This year marks our 7th annual Vissla + Surfrider Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest, where the public was challenged to take something that might be considered waste and create something that can be used in the ocean. Rather than hosting a physical Upcycle Exhibiton event, we went digital to maintain safe social distancing while also holding true to our efforts in raising awareness of plastic pollution and encouraging people all across the globe to ‘convert waste into want.’

The public’s vote made up one of three total votes to decide the winners. Individuals were given the opportunity to view each project, learn about the process and materials used to create it and cast their votes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners here. The remaining two votes came from additional judges Surfrider CEO, Chad Nelsen, and Vissla CEO, Paul Naude. Creator and Innovator, Jack Coleman, revealed this year’s top three winners via holographic broadcast but here is a recap in case you missed it:


In 1st place came Niall Jones from Cornwall, United Kingdom with a surfboard made from six discarded, 'single' use body boards dumped by tourist's. All the plastic hardware was made from 100% recycled, discarded fishing nets, once used for local fishing in Cornwall.

In 2nd place came Will Lush from Maine, USA using old polystyrene dock float pieces that had washed up on locally. Will also used a warped piece of cedar as a stringer and an old piece of driftwood to make the fins. Everything was glassed together with leftover fiberglass from other projects and Entropy Resins bio-based epoxy.

In 3rd place came Liam Bulgen from Galway, Ireland with a surfboard made from Irish flax cloth, upcycled wooden ice cream sticks, coffee stirrers, tongue depressors, 40+ year old paint, reject EPS blank & Supersap Epoxy.


Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. We are blown away by the projects that were submitted and the people that viewed + voted on them from all around the globe.

Each year the projects keep getting better and better. Upcycling has been a part of our mission since our inception, so the opportunity to get people from all over the world engaged in participating feels incredibly special. While the above winners will all take home Vissla shopping spree prizes, everyone who participated in the contest deserves to have their creative upcycling efforts celebrated.

See you next year, hopefully in person!