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Gold Coast Longboards - Sustainable Style

Kate Veling | September 7, 2020

A local lifestyle brand is proving laid back Gold Coast style and sustainability are always in fashion.

Cruising, as is meandering along at a relaxed pace for pleasure, is a mode of travel well suited to the GC lifestyle and local skateboard/ streetwear brand, Gold Coast Longboards, are closely aligned with the concept. In fact, their brand is built on it. Featuring distinctive minimalist designs and wheels in signature pastel shades, their hardwood longboards are a common sight carving along beachside pathways and suburban streets between Paradise Point and Coolangatta.

The brand was founded in 2015 by local couple Leigh Warner and Steph Newbold, who were both working as high school teachers at the time. Leigh used to spend staff meetings doodling skateboard designs in his notebook and realised he needed to get his ideas off paper and make them a reality. Their first batch of 100 boards sold out within weeks. What started as a side project has now grown into an established brand, with their longboards sold world-wide and stocked in Australia’s biggest surf/skate retailer, City Beach.

Recently, Gold Coast Longboards branched out into a range of sunglasses created from the recycled and repurposed off-cuts of their skateboards. Made from durable bamboo and hardwoods such as maple, ebony and walnut, the frames are laser cut from the ‘waste’ wood left over, then sanded into shape and finished by hand. Just like their range of skateboards, the sunnies are infused with a sense of fun, style and quality design. Each pair has a completely unique grain pattern and no two pairs are identical.

“After stumbling across a few international eyewear brands that made timber sunglasses, we thought what a great idea it would be to use our skateboard timber to make eyewear and add another element to our brand.”

“We have to manage our skateboard timber off-cuts as is, so why not get two birds one stone and minimise our waste as well as creating an amazing product?,” says Leigh.

Leigh cites inspiration for all of the brand’s designs as their love of travel, love of the Gold Coast, the ocean and the surf skate lifestyle. The 12 styles in the range are each named after an iconic Gold Coast beach.

“They are incredibly lightweight, comfortable, fitted with polarised lenses and of course great for our environment rather than the typical plastic frames you find,” he says.

This sustainable ethos is gaining traction in the fashion industry as conscious consumers steer away from fast fashion and look for more eco-conscious alternatives. Pro surfer Kelly Slater’s label, Outerknown, produces mens and womens apparel in fabrics made from recycled ocean plastics and fishing nets. Surf brands like Patagonia are proving that sustainability matters to their customers, with their environmental message as one of their core values.

Gold Coast Longboards

Gold Coast Longboards

Gold Coast Longboards

Gold Coast Longboards by no means alone in their quest for more sustainable ways of doing business. Many local brands, businesses and organisations have embraced an eco-conscious approach. Some of the front runners include Boomerang Bags, who hand sew fabric bags to replace plastic ones, and Peony, a high end swimwear label that creates bathers from fabrics made from abandoned fishing nets and nylon waste. There’s the Gold Coast Tool Library where residents can borrow useful items, rather than buying them to reduce their carbon footprint and a number of local cafes that are implementing sustainable practices like going plastic free and serving plant based meals.

When our local natural environment is such a stunningly beautiful place, it makes sense that we’d want to preserve it. As Leigh Warner says, “In this day and age sustainability should be a given… if you can, then why wouldn’t you?”