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Mercedes-Benz and Garrett McNamara announce the development of a cork surfboard


An initiative made possible with the partnership with Corticeira Amorim

Mercedes-Benz Portugal, in partnership with Corticeira Amorim, announced the development of a new surfboard made entirely out of Portuguese cork intended for the Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara to tackle the giant waves of Nazaré, one of the most popular seaside resorts in Portugal. This 100 percent Portuguese project will be supported by Polen Surfboards, a Portugal-based company that will build this new surfboard.

The Mercedes-Benz MBoard project was launched in 2013 and culminated in the production of a series of three new boards aptly titled "The Silver Arrow of the Seas". Conceived by the creative agency BBDO Portugal, that surfboard was developed in partnership with Nazaré Qualifica and the Daimler's design studio. MBoard was the result of a joint work from dozens of designers, researchers, aerodynamics and materials development experts and the professional surfer Garrett McNamara himself, all of whom gave their contribution to the production process of an ideal surfboard capable of enduring and riding the monster waves at Nazaré Canyon. The challenge is even greater this year: designing a surfboard using unprecedented materials in its production, which materials have proven their effectiveness, strength and durability in a variety of projects worldwide.

The production of a surfboard made entirely out of cork benefited from the support and expertise of Corticeira Amorim, the world's largest cork producer, which has a long track record of success in the research and development of innovative cork products, some of them developed within Amorim Cork Composites.

The selection of this sustainable product was clear to Garrett, who claims that "the virtues of cork such as its high durability and flexibility make cork surfboards sufficiently strong to withstand the impact of huge waves." Garrett McNamara said: "As Portugal is the world's largest producer of cork, it makes perfect sense to use this material to produce a high-performance board to ride the legendary waves off the coast of Nazaré. When you are surfing giant waves you need a flexible and impact resistant board that won't break. I believe that these surfboards will be the benchmark in terms of technology for those surfing giant waves and, therefore, it is an honour to be involved in such an innovative Mercedes-Benz MBoard project, which now has the additional support and know-how of Corticeira Amorim and the technology of Polen Surfboards."

Garrett McNamara is the current world-record holder for the largest wave ever surfed, having been awarded a Guinness World Record certificate. MacNamara has surfed the gigantic waves of Nazaré at 62.4 km/hour on a surfboard designed by Mercedes-Benz in 2013. This technological achievement was only possible to be measured thanks to the telemetry system developed by Mercedes-Benz in the context of the MBoard Project.

In the words of Carlos de Jesus, Corticeira Amorim's head of Marketing and Communications: "Corticeira Amorim is proud to be involved in this project, which is proof that Portugal can design and provide the world's most demanding organizations with innovative solutions in terms of quality and design". And he further notes that: 'The technical performance of natural cork and, in this specific case, of the Corecork range is undoubtedly an important value added to those who live at the absolute limits of a sport such as surfing. Cork also offers unbeatable green credentials and sustainable benefits, advantages which are even more relevant when one considers the community of sports enthusiasts it is intended for, which was pioneer in realizing the importance of these issues."

Álvaro Costa, founder of Polen Surfboards, said: "It is very important and rewarding for Polen Surfboards to be involved in this initiative by Mercedes-Benz, because it gives us the opportunity to do research and development in an area that we have been working on for over 25 years. Only in a project of this magnitude is it possible to do research and test certain materials, techniques and technologies."

"We are working together to research new approaches to surfboard manufacturing processes so we can design a board that is different from all previously manufactured. We are going to build two incredibly efficient surfboards specially designed to meet the most extreme and demanding surfing conditions. For Polen Surfboards, this is a historic moment that will become part of the history of surfing around the world, in addition to the peculiarity of being made in Portugal."

Jorge Aguiar, Chief Marketing Officer at Mercedes-Benz said: "In 2013, the first board (MBoard 1.0) specially designed for the giant waves of Nazaré was developed within the MBoard Project 1.0 using national technology and the support of the Design Center of the Daimler Group. Based on the actual test results obtained by Garrett while riding a MBoard 1.0 in the extremely challenging conditions of the Nazaré Canyon, in 2014 we'll be focused on re-innovating and developing two new boards (MBoard 2.0 and MBoard 3.0)."

"To this end, since we want this to be a nationwide project, but with a global-scale impact, this year we have teamed up with two Portuguese partners, i.e. Corticeira Amorim and Polen Surfboards, because we believe that we'll be probably making the best surfboards for tow in surfing the world."

"These two new boards boast unique characteristics. We have tried to find the perfect balance among a board's weight, flexibility and speed to enable Garrett to challenge again the formidable waves of the famous Nazaré Canyon. Something that we believe will happen soon."