Beaches are essentially nature’s ashtray, so it’s only natural that cigarette butts tend to litter the sand in virtually any place that more than seven people have visited at some point in time. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if there’s an island out there inhabited by an uncontacted tribe with a shoreline that’s somehow littered with the remains of Marlboro Reds.
The ubiquity of cigarette butts is part of what drove Taylor Lane and Ben Judkins to scour the sands of Santa Cruz, California in preparation for a particularly innovative project. Over the summer, the duo collected over 10,000 discarded filters before transforming them into a surfboard as part of an “upcycling” contest.
Twelve people entered the contest in which competitors had to make a surfboard out of salvaged materials. Lane— who spent three months constructing his board from the butts and recycled styrofoam— edged out Frenchman Francois Jaubert, who submitted an entry constructed from a reclaimed wooden carrot box.
While I admire the ingenuity on display here, I can only hope this doesn’t spark some new artisanal surfboard trend that results in hip millennials invading beaches with coffin lids and ironing boards in tow. Surfing deserves better than that.