postheadericon Sustainability Floats!

Kamanu Composites is a locally-owned and operated outrigger canoe manufacturer here in Hawaii. They are well recognized for pushing industry standards, and many of today’s best paddlers rely on their designs. Recently, I had a chance to talk to Luke Evslin, one of the founders of Kamanu Composites, about the positive steps they are taking to be an eco-friendly company. For Luke and his partners, it is a challenge to be green in an industry that relies so heavily upon synthetic materials: standard epoxy, foam and carbon fiber are just a few of the ingredients required to produce an outrigger canoe, none of which are biodegradable or earth-friendly.  However, the guys at Kamanu know that the right way isn’t always the easiest. They’ve taken steps to minimize their impact on the environment, such as repainting their building white to deflect heat, recycling paper/aluminum/cardboard, and planning for the installation of photovoltaic panels. They even developed re-usable shipping materials to eliminate the need for bubble-wrap. Just think of all the styrofoam peanuts we could save if everyone were to do this!!

But, of all the changes they’ve made since founding the company in 2007, the most impressive is what they refer to as “The Green Layup.”  Kamanu took their well-known and highly sought after canoe design and turned it into a green canoe by replacing 2.6 pounds of foam, 7 pounds of epoxy and 7 yards of S-glass with renewable, sustainable alternatives like hemp, cork and bio-resin epoxy. It’s a complicated process, and I’m sure it was no easy feat for the engineers and well-minded folks at Kamanu, but the end result adds up to a LOT of good. The best thing about it is that they consider the design a work in progress, and are determined to continue to push the envelope and move their company towards sustainability. Companies like this deserve recognition and applause for their hard work and commitment to eco-consciousness. For more information on Kamanu Composites and the bright minds at work, visit http://kamanucomposites.com

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