard are doing their part to Avoid, Intercept, and Redesign our plastics, taking a page from Parley For the Ocean’s book.



Bioresin: Starboard’s ditched the usual chemical resin in favor of a bio-based alternative with 35% of its molecular structure originating from plants. This plant-based, low/zero VOC epoxy resin maintains superior performance with lower impact on the environment.



Less EPS: The last thing we want is more Styrofoam in our oceans – that’s why Starboard boards use precision molded EPS with absolutely zero EPS foam waste.






starboard-environmental-eco-innovation-Paint-PigmentPaint Pigment: Their iconic Starboard blue is also part of our agenda to protect the big blue. They use impregnated paint pigment four our race and carbon balsa construction boards, which means that less paint is sprayed to color the boards. All other technologies have reduced paint consumption by 33%. This not only releases fewer toxins into the environment, but also reduces the overall weight of the board and leads to fewer paint chips and scratches!



Bottle to Bag: Both composite and inflatable board bags will be made using upcycled PET material from Waste2Wear! These ultra strong board bags have half the carbon footprint of virgin material and utilize an average of 14 plastic bottles per board bag.




Paddle Picks: One of our newest eco-inventions is our Paddle Picks. You can attach this little accessory made by recycled fishing nets to your paddle to easily pick up floating pieces of trash while you are out for a paddle. Help us keep our waterways clean!



starboard-environmental-eco-innovation-Apparel Apparel: Starboard is continuously comparing the impact of material to make the best products for the planet. For our apparel line we are continuously searching for the best possible material. In 2018, we tried recycled polyester for a series of product, but studying its long term affect we are concerned with the plastic microfibers lost in machine washes. 


Packaging: All apparel is packed in reusable paper bags. Boards are now packed in cardboard and recycled plastic. Paddles and accessories are packed in cardboard paper packaging.





Carbon Neutral: For every board you buy, Starboard purchases one mangrove tree at Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar. Over its 20-year lifetime, this mangrove will sequester about 1 tonne (1000 kg) of carbon. The average Starboard SUP has a carbon footprint of about 100kg CO2, meaning that over its lifetime, the mangrove planted for your board will reach carbon net positivity about ten times over!




History: What kick-started Starboard was an innovation by Svein – he had developed a Wood Sandwich Technology in co-operation with Jean Louis Colmas. This technology meant that boards were faster, because they could be built lighter than ever before. A Wood Sandwich Design features a foam core, wrapped in fibreglass, wood veneer and more fibreglass.  Svein was inspired by Jean Louis Colmas – who was using a board made of wood which would performed faster than the competition at the time, and after a year of surfing the board remained in good condition. Starboard would go on to introduce it’s first board using this technology and called it the “GO” board – these boards were wider and shorter than the competition however lighter than the competition. The focus was to make the windsurfing industry more accessible. The GO board would make Starboard a innovative trendsetter of the windsurf industry revolutionizing all niches of windsurfing from entry level to waves, Slalom and freestyle. In 2006 Svein wanted to create a lightwind windsurf board which meant the creation of Starboard Paddleboards.


“Well over 1,000 different boards shapes have been under my feet since I first stepped on a board in 1978. While shaping boards and our company’s culture, we also need to keep the Oceans in shape, they are our core business in all respects .We partner with organisations such as Parley for the Oceans, started Trash Hero Bangkok and do our own clean ups at local beaches and rivers, up to three times a week.We work with SUP kids, Watertrek and admire organisations like Bye bye plastic bags and 5 gyres institute.We  are tight with Sustainable Surf to develop up-cycled materials, bio materials reducing our addiction to petroleum-based raw materials.We plant mangroves in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar, our Starboard forest contains  104,500 trees, absorbing over 100,000,000 kg of CO2 over the next 20 years.  The park itself has already  a total of 3.2 million trees in the ground.Our goal together with partners is to plant over 1 Billion trees within 10 years, mitigating 1 billion kg of CO2 over the next 20 years. To put it all into a broader perspective, ONE single mangrove tree can over 20 years absorb 5,400 kg of CO2 emissions from a car using 0.5 liters of gas per 10 km.The average carbon footprint of a board  is between 75 and 100 kg and we plant one tree per board sold so, we are easily carbon Net Positive Since 2016.Can we further help value nature? How about introducing a Tree coin with a natural blockchain technology , backed by carbon credits?We are almost there in coordinations with and the Heyerdahl park, reinventing money and finally see a currency with true value.Next is a Plastic Net Positive pledge, can we help introduce a system to value plastic emission and create a circular economy ?We would like to pioneer a  plastic taxation system, benefitting plastic waste collectors worldwide and again utilise blockchain to be as efficient as possible.It is fun to create positive impact and we hope that our world of wind and water can inspire businesses and governments to take bold steps forward.We are just getting started , so join us and become a pioneer living a deep blue life.”