Cross legged on a surfboard

In Conversation With… Open Surf

In Partners by Bella Collins

Cross legged on a surfboard
Open Surf is a friendly, experimental space found in Cornwall primarily dedicated to the craftsmanship of shaping surfboards. A great local partner, we chat to the team about their eco-credentials and top tips on sustainably packaging boards for safe shipping.

Why does Open use Flexi-Hex?

The nose of a surf board wrapped in Flexi-Hex

Here at Open, we have a process of connecting with our customers where we aim to produce a high quality board that's unique to each order. This incorporates our years of shaping expertise, the care taken by our shapers and a desire for the customer to fall in love with their board. From start to finish, the board is created and passed on through this chain and we want the final journey to be just as conscious. After using Flexi-Hex for a couple of years now, it's tried and trusted to get the board where we want it and in the same state it left us in.

What are your top tips for packaging boards for safe shipping?

A line of surfboards wrapped in Flexi-Hex's 100% recyclable packagingShipping boards with Flexi-Hex makes everything fast. However, it's always good to make sure you've taped up the nose and tail securely, but not all tapes were born equally. A solid 55mm brown packing tape usually seals the deal nicely. After this it's a case of initiative, our boards' shapes vary dramatically, so once in the large box we use scrap card and paper to fill the gaps securely. Movement is a given in transit, but it doesn't have to impact the board.

Firstly, what other efforts have you made at Open to run as a sustainable operation as possible? And secondly, 2020 has been a turbulent year for everyone, how have Open adapted?

Close up of surfboards in cardboard packagingSince taking on the surf factory, sustainability is something Open considers in as many aspects as possible. The Open Board Club was our first radical move as a business to reduce our footprint, by offering a service that meant more considered choices came into the customer journey when shaping boards. It's a place where members can rent out boards shaped by our resident and guest shapers, on a 1 to 24 day basis. This reduces the need for more people to buy more boards, and as a shaping factory, this might sound counter intuitive, however it means that customers can spend time choosing the one board they really want. Over the last year we have grown our collection to over 60 surfboards, the more we have to offer the less people have to consume.

2020 really threw us all into the dark. The pandemic meant distance was growing everywhere and as a business - with our identity revolving around our customer focus and creating good high quality products - was being threatened by the limited contact with one another. It was springtime, and in Cornwall it's pretty epic, and as the days lengthened our operations developed a new normal, we found space and time for new ideas and being well equipped with awesome staff we thought it was no better time than to test drive ideas coming from them. The seed was sown, and from it exploded Open Plants! We had no idea that it would unfold into something integral that maintained a buzz throughout our staff, created a place that people could come to safely outside and helped us realise that in order to sustain ourselves through this whirlwind time we had to adapt.

Our goal this year is to reflect deeper into our core operations and explore new avenues of sustainability, focusing our time on our staff and the relationship we have with our customers.

"After using Flexi-Hex® for a couple of years now, it's tried and trusted to get the board where we want it and in the same state it left us in."

You can only watch one surf related movie and one surf related book for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Film: Big Wednesday.
Book: Barbarian Days.

Flexi-Hex adapts to fit surfboards of all shapes and sizes