FUELED BY SURF | INSPIRED BY TRAVEL Bureo is finding innovative solutions to keep plastic out of the ocean.
May 9, 2016

As surfers, we are attracted to travel, in search of waves and adventure. There are rare moments during this journey when we find ourselves in exactly the right place at the right time. Many will follow the trusted path, while others will stray from the crowds, increasing the risk in return for greater rewards.

Spread across three continents, the founding team of Bureo (Ber–ay –o) came together when the growing issue of plastic pollution interrupted their connection with the ocean. With plastic pollution infiltrating surf lineups around the world, Bureo set out with their innovative concept to incentivize others to prevent plastic from entering waterways. Bureo credits their innovative approach to a desire to leave their comfort zone, shed routine, and discover new forms of inspiration.

South Island - NZ 2013_Bureo

Occasionally you have to go left to find the right path. In search of inspiration….way down south in New Zealand.

Researching the various sources of plastic pollution and practical solutions, the Bureo team was struck by the volume [10% of plastic pollution in the ocean] of harmful fishing nets entering the ocean and the lack of infrastructure in place to manage the abundant waste found on the global scale.

Kevin - Co-Founder - Sunshine Coast, Australia 2011_Brian Ahearn

Perched in thought, Bureo co-founder and lead designer Kevin Ahearn gains a new perspective on design.

Research [experiential] found that even the most coveted corners of the surf map were scarred by the persistence of plastic pollution, which was now finding its way into every lineup around the world. However, with the problem, came opportunity.

David-Co-Founder_Indonesia 2013_Joey Melroy

On the run. Co-founder David Stover turns the corner during a deceptively clean session.    

Nets on Beach

A discarded ‘net ball’ washed ashore. 

Seizing an opportunity in South America, the Bureo team relocated to Chile to set up the countries first fishing net collection and recycling program, ‘Net Positiva’. Finding a tangible solution to the problem at hand, the team formed a program to turn previously discarded fishing nets into cruiser skateboards, bringing a positive approach to a negative issue.

Bureo’s lead designer, Kevin Ahearn, credits his ‘travel companion’, a Christenson Twin-Fin fish for inspiring the ‘Minnow’ design template. Blending a classic cruiser design with the iconic surf template of a fish, the board incorporates a gripping scale pattern and vertebrae structure.

Fishing Net in each Board

Nets to decks.  Bureo founders Ben Kneppers (left) and Kevin Ahearn (right) display the thirty square feet of fishing net that is recycled in Chile to make each Bureo Minnow skateboard.

Launching the campaign, ‘Push for Tomorrow’, Bureo is now using their boards to encourage riders of all crafts to take responsibility for the health of the ocean and to secure a cleaner tomorrow.

San Clemente VW
Expanding recycling efforts to 15 communities in Chile, Bureo currently splits time and efforts between Southern California and Chile, basing themselves amongst wave rich coastlines. Sessions are shorter, but time in the water keeps minds fresh and morale high. Fortunate to partner with organizations around the globe that are combating the issues of ocean plastics, the Bureo team holds onto fleeting moments of perfect surf.

Hawaii_Big Island -2015 _Bureo

Finding gold in the Hawaiian islands during a visit with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for a series of large scale beach clean-ups. The Hawaiian coast is directly exposed to ‘plastic currents’ circulating around the Pacific.

Expanding recycling programs and moving forward with new product innovation, Bureo recently teamed up with a local Chilean eyewear designer to release the ‘Ocean Collection’, sunglass frames made from 100% recycled fishing nets.