Cali company uses flax fiber to make ukuleles, fishing rods

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In San Francisco, entrepreneur Joe Luttwak has developed a carbon fiber substitute for goods like chairs and guitars that helps prevent deforestation of old-growth trees such as spruce.

Luttwak tells Fast Company the material—dubbed Ekoa—is made from flax linen fiber and plant-based resin. Ekoa is moldable, lighter, and more sustainable than carbon fiber. He first used the material to produce a small ukulele, but Luttwak has since expanded it into chairs, fishing rods, and canoe paddles. Skateboards will be the next prototype, and eventually the material could be used in automobiles and bicycles, Luttwak adds.

“It seems like an opportunity worth pursuing,” Luttwak says. “We’re pursuing big customers and large material flows to really make an impact.”