Ecuador tradition of Balsa Surfboards

comentarios noviembre 12, 2012 en Activities, Ecotravel, History por


Dating back 1200 years to the Manteño culture, the coastal region of Ecuador has a long tradition of using balsa wood for ocean going vessels.  The Manteño people sailed up and down the coast of Ecuador as far as Peru and Colombia trading the Spondylus.

Ecuador is the biggest global producer of balsa wood with over 90% share of exports worldwide. Balsa is used in boat building, building construction and many other applications.

In Ecuador balsa wood is also used by surfboard shapers to make exotic balsa surf boards that have tremendous aesthetic appeal.


Targeting Eco-friendly surfers who disapprove of synthetic surfboards made with a polystyrene core, the natural balsa board has a strong following, despite costing almost twice that of a typical foam-based board.

With over 50 surf breaks in Ecuador, surfing is a popular sport for tourists and locals. What better souvenir to take home than a hand made balsa board. Looking beyond its beauty and durability, owners can take pride in doing their bit to save the planet, and keeping plastics out of the ocean.
Do they work as well as foam boards? You bet they do!
Many surf pros are proud to own Balsa boards and use them competitively.
Check out the balsa surfboard shapers in Ecuador. Many of them have developed a healthy export business to US, Canada, Australia, UK and other countries in Europe.

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Mark Cowtan
After nearly 30 years working in technology marketing in the UK and California, I emigrated to Ecuador, for a more balanced lifestyle and the luxury of living and working by the beach. Now, I help startups and small businesses with their Internet marketing.
Mark Cowtan

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ArtisansBalsa surfboardsManteño cultureTraditional Crafts