A Tauranga based surfboard manufacturer is opting for sheep wool over glass fibre to make a New Zealand surfboard from start to finish.
Paul Barron had the idea for his wool surfboards when he spilled resin on his woollen jersey.
The light bulb moment from the former Christchurch-based surfboard manufacturer works because all sufboards need fibre for tensile strength, and a binding agent such as epoxy resin for hardness.
But why use glass fibre for strength, when there is plenty of fibre growing on the backs of New Zealand's 27 million sheep, thought Mr Barron.
"I had a jersey on, spilled some resin on it, and suddenly, light bulb moment, try wool.
"At first it didn't work, but I spent two or three years perfecting it, and the rest is history.
"I wanted to make a New Zealand surfboard from start to finish."
Mr Barron's design was then taken up by a company called Firewire, which manufactures surboards near San Diego, California.
Chief executive Mark Price, a professional surfer formerly from South Africa, said his company had long sought to reduce the environmental impact of its surfboards during manufacture.
It has just begun building surfboards working on Mr Barron's design for release in New Zealand, Australia and the US next year.
Mr Price said the source was New Zealand wool - for a surfboard that he thought was a joy to ride.
"The performance characteristics meet or exceed fibreglass," Mr Price said.
"The weight of the board is comparable, the flex characteristics are comparable, the strength to weight ratio is comparable, so all those boxes you can check.
"But for me, when I paddle out and ride the waves with this natural fibre under my feet, I just feel a bit special and a bit more connected back to the natural world."
Mr Price was once the 17th ranked surfer in the world, but now helps push New Zealand wool from his office near San Diego.
He said the tensile strength of wool made it ideal for his craft.