South Australian youngster starts eco-friendly surf wax company
12-year-old Noah Pronk has begun an eco-friendly surf wax company to combat chemicals and microplastics present in the ocean. (Supplied: Facebook/Sticky Pronk)
A young South Australian is tackling microplastics and chemicals in the ocean with an eco-friendly surf wax company that he designed for a school project.
- A year six student has begun an eco-friendly surf wax company
- 12-year-old Noah Pronk wants to combat chemicals and plastic in the ocean
- He started the company with $20 as a primary school project
“Sticky Pronk” began when 12-year-old St Leonards Primary School student Noah Pronk was assigned a school project to start a business with $20.
While searching for business ideas, the avid swimmer, West Beach Surf Lifesaving Club under 13s member, and of course, surfer, realised most surf wax brands have chemicals and plastics in their ingredient lists.
There was only one brand, based in Queensland, which he found to be environmentally friendly.
“So I thought I’d do something about it,” Noah said.
“I did some research into how to make it, to see how hard it was, then a recipe came up and I started experimenting.
“Surf waxes are toxic and it’s filled with chemicals, and it’s not good for the fish. They are swimming in the sea with the plastics in it, then we eat them, so we’re pretty much eating plastic, and I wanted to solve that — I didn’t want to be eating plastic.”
Noah’s recipe for eco-friendly business success is simple: a blend of locally-sourced Kangaroo Island beeswax and coconut oil, which he says works just as well as other surf wax products.
The young entrepreneur said while starting the business has been hard, “we’re getting there eventually, and it’s going well”.
A visit to the Sticky Pronk social media accounts shows a swell of praise for the youngster, who admits that the public response has been “amazing”.
“We’ve had a lot of surfers comment to say good luck, great work,” he said.
“None of them knew that other waxes had chemicals in them.”
Taking care of business
Noah’s proud mum Heather Pronk said her son was responsible for all aspects of the business.
She only helps out with his social media promotion — “he’s not old enough to have an account yet” — and deliveries.
Noah designed the labels and slogan – “Because surfing matters” – himself. (Supplied: Facebook/Sticky Pronk)
The school assignment began in September and is part of the Foundation for Young Australians’ “$20 Boss” initiative, in which students are challenged to conceptualise, start and run a business with just $20 over the course of a school term.
Ms Pronk said the program was normally aimed at students in Years 8 to 10, two years older than Noah, who was in year six at his Glenelg North primary school this year.
“I think it’s brilliant that he’s carried on doing it,” she said.
“It was just a school project, so they didn’t have to continue with it once the assignment was finished, but he’s really enjoyed it.
“Somebody shared one of his posts onto a surfing South Australia page and it just went crazy, so that was the week before Christmas, and it just sold out within minutes, and we’ve just had email after email requesting more.”
Ms Pronk estimates her son has created about 200 blocks of the wax — or “a lot”, as Noah emphasised — so far, and waves of orders for more keep rolling in.
“People are very understanding that he’s just 12 and it’s school holidays and he’s just doing as he can.
“Somebody said to him ‘oh you’ll have to get it mass produced and do this’ and Noah answered him and said ‘no, I just do it myself at home, and that’s it’.
“Noah is the only person who makes it, which is very good, so I just drive around to deliver it to the post office or deliver it, if it’s a local one. Other than that, he’s pretty much doing it all himself.”
And he has no plans to stop anytime soon: “I’m hoping to continue it if it keeps on going well.”
“Because surfing matters”, as his self-designed business logo says.