Amelia Martin loves to surf. She’s also an environmentalist and a budding researcher. Martin is the founder of Mud Rat, a company that makes surfboards with cores made of something you might not expect: mushrooms.
Surfboard cores are usually made of Styrofoam. The rest of the board consists of fiberglass and a resin coating, all of which contribute to ocean pollution. Determined to find a better way, Martin started with the idea of using plastic ocean pollution to produce more sustainable surfboards.
When she hit a dead end with that prospect, Martin discovered a much more promising material: mycelium.
Mycelium is the underground root-like structure of fungi. Mycelium has a mesh-like texture, making it very strong, yet still incredibly light. Mycelium is a promising alternative material for everything from packaging to furniture.
The potential uses of mycelium depend on the strain and substrate you use, as each will produce mycelium with unique material properties. Martin spent years researching and experimenting with growing mycelium to find the ideal mix of properties to replace Styrofoam in surfboards.