by Elizabeth Lang
Transforming hemp into the surfboard beneath your feet or the plane that takes you skyward:
That’s the mission of the Canadian company Hempearth, which has made Costa Rica a key player in its operations. Hemp is the non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, and is often used for industrial reasons because of its strength and versatility. Hempearth’s founder, Derek Kesek, a Canadian internet marketer, musician, chef and former organic restaurant owner, is working to create of the world’s first hemp airplane, its biofuel and a series of hemp surfboards.
While his company is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Kesek has also been working out of La Guácima, Alajuela, where the company has been producing hemp biofuel. He anticipates that within a month, Hempearth’s surfboards will be released in Costa Rica as well.
The Tico Times spoke with Kesek about his innovative project. Excerpts follow.
Can you tell me more about the hemp airplane?
About three years ago I started a company solely based on hemp. I contacted several plane manufacturing companies and asked them if this idea was possible. I sent them some hemp, did some testing and then I got a contract signed by one of the companies. The rest was history. Then I started getting help from some newspapers and so on. We’ve been on Kickstarter, but we’ll probably have to do it again. I was recently in Costa Rica for about eight months, producing the hemp biofuel for the plane. … I put my heart and soul into this project, just one day at a time.
Why did you choose to use hemp?
Because it’s eco, it’s green, it’s sustainable and we all want a better future. It’s lighter, it’s stronger and it’s becoming legalized all over the world.