The 19 year old apprentice carpenter and member of Helensburgh Stanwell Park SLSC has won the International Vissla Surfrider Creators and Innovators Upcycle Contest for his Alaia surfboard which he built out of an old door.
Dane’s mum Mel says they were thrilled to hear he’d made it through to the top six from 140 entries, so dropped everything and headed to the awards ceremony in San Clemente California.
“Dane used the honeycomb-like-cardboard from an old door as the base for then board, then made a frame from recycled timber, and glassed it to make an Alaia.
“There were some pretty amazing designs,” she says. “Someone had melted down bottle tops to make surfboard fins. There was also a skateboard that ‘transformed’ into a surfboard. The competition was tough.”
But Dane took it out, with Vissla CEO Paul Naude so impressed, he paid US$1000 on the spot and bought the board, adding it to his collection which is touted as the biggest in the world!
Dane also won a custom board from his hero Donald Brink.
“Dane was up against people from all over the world,” says Mel. “There were entries from the Cayman Islands to Scotland. It’s a fantastic achievement to make the finals, and even better to have won!”
One of the criteria for the awards is the finished product has to be workable, so Dane and a mate were hitting the water before work to test the board, and get footage on his friend’s drone.
“He’s a really clever, innovative kid,” Mel says. “We call him the mad professor because he’s always in the garage making something. It’s great to see him rewarded for doing what he loves- surfing and creating things!”
Photos thanks to Mel Whiteside
Dane and Vissla CEO Paul Naude
Dane and his winning board- and the board he won!