• Nathan James Crane

Hayes' New Wave of Product Design

Surfing is in local industrial designer Alex Hayes’ blood. Growing up catching waves on the Yorke Peninsula led to the design of Hayes’ zero-waste surfing product, WaxComb.

Having recently completed a Graduate Diploma of Industrial Design at the University of South Australia, WaxComb isn’t the first time Hayes has dipped his toes into entrepreneurial waters, as he runs the clothing label Salty Reign out of his loungeroom. The enthusiastic designer credits his travels as inspiration to create the sustainable WaxComb, which is a surfing tool used for the maintenance of surfboard wax.

Hayes decided to do his bit to “save some plastic from the waste system” after he saw the amount of plastic bottle cap waste while on a trip to Sumatra, Indonesia.

“My ambition is to bring value to small and inexpensive products in the surf industry by saving the material from the waste and repurposing it and giving it a new life."

To make the zero-waste WaxComb, Hayes rescues bottle caps from landfill and moulds each and every item in his garage by hand. He also does the printing, cutting, assembling and packaging.

Hayes spent much of the final six months of last year prototyping and developing the process of reforming the recycled bottle caps to allow him to produce each wax comb in a cost-effective period. After the product was optimised, Hayes spent another month honing the brand aesthetic and innovative dissolvable packaging to sell to the market.

Above: Hayes at work

Hayes has big plans for the future with a goal to expand internationally and to help fund ocean waste management organisations with the proceeds.

Hayes’ WaxComb was recently selected to be showcased in the 2018 Unmaking Waste Conference and Exhibition held in Adelaide late last year, a coup for the young designer who is looking forward to being able to expand his reach in 2019.


** This article was originally published in the November edition of The Adelaide Review.

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