Noosa resident Adam Harriden hates the fact that most surf wax is made from a petrochemical base—“Although you can’t see it, the petrochemicals break down into tiny particles, and seep into the water and the food chain. And a fish full of petrochemicals is a dead fish. And ditto for anything that eats it.” So he decided to take matters into his own hands. He founded Goodsurfwax, made from beeswax and organic coconut oil. I caught up with him during his recent visit to Los Angeles.
How’d you get involved in the wax game?
We work with three bee farms on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It started through a want of supporting local businesses. We were getting honey delivered to my house from an old school bee farm, and the bee farmers expressed to me how after forty-odd years their business was starting to die in the arse. Because of climate change, the bees weren’t producing as much honey, so they were selling wax as a byproduct to the makeup industry in China. I’ve always wanted to produce an eco-friendly wax. I knew surf wax was doing harm through its construct. So I thought I could produce something that could take on the big brands that have dominated the wax market since the ‘70s and offer people a bit more of a specialty, cleaner, organic, and boutique style of wax. That set us on the journey of researching formulas and testing for a couple years. Being based in Noosa, we’ve got amazing friends who are world-class loggers who helped with the testing and refining. What I thought was going to be a simple exercise just took a shitload of time because of the science behind beeswax and the whole process of getting it right and getting riders happy with the product to where it was good enough that they’d put their names to it. We eventually got there.
It’s a tricky thing, ‘cause we surfers are inherently eco-conscious, yet we’re pretty uncompromising when it comes to performance.
It’s true. We were trying to get surfers to think about the change they were making, not the f—king angle of their cutbacks! That’s still today our biggest hurdle. When I go into the stores, I openly say that this is probably 95% as good as Sex Wax Sticky formula. A lot of our riders say that it reminds them of Sex Wax Classic, and they don’t like the super tacky feeling. We’ve been conditioned by the industry to think that the wax on our boards needs to be so sticky that our feet hardly move. But the bottom line is that Goodsurfwax works.
Tell me about your distribution.
We didn’t want to go traditional channels; we wanted to put it where surfers go with their family and friends. In Australia that’s less in a surf store and more in coffee shops and breweries and fine food stores and boutique accommodations, places where surf wax has never ever been sold.
So what’s next?
In Australia we’ve got about 50 accounts. We’re in the stores we’ve always wanted to be in, and we’re working closely with them to help tell our story. We’ve just done a cool little doco with National Geographic. That’s what keeps me going, the interesting people that are reaching out to us to hear about what we’re doing and help us spread the word. We’ve just started distribution into Japan and New Zealand, and hopefully into the States. Our bees only pollinate from November to April, then we scrape all our wax trays and that gives only a certain amount of wax for the following nine months. Once that’s allocated to stores or regions there’s no more. We don’t just hit a button on a machine and it spills out. It’s limited to what the bees give us.
Check out Goodsurfwax HERE.