Before reading Yvon Chouinard’s book ‘Let my people go surfing. The Education of a reluctant businessman‘, it happened that my Travel Board Bag, from a well known surf brand, broken apart after nearly two years of use. I was so inspired by the philosophy of Patagonia’s founder, that I decided to ACT and finally repair it with recycled materials. And of course customize that old grey board bag in a ‘better than new’ one!
“Repair is a Radical Act.
As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.
Why is repair such a radical act? Fixing something we might otherwise throw away is almost inconceivable to many in the heyday of fast fashion and rapidly advancing technology, but the impact is enormous. I tell you this as CEO of a clothing company that, despite a deep commitment to responsible manufacturing, still takes more from the earth than it returns.
We live in a culture where replacement is king. We do routinely fix big-ticket items, like cars and washing machines, but primarily it’s easier and cheaper to go buy something new. There are other reasons to avoid repair, including labels warning that repairing a product on your own will void the warranty, or the lack of access to the information and parts necessary to repair something ourselves.
These conditions create a society of product-consumers, not owners. And there’s a difference. Owners are empowered to take responsibility for their purchases—from proper cleaning to repairing, reusing and sharing. Consumers take, make, dispose and repeat—a pattern that is driving us towards ecological bankruptcy.“
At the time of my compulsive online shopping, my Travel Board Bag had a cost of 60 Euro about, I though it was a big deal. After I realized that the bag was made in China with a mix of canvas and that horrible plastic materials used from the back part and the inner lining, very common in the travel board bag surf industry. This material with the salt water is the first to follow apart as shown in pictures. I hate plastic waterproof board bags, they keep all the water and sand inside. They mold together with the surf wax and they are hard to clean or dry in the inside. That’s why for daily beach going I much prefer cotton canvas surfbags, that are much easier to clean and more resistant for the beach.
Of course, for travel, especially by air, you need a padded board bag to protect more the surfboard than a simple canvas surf bag, which I use also inside the travel bag to give extra protection to my surfboard. I’m obsessed. 😛 But these factory-made bags, after few years of use fall apart. I tried different brands and is not in their philosophy to make their board bags easy to repair for one obvious reason: Repair is not profitable! And sometimes, no matter how durable the brands make their products, there will be always a need of repair. It might be a hole from a burn … it happens to one of my client who burned the vegan leather part of one of my bags on a bike muffler… and that was my first customer care ‘free repair service’ at my lab not far from Rome, in Italy.
Let’s go back to the broken travel board bag… the repair was really difficult and time consuming. The entire bag had to be taken a part just for sewing a new piece of canvas on the top!!! Also it needed an industrial machine to sew all the pieces back in place… and the zipper work… oh my goddess….you might think I’m crazy, but I had brought it to a local leather artisan to make it repaired! which costs me nearly the same of the price I pay for the new bag. But I’m sure now with this act, the travel board bag will last at least other two years, which means two less board bags in the landfill and hopefully will inspire others to do the same.
AND I COULD NOT RESIST TO PAINT ON IT…
At the moment, the repair service at Fede Surfbags it would not be cost effectiveness, but I will be very happy if next time this happens to you, you will ask us to repair and customize your old travel board bag (only for the ones live nearby Rome, Italy). Or even, if you decide to support this RAD ART, you could donate your old board bag to us. We will make good use of it , using them for this new line of ‘Better than New’ Travel Board Bags, designed to be easily repairable. And made to protect your board while you fly to your next surf mecca and built to last more than two years!
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE and REPAIR! Ask away for your repair or donation HERE.
Federica, Owner & Creative Designer at Fede Surfbags
Have a look at this inspiring video from Patagonia Worn Wear Program HERE