Two new, innovative surfboards are currently being built in collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and the world-class Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara. The first, made entirely from Portuguese cork, has already been handed over to McNamara.
The second board is being produced from a foam material used in the manufacture of aircraft wings. McNamara brought this material with him from California. The surfing legend and current world record holder plans to use the two boards to ride the high waves off the Portuguese coast in Nazaré.
Mercedes-Benz designers began working together with McNamara on MBoard project 1.0 back in 2013. This gave rise to four surfboards, which were built in Portugal and are especially suitable for surfing giant waves. They all have different forms and are tailored to McNamara’s height and weight.
Renewable raw materials for the construction of surfboards
In the current project, both partners are going one step further. The result is a surfboard produced entirely from the renewable raw material of cork, which has proved its efficiency, durability and stability in numerous other projects, notably in the aviation, automotive and textile industries. The construction of the surfboard made use of the experience of the world’s largest cork producer, the Portuguese company Corticeira Amorim. The decision to opt for a sustainable material was an obvious one for McNamara: “As Portugal is the world’s biggest producer of cork, it makes sense to use that material to produce high-performance surfboards. For surfing high waves, we need a flexible board that is also tough enough not to break.”
High-performance surfboard of hi-tech material from the aviation industry
Mercedes-Benz and McNamara took a different approach when developing the second surfboard. They opted for a foam material used mainly in the aviation industry. This material allows the surfboard to be constructed without longitudinal reinforcements (stringers). McNamara expects “this board to offer maximum flexibility with no loss of strength, allowing it to withstand the high waves in the northern bay of Nazaré”. The Portuguese company Polen Surfboards is responsible for production of the two boards MBoard 2.0 and MBoard 3.0.
Garrett McNamara currently holds the record for the highest wave ever surfed. This guaranteed him a place in the Guinness Book of Records. McNamara surfed the high waves in Nazaré using the “MBoards” developed by Mercedes-Benz in 2013. The breathtaking speed of 62.4 km/h was measured thanks to a telemetry system developed by Mercedes-Benz as part of the MBoard project. To give the surfing legend further support, Mercedes-Benz is this year’s official sponsor of the North Canyon project, which was held from October to November 2014 on Nazaré’s north beach. International surfing greats took part in the event to ride the world-famous high waves in Nazaré.