Couple on roll with sustainable ideas

23:38, Mar 09 2014
Wills Rowe and Indigo Greenlaw
Sustainable option: Wills Rowe and Indigo Greenlaw are making a range of longboards made from old wine barrels.

A young Marlborough couple have come up with a novel way to make use of old wine barrels - they're making them into longboards.

Indigo Greenlaw, 22, said she came up with the idea to make the boards about three months ago and they were now on a roll.

The idea to start a company based on graphic design and apparel began three years ago, these boards were just one of their many ideas, Ms Greenlaw said.

"Heaps of ideas came with this big dream and [it] was a hobby for three years and then I had a chat with Wills and he was really passionate about the craft and wanted to get involved."

Ms Greenlaw went to high school in Picton before doing a stint overseas. Wills Rowe, 27, is her boyfriend and business partner. The pair officially registered their company, The Paper Rain Project, last year, when they moved to Picton from Wellington. Mr Rowe is originally from Blenheim.

Mr Rowe makes the longboards from two barrel staves connected together.


"If someone is buying a board and it's a wine barrel there is a whole story behind it," Ms Greenlaw said.

They have made two successful prototypes so far. They were ready for the fun part now, the test run, she said.

They used just two barrels for their trial boards, which were gifted to them by Seresin Estate. "We love getting our barrels from Seresin because we love their wine and they've got a very similar ethos to us, very organic.

"With the barrel boards, they are both beautiful and natural in themselves. It is everything we stand for."

ather than the plastic grip on the conventional skateboards, they use a spray-on grip tape made from recycled Marlborough wine bottles and eco-resins, Ms Greenlaw said.

They wanted their longboards to be "as green as possible" so were looking for eco-friendly varnishes to finish their boards, she said.

They sell the boards without the trucks and wheels to uphold their aim of being as sustainable as possible, she said.

They began making longboards from old wooden waterskis before moving on to barrels. "That is where it all started. It's just been growing and growing since then."

As part of their business, they also recycle old skateboards into pieces of art. To date, they have produced over 40 one off designs and are embarking on their first collaboration. They were working with an artist in France and hope to use his designs in the future.

"We want to be a platform for artists all over the world."

Another project the couple were working on was a T-shirt art competition, The Blanks Project. This year was the second time they had run the competition, and this time around it attracted entries from 80 entries. They had 41 finalist designs from 31 artists in 11 countries.

From that they chose five winners from four countries - the winners will get their design printed on 100 per cent fair trade and organic T-shirts.

Each design would be printed on 500 T-shirts.

The couple's next project would be to design and create board bags made from recycled Marlborough sails and upcycled hoses from Christchurch fire stations.

They would showcase their wine barrel longboards at a launch party at Blenheim's Ritual Cafe next month.



The Marlborough Express