To us, Jack Candlish, is a bit of a legend. We met four years ago, when we came to his Wellington-based manufacturing business (then called STIK) in the hopes of creating our first laser etched board artworks. Since then, Candlish has thrown in a part of that towel to pick up another (more literal) one in his love for surfing.
Jack is one of the hardest working and enthusiastically passionate people we have met. His approach to his newest business, Organic Dynamic, has been no exception to his character. "My love is for the ocean and for surfing so I was used to spending a lot of time in the water as a kid. When I went through University and started my little business I lost touch with that and in turn, with the environment - this beautiful natural resource we have here in New Zealand." Having stumbled upon surfing a few years back, Candlish was hooked on the feeling of being in the water but was saddened to find that his new hobby involved production that was detrimental to the environment he so loved being in.
Current materials used to make surfboards are extremeley toxic, carcinogenic, non recyclable and non biodegradable. An average surfboard weighing 3kg will emit 300kg of CO2 in it's lifetime. That's a difficult thing to sit in the head of the so-many-surfers who are super passionate about keeping the ocean clean. Organic Dynamic was formed from Jack's attempts at rectifying this problem by crafting light, strong surfboards made from recycled polystrene packaging, NZ grown timber and plant based resins that are built to last. These exceptionally beautiful boards are making waves in the shaping industry with new technology set to become available world wide.
This year, we launched our Cause range of t-shirts and board artworks, several of which help to support Sustainable Coastlines in their efforts to educate and enable people to look after the coastlines and waterways they love. Last month, we got to hang out with Jack and our wonderful photographer, Rachael Brown, to capture Candlish in his workspace as an Ambassador to the Cause, a joint passion.
"My idea of sustainability is living in a way that your kids can enjoy the same good things that you did growing up. I like to think I’m working towards a world where that’s possible - as opposed to what I was doing previously which was probably detrimental to that idea. The more boards I sell, the more polystyrene gets recycled instead of going into the landfill and more trees are planted on dairy farms. It helps the oceans, helps the rivers - so that’s pretty neat. If I can grow the business, it’s only going to be better," says Jack.
Speaking of growing his business, Organic Dynamic are currently running a PledgeMe campaign to crowd fund for the factory expansion that could see many surfers switch to this environmentally friendly alternative. You can get in on this innovative move towards sustainability (& even shape your own surfboard!) - or just learn more - by checking out his campaign.
For more on our interview with Jack, scroll down!
How does art, conservation, sustainability or causes factor into your work?
"I think the most prevalent of things in this business is sustainability. At the moment, the materials that go into making the surf-crafts are inherently really toxic -bad for the people that work with them, you know, a lot of carcinogens and they are also non-biodegradable and non-recycleable. They last forever in the landfill. I’ve tried to develop a product that compliments the natural integrity of the marine environment and helps protect it so that’s probably the main thing. In saying that though, that idea is the back bone of the company - what happens behind the scenes - so I still have to put a lot of effort into making a high quality product that rides well and as people expect."
What does it mean to you to be an ambassador to this Cause?
"I guess it ties back to that idea that the actions that we make today, our behaviour will depict what our children can enjoy - the good things that we did growing up so that makes sense for me to do my best to use my skills to ensure that that’s a possibility."
What's one thing you'd like to see in the future of NZ?
"Cleaner rivers, cleaner oceans and better recycling systems. Locally recycled recycling. The problem at the moment is that we have all these recycling facilities but we don’t have the infrastructure to justify local recycling models. I think whilst manufacturing is obviously downplayed as a major contributor to environmental harm, I think that having a local manufacturing industry could be really good in the sense that it would justify having local systems. Sending stuff away to be recycled… I think having it all local is where we need to be headed. People need to buy more locally made stuff too - it’s going to have a knock on effect."
What else are you passionate about?
Dev the Dog. But surfing gets the best of me, eh!