It’s no secret that surfers love the ocean and want to protect the environment, but who knew that surfing could be toxic? In a sport that’s constantly evolving, in a town at the very heart of the surfing industry where pros and brands are born, Larry Bertlemann—the Hawaiian surfing legend who shook up a generation of surfers with his unique style and approach to the industry in the 1970s—is once again carving his mark onto future generations of surfers through his company, BeBetterBoards by Bertlemann.
Larry “Rubberman” Bertlemann was on the scene of this year’s Vans US Open of Surfing Fame and drawing attention to an issue that is near and dear to the heart of surfers everywhere: the health of the ocean and the people who love to be in it.
Surfing is not traditionally associated with killing the planet, but surfboards containing toxic foams take a surprising toll on both the people who shape them and the reefs where they break and remain.
“You can imagine how many boards break a day in Hawaii; those boards are toxic,” said AIRTech Chairman of the Board, Blake Ward. ” If you look underneath the Pipeline and other places where a lot of boards break and they get stuck in the reef, you’ll see that the reef is dead, and we did that in our lifetime.”
Ward also explained that board shapers have died from exposure to the “horrific airborne particles” used in themanufacturing process. He said California surfboard blank manufacturer Clark Foam, which d ominated themarket from 1961 to 2005, “closed for a reason.”
Bringing Bertlemann On Board
Recognizing the profound positive impact of their foam, AIRTech partnered with Bertlemann “It’s been a group effort. We want to bring the whole surf community in because it’s not us introducing it to the surf community, it’s the surf community helping us create a product that we can introduce to the surfing world that we can all be proud of,” Ward said.
Always one to influence the sport of surfing with his unabashed style and full embrace of corporate sponsors, Bertlemann has become a passionate promoter of BeBetterBoards over the past five years and was brought on to be the main voice and face of the company as VP of Marketing and Sales.
Bertlemann is enthusiastic about protecting the ocean and his role with the company.
“If you’re not riding my blanks or my boards, then you’re killing [the planet],” Bertlemann said. “We won’t let that happen…because the Hawaiian people love our ocean and our island, we always take care of it.”
who we are.
We came together in response to the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill that occured in the Gulf of Mexico in April of 2010. We were appalled as we witnessed the immediate, devastating impact of the environment. We also saw that the conventional cleanup methods being used were even more damaging to ecosystem, and were not solving the problem. we wanted to help with cleanup effort, so we decided to not be a team of onlookers, but a team that takes action and honors the fact that we are all responsible for the human impact on our planet.
Advanced Innovative Recovery Technologies, Inc. (AIRTech) was our first in finding a solution. Our mission was to be an integral part of resolving this global problem. We joined with one of the top chemists in the world to formulate a new, non-toxic foam product made from renewable resources. By shaping our foam into buoys, booms, and pads, and developing them around an oil spill, we are able to quickly absorb oil from a body of water as easily as you would use a sponge to mop up a spill at home. With the help of family, friends, a few investors, and years of hard work, we developed a product that was approved by the EPA, and also got the green light from the CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE. The foam is water repellent (hydrophobic), while it naturally absorbs oil and silicones (oleophilic). In addition to being highly absorbent on a molecular level, it is so resilient that it an be reused multiple times without degrading. We call it BeBetterFoam®.
Chairman of the AIRTech Board / Founder
Blake has extensive marketing experience developing and assisting small to mid-size companies with private placement funding, and brings diversified experience in business management and corporate finance. Blake has extensive expertise in the construction industry. Since 1985, he has managed, consulted and started several construction and concrete cutting, coring and demolition companies which include American Concrete Cutting & Coring, Castillo Demolition & Concrete and Crown concrete Cutting & Coring.
Chief Executive Officer
Bob is a seasoned business and technology executive with experience in manufacturing, operations and engineering. He has successfully led global businesses and has a proven track record of consistently exceeding revenue and profit objectives. He has successfully taken two companies from start-ups to multi-million dollars in sales.