Hawaii Island designers turn old surfboards into bodysurfing handboards
Artists and wave riders Keith Tallet and Sally Lundburg are creating beautiful surf crafts and jewelry from what some people might call “waste.” The husband and wife team from Hawaii Island upcycle broken surfboards and old resin into new handboards for bodysurfing and fashion accessories. Their brand, Manukai Handboards, is one of the only manufacturers of handboards in Hawaii.
Keith, who also makes surfboards, makes these bodysurfing crafts from old polyurethane surfboards or wood. The first handboard he made was a birthday gift for his wife a few years ago, and evolved into a budding business for the artistic couple. “I think making a handboard that is from Hawaii to support people here instead of buying something from the mainland…. buying a product that’s actually made here from the people here that is totally sustainable is a good feeling,” says Keith about Manukai Handboards.
In the process of making the handboards, Keith uses polyester resin to glass the bodysurfing crafts. Instead of throwing away the excess resin, the couple collects the drippings into molds then they sand, shape and polish into pieces for their Kalakoa Designs jewelry lines. According to Sally, the couple’s aesthetic is urban-contemporary, clean-modern design that evokes the natural environment.
“There’s this symbiotic relationship between the [Manukai] handboards and [Kalakoa Design] jewelry,” says Sally, who wears the fashion accessories as well as rides the handboards. “It becomes a product that we can really stand behind because it’s using what we have and keeping trash from the landfill.”
Art, wave riding and recycling are a lifestyle for Keith and Sally that they’re passing on to their daughter. Their brands are an economic testament to Island life and the Hawaiian cultural practice of “aloha aina” or “caring for the land.” “We’re in the middle of the ocean and we need to take care of the aina (land),” explains Keith. “To upcycle helps everything and that’s island life, man. We’re getting more into that plantation culture where everything is being used and we need to get back to that.”