RI company ‘breathing new life’ into surfboard industry

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Kevin Cunningham is taking one man’s trash and turning it into another man’s treasure in the form of eco-friendly surfboards.

His Providence-based company, Spirare Surfboards, makes their boards from materials not typically found in traditional boards, such as recycled foam and sustainably-harvested wood. The fins for the boards are actually made from marine debris you might find washed up on the beach, like ropes, fishing nets and small bits of plastic.

Most of the recycled debris comes from the Rhode Island coast, but since Cunningham sells his products globally, some of the fins could contain material from beaches halfway across the world.

The project began while Cunningham was working as an architect in the construction business.

“My nights and weekends slowly started taking over with shaping surfboards and making fins, and it slowly grew into a full-time business,” he said.

Spirare Surfboards became a full-time gig in 2007.

“Spirare is Latin, it’s the root word for spirit, and spirit – by definition – is to breath, or to breath new life into,” Cunningham added. “So the idea of using Spirare is that I’m breathing new life into the surfboard industry.”

Cunningham said the Sea Resin line will soon be expanded to include jewelry as well.

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