Here’s one you don’t see everyday. Mercedes-Benz is working in collaboration with Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara to build the two new surfboards he plans to use on the high waves off the Portuguese coast.
Mercedes and McNamara have worked together before. In 2013, the pair worked on the MBoard 1.0 project, which resulted in four surfboards tailored to McNamara’s height and weight. Built in Portugal, they were particularly suited to riding the giant waves off Portugal’s Nazaré coast. This time around, the plan is to build two new boards, one of Portuguese cork, and the other constructed from a foam used in the aviation industry. Corticeira Amorim, the world’s largest cork producer, is consulting with Portugal’s Polen Surfboards in the build of MBoard 2.0. According to McNamara: “As Portugal is the world's biggest producer of cork, it makes sense to use that material to produce high-performance surfboards. For surfing high waves, we need a flexible board that is also tough enough not to break.”
MBoard 3.0 is being constructed from aviation-grade foam and is unique in that it will be built without the customary stringers that provide longitudinal reinforcement. McNamara says that he expects this board, “to offer maximum flexibility with no loss of strength, allowing it to withstand the high waves in the northern bay of Nazaré.” He should know. McNamara currently holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the highest wave ever surfed, which he rode on one of the Boards developed in 2013. On-board telemetry provided by Mercedes showed McNamara achieved a top speed of 62.4 km/h (38.8 mph) on his record run. — CAS