Louise Dever, Notox
Louise Dever, Notox Kiah Lucey

Coast surfer brings French eco-boards to Aus

A FRENCH eco-surfboard is now being made in Australia thanks to Sunshine Coast resident and surfer Louise Dever.

A Mooloolaba resident and owner of Notox Surfboards Australia, Miss Dever set up the French surfboard company's first factory in the country at Tweed Heads four weeks ago.

Surfers who want to see the world become a cleaner, healthier place are Notox's best supporters.

Orders have been piling up since she first floated the idea of making them in Australia.

Miss Dever first encountered the boards online in 2017, but soon learned she'd have to order a shipping container load if she was to try one out, as there was no supplier outside of Europe.

Notox Korko will be manufactured in QLD, they currently being made in France.
Pierre, 86, lives in the French hills but loves his Notox surfboard, which is made using natural flax fibre and other natural and recycled materials. Contributed

She decided to investigate, selling her car to pay for a flight to France and a few boards.

"I brought them back (and) realised they were the real deal," she said.

At the factory in Tweed Heads, two types of boards are being crafted, a learner board and a performance board.

It takes one person working alone a week to craft 10 of the eco softboards.

The interior of the performance surfboard is made of recycled foam, and the exterior is made of natural flax fibre cloth instead of the more conventional fibreglass.

"We use a cloth that is woven from the flax seed plant. It feels like a hessian bag," Miss Dever said.

"Particles of fibreglass can be inhaled...by the worker so we don't use fibreglass."

To enhance strength, the boards are put in a vacuum bag, as is the practice with carbon fibre and a plant-based bioresin derived from paper pulp waste finishes the surface.

"It makes them really light and ...really strong, and the worker isn't exposed to all these harsh chemicals. And they are performance boards."

Pro surfer Chris Friend trialing a Notox surfboard.
Pro surfer Chris Friend trialing a Notox surfboard. Shayne Nienaber

While other surfboard manufacturers used flax cloth, Notox's was the only one certified as being from an environmentally sustainable source where workers were not being exploited, Miss Dever said.

In France, Notox crowdfunded some of its surfboards, and had been supported by some individuals with a quirky interest, including 86-year-old Pierre.

Pierre is connected to a movement trying to revive the planting of linen and flax and the local story of how linen was used in factories, Miss Dever said.

She said staff called to check orders from people living far inland in France were not mistakenly placed.

"You ring them up to make sure that they know what they bought, and they say, 'oh yeah, I don't surf, but I really like what you're doing and I just really wanted to support you."

Local customers tended to be educated people - engineers and professionals who appreciated the complexity of the product's design and manufacture, she said.