Reeco Surfboards is tucked away into the industrial neighborhood of Point Loma. There is no sign and it’s part of a lot that feels like storage, car repair and part treasure hunt. There is loud good vibing music coming from the Reeco Shaping bay and studio when we roll up to meet owner, shaper, glasser, artist and operator Marc Sanchez.
He’s in a blue jumpsuit, black tee, facemask and bandana working on a new board. Well, a new old board. Reeco specializes in using foam from old broken boards and creating functional and aesthetically pleasing new ones. Most of their foam is upcycled from the San Diego-area. Marc takes old boards or the pieces from a bunch of boards, and makes them new again using biodegradable foam filler and green friendly products. Foam that would have ended up in the landfill is being given new life.
Once a new board is shaped, Marc turns from shaper into artist creating a new design to cover the board, before glassing the board and turning it loose. Sometimes he’ll design something that is just artistically pleasing, sometimes to cover up some superficial blemish that may subtly affect the future riders experience and sometimes to draw attention to the different vintages of board used to create the new one. He’s an artist without claiming to be an artist.
The old boards and foam come from a collaborations with Coconut Peet’s ding repair and Rerip, a surfboard art non-profit, or from people bringing in their old boards hoping they can be salvaged or turned into something else. Working on boards people bring in is Marc’s favorite project because the board usually has a story behind it already. The example he gives is someone whose shortboard was broken in Baja, and now becomes a new fish with two stories behind it.
There is just so much foam.
• Marc Sanchez
When asked why he started upcycling boards in the first place Marc replied, “”I started off doing this because I was learning to shape. When you’re learning to shape you waste a lot of foam. you don’t know what you’re doing. So I wanted to just practice on some junk. It’s just one of those things. One friend was like, “Can you make me one?” Then another friend asked.”
In his ideal world there wouldn’t be enough foam thrown away for him to run his business, but until then he’ll continue creating unique boards with a unique history. Since nothing goes to waste in the Reeco shop, he uses leftover wax to create handles for bottle openers and high-quality knives. He hopes his upcycled boards and gear inspire others to look at the products we use and discard differently. They don’t have to be waste if they can be turned into something else.
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