Coast KZN

26 Apr 2021

Richards Bay resident makes waves with plastic waste

Dave Savides (Zuuand Observer) Picture: Dave Savides. Rodger Doust with his environmentally friendly boards.

Take one seasoned watersport professional. Add a passionate love for nature and conservation, mix with a creative mind and boundless energy. What do you get? A product that combines all those elements and gives plenty of enjoyment to boot.

Former SA Underwater Hockey coach Rodger Doust is putting his love for the ocean to practical use by manufacturing hand boards for body surfing – another of his personal pleasures. On top of this, the boards are made from discarded plastic bottle tops, making them environmentally friendly as well as extremely functional. And as if that’s not enough, avid conservationist Rodger is donating a large portion of each board sale to the Richards Bay Endangered Humpback Dolphin research project.

‘The principle is simple,’ says Rodger. “The board acts like a hydrofoil and lifts the body out of the water once you have caught the wave and are on the plane, giving incredible speed and maneuverability as your hands do the steering. The board pulls and lifts you so there is little effort needed. Hand boards are not new: they’ve been around for ages, generally made from fiberglass. The only difference is my choice of material, being plastic.”

‘The biggest job is cleaning and sorting the plastic waste and separating them into colours.  After that it’s a question of heating them, placing them in a mould in layers to get the right width and squeezing them in a 12-tonne press to remove the air bubbles.”

Grooves are cut into the board to attach the hand grip and leash, and it takes between 200 and 300 plastic lids to make each hand board.

Being a labour-intensive process, Rodger can make one board a day and he is prepared to take orders and receive plastic bottle caps via WhatsApp on 083 2737769.

The ZO will also accept donations of plastic lids and bread tags at our Empangeni office, 3 Baines Road.