We had the good fortune of connecting with Abby Ahlgrim and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Abby, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I am a Central Coast surfer and artist with a propensity towards sustainability. During the start of covid I spent most of my days in the ocean and hanging around a local surfboard making shop. While excited by the creative process and vibrant colors of crafting boards, I was shocked by the wasteful reality of the surfboard making industry – juxtaposed by the water-loving-earth-conscious people that is the surfing community. Artistically inspired by the layers of colorful resin that accumulates as a wasted byproduct through the process of making surfboards – and driven to critically participate in innovating solution based impact – thus began the Surf Gems journey.

Sustainable Wearable Art – hand-crafted Jewelry made with love in Morro Bay, CA.

From trash to treasure – my intentions are to empower an expression of true colors while serving as a statement of sustainability to the surf community and beyond ~ our actions matter and waste can be repurposed into art ~

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Surf Gems are hand-crafted with love from upcycled surfboard glassing waste – the resin that accumulates as a by-product from making surfboards.

Surfboards are shaped out of foam, glassed with fiberglass and colorful resin. The resin is pigmented with different colors and then poured across the board, where it drips off the sides and collects on the floor to harden. Every few months the board shop is cleaned, and the floor is ripped up and thrown away. I rescue that resin, cut cross sections into it, grind it down, sand it up, and polish – turning the industry’s trash into treasure!

Surf Gems has been the perfect intersectional exploration of art and impact. I’ve always thought that art is meant to make you think – and the Gems do just that – providing countless moments of engaged curiosity, aesthetic admiration, and eco-focused awe. Not only are the colors and patterns uniquely tantalizing upon first glance but it is nearly impossible to trace their origins of the raw material and folks always walk away with a newfound understanding of something they would have otherwise never learned about. I truly love the WOW factor!
Making Gems is one of many passions and creative outlets for me – I love to paint, crochet, felt, write, draw, sing, and cook (my side hustle is private cheffing). Taking time to strategize and proceed with intention and a continued commitment to myself and this business has kept me grounded and focused.

I spent a moment recently, standing in my studio surrounded by a big beautiful inventory, dream equipment, infrastructures of organization, and so many branded bits and pieces – and I reflected on how my dedication to the creative process, an attitude of curiosity, and a willingness to ask for help has brought me to place of such pride and joy in doing what I do!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Surf the Rock in Morro Bay, eat brunch at the Hidden Kitchen in Cayucos, and enjoy an afternoon hike!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I truly could not have arrived at where I am in this business without guidance, encouragement, and assistance from my community of both ocean lovers & land lubbers, of dear friends and family, of the boys at Richmond Fiberglass Boardshop, and all of the mentors and movers and shakers who inspire me to DO and BE the best I can. I recognize how clearly my community uplifts and supports one another and am constantly inspired to continue creating concentric rings of impact in my community and beyond.

Website: surfgems.com

Instagram: @surf_gems

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Surf-Gems-103830058805803/

Image Credits
Nate Ross

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.