Dude creates surfing gear out of cyanobacteria, eyes shoe market


In California, surfer-turned-entrepreneur Rob Falken is looking to make shoes from harmful algae called cyanobacteria.

Falken’s company, Bloom, uses a mobile harvester to gather the algae biomass, which is then dried, pulverized, and pelleted. The pellets are then made into foam.

“We can dry anything with 40-plus percent protein content because that protein makes the plastic,” Falken tells Techly. “We really focus on the plastic side. Plastic is a chain of amino acids, which is the definition of a protein. We have a perfect solution that requires no arable land, no pesticides to grow, and a never-ending feedstock. We’re for profit, but we’re trying to make better solutions that put the planet first.”

Cyanobacteria, which depletes water oxygen levels, have proliferated because of climate change and water contamination.

Traction pads, which surfers use to help grip and control their surfboards, are currently the only product currently for sale using Bloom’s foams. However, Falken aims to produce enough foam for 2 million pairs of shoes by early next year.