How It's Made: Surfite

So by now you know that SURFITE is made from surfboard resin… but maybe you’re still wondering, okay, but how?!

Here’s a quick review…

Surfboard gets shaped.

Surfboard gets glassed — meaning, it gets a nice, thick, even coat of resin poured over it to seal it.

Excess resin spills off the board. Pools on the ground. Builds up, layer by layer, into an enormous slab that covers the glassing bay floor.

Board shapers clean the shop, bust up the resin slabs, and toss them in the dumpster.

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And that’s where we come in! Low Tide Landing has partnered with a local shaper to salvage some of his waste resin and turn it into unique, colorful jewelry.

We take those chunks and cut them into big, thick slices. That first cut is one of the most exciting, because now we can see all the layers and get an idea for what kind of color combinations we’ll get to play with. (Remember, we’re not pouring the resin ourselves, what we get is whatever colors were in use to glass the surfboards. It’s a surprise to us, too!) I like to try and imagine the surfboard that was glassed with each color layer… cherry reds or translucent, oceany blues, or a streak of neon yellow…

From there, I decide how I want to cut into the layers. A perpendicular cut gives you a nice, tidy stack of colors, while a bias cut changes the angle and can give a completely different look. Sometimes I’ll plan my cabochons to feature long/vertical bands of color, or lots of short/horizontal ones. Sometimes I’ll go “mining” for really abstract color plays, and sometimes I cut into a piece and find the coolest colors and designs already hiding there, waiting for me!

Of course, sometimes you’ll get into a piece that looks promising, only to find that there’s too much clear resin and not enough color. Or there are funky bits of fiberglass and other grit—definitely not the best for jewelry-making. Or the absolute worst—getting into a fantastic piece with amazing colors that breaks when you start the cabbing process! Since the resin layers are formed individually, they don’t always bind together with enough strength to make them usable. It takes a ton of patience and creative problem solving to figure out exactly how and where to make our cuts that result in a Low Tide Landing-worthy surfite cabochon.

We use a series of modified lapidary techniques to take the surfite from rough waste resin to shaped, domed, and highly polished cabochons. Each piece is created by hand, by us, and no two pieces are ever identical, even when they come from the same slice.

It’s quite a time- and labor-intensive process, but when we find just the right angle and cut that shows off those bands of color, it’s totally worth it! And every color you see in our finished jewelry came directly from a surfboard made by hand here in San Diego, California.

So whether you’re a surfer yourself, or have been captivated by the surf culture, or hey, if you’re just a fan of funky, fun statement jewelry, we invite you to add some handmade surfite jewelry to your collection!

Want to know more about why we think Surfite is so special? Read our blog posts here, or check out our SURFITE story highlights in our Instagram feed for more behind the scenes details.