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(Thursday) 1.5.12

Surf Labor Profile – Matunas Eco Friendly Surf Wax

In this week’s Surf Labor Profile we’re going talk wax. Yes that deliciously sweet, perfumy, sticky, substance that keeps us planted on our boards. Let’s face it – surf wax is a necessary as a board. Without wax you would see a bunch of surfers slipping and falling rather than surfing. Yet we don’t even think twice about where it comes from or how it is made. Heck, for most people as long as it helps us stay on our board, we could care less about what is in it.

One day I walked into my local surf shop and found a wax I had never seen before called Matunas. I was intrigued about its “organic and bio-degradable” claims so I bought a couple bars. First off, it’s legit. I found no compromise in performance with Matunas. There was no slipping or sliding… unless it was my own fault. Satisfied with the product I quickly became intrigued by the company and wanted to know more. Team Solspot recently sat down with Matt, the owner and founder of Matunas, and got his story.

Matunas has very humble and unique beginnings. In 1998, the owner/creator/founder, Matt Mattoon (his last name is the phonetic pronunciation of the company – slick right) noticed there was a growing trend in Santa Cruz towards sustainable and organic shops. He wanted to transfer this great idea to the sport he loved – surfing. So why wax? It’s almost like a perfect storm – you have the organic movement happening all around in Santa Cruz, Matt had completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Chemistry and started a graduate degree in Organic Chemistry plus he wanted a product that could be widely available so surfers could understand the impact of their daily sessions on the environment. So he set out to create the first organic and biodegradable surf wax.

Starting the company was easy, the real challenge was to create a wax that was organic and sustainable, but also have comparable performance with major surf wax companies. Most surf wax companies use a micro-crystalline or paraffin based wax blend. In layman’s terms – petroleum. With his background in chemistry, Matt did a ton of research made countless batches of test wax.

It took over a year of constant testing, retesting, taking surfer feedback, reformulating, testing some more and all the while learning that there were certain criteria a short boarder liked while a long boarder wanted something slightly different. He ultimately found a combination of Jasmine root, apricot tree sap, clay and some other super secret ingredients made the perfect organic surf wax. His first batches were packaged and sold in old tuna-fish cans topped with Pringle lids and the wrappers were printed with recycled ink on 100% recycled paper. But hey, he was off and running.

Matt explains – entering the so world of wax is no easy task. You have the two major powerhouses – taking up an overwhelming 90% of the market leaving 10% for all the other wax companies to fight over. Getting Matunas into surf shops and other stores was a very tough and long road that had to be overcome. Slowly but surely, Matunas started to overcome many of its challenges and stayed true to their mission of eco-friendly wax and in turn sales started to go up.

Along the road Matunas picked up a stacked lineup of team riders such as Jason ”Ratboy” Collins, Peter Mendia, and Cory Lopez. The performance of the wax drew many team riders to Matunas, but they were also drawn in by the fresh idea of a wax that was safe and not harmful to the environment.

Matunas hasn’t stopped with just surf wax – they continue to grow their arsenal of eco-friendly products and now have SPF lip balms, air fresheners, soy candles and for all you snow and ski bums – they even created a ski and snowboard wax that is bio-degradable and eco-friendly.

Today Matunas is a 12 person, 25 acre, small business with a big heart. They’ve got 4 different waxes (temp variance) and a basecoat. Their wax is sold in local surf shops and select online retailers. Oh, here’s a nice little nugget for ya – THEY SELL THEIR WAX AT THE SAME PRICE AS THE BIG GUYS. Yup, $1-$1.75 depending on the shop.

Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Matunas/92336192001
and their website, matunasco.com.

  • jason

    Yeah, but does it smell good? That’s half the battle when it comes to wax.

  • brendo

    smell is good, and it goes great too, never had an issue with it unlike some other organic waxes you can buy

  • James

    Great article, and the wax works excellent, it beads up really well. I also like their organic lipbalms Matunas does, just grabbed one at Hansen’s surf shop.

  • patric

    This wax goes a long way as well. I was able to use a half bar for a fresh coat where the sticky stuff usually takes a full bar ..good for my feet, good for my pocket and good for the environment.

  • Vanessa

    After seeing the film Manufacturing Stoke I knew I had to make the switch to biodegradable wax. JP at Surfy Surfy hooked me up with base and cool wax and I’m not turning back – stuff works really well. Try it!

  • RyGUY

    props to the writers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • robby

    Rescoll
    Lab has carried out a chemical screening of several waxes available on the
    market in order to verify the accordance between real composition of the
    products and the claims written on the different packages. In a few words, are
    the so called “organic” or “green” waxes really bio-based and petrochemical
    free?

    Conclusions
    :

    The following table (attached doc) summarizes
    the results obtained for the 6 tested waxes.

    - MATUNAS, TERRAWAX and RANSOM are mainly from petrochemical origins

    - FAMOUS GREEN LABEL and STICKY SOY are mainly from natural origins

    - Only GREENFIX is exclusively from natural origins (they are based in France
    and not positioned in the US or Australia or Japan)

    http://www.surfersvillage.com/surfing-news/51355#.UYrEjErQ4Vo

  • Vedlinyrim

    of course not, you cant sell a product for under $1.75 a unit without losing money if it is actually petrochemical free…. Pygmy’s Grip stick is the only wax I have heard of that has been researched and developed to contain zero petro in the US.

  • Vedlinyrim

    Remember just because its made in a great surfing location does not mean it is a great product.


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