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For the love of bees

wax stinger surf web.jpg

With a love of beekeeping and surfing, BYU-Hawaii seniors Andrew Monahan and Lewis Wearne are pursuing their dream of creating a eco-friendly business with a product called Stinger Surf Wax. The surf wax is made from all natural beeswax, organic coconut oil and wrapped with recycled paper, and made into the iconic shape of a hexagon, to represent the honeycomb.Both Monahan and Wearne have entered the annual BYUH Empower Your Dreams competition. On their Kickstarter page, they tell about their surf wax and their plan to build beehives. On the page, there are links to videos, which explain the current problem of dying bees. “A lot of people don’t know right now there is a problem in the world where there is a decolonization of beehives, and they are disappearing and dying,” said Monahan, a business supply chain major originally from Pennsylvania. They also hope to build hives to counteract the problem. “On a world scale, I don’t see it making a huge difference immediately. It’s small steps and they count. The worst thing you could do is nothing,” Monahan added.“Honey bees, wild and domestic, perform about 80 percent of pollination worldwide. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops are pollinated by bees,” according to Greenpeace, USA. “We need bees to survive,” said Karsten Griffin, a senior studying biomedical science from California and Monahan’s housemate at friend. “One way to maintain their population is to cultivate new hives, which is the social entrepreneurship side of the project.” Wearne and Monahan said they were inspired to create the surf wax when Monahan, a self-proclaimed honey addict, brought some beeswax back from volunteering from the beehives behind the school. Using leftover wax that his boss Les Harper gave him, he experimented making candles, until Griffin suggested creating surf wax. “Honestly, it just sounded like a good idea – surf wax made on the North Shore made from North Shore bees for North Shore surfers,” said Griffin.Wearne, a business finance major from Arizona with a passion for surfing, got together with Monahan and created the surf wax. After trial and error, Wearne said, “Now we’re getting it down.” The two encourage people to participate in their Kickstarter so they can create organic, quality wax and build beehives.The duo has spread the word on social media such as Instagram and Twitter (@stingersurf) and have gotten responses from all over the world. “We already have people up on Instagram and social media who want to buy it,” said Monahan with a smile. He added, “Some people are finding us and offering their services.” “We’ve sold to a couple friends here without even trying, but we got our first large distributor in England, and they’re going to buy 50 bars a month,” said Monahan. “If you count Kickstarter, we’ve sold over $5,000 worth of stuff,” said Monahan. “It’s kind of cool because we started it with five bars, just trying them out for ourselves, not really planning on making them until after our Kickstarter...Now we can’t start making them fast enough,” said Wearne with a grin.The friends hope this project is only the beginning of their journey. “I feel like a lot of people enter into the competition for the money aspect just to get some free money,” said Wearne. “We really want to start a business and regardless of if we win, we’re still going to pursue Stinger Surf and try to start a business.”The two hope to expand their business into an innovative surf brand with other products for snowboarding and skating, and a natural clothing line. But before that, they have to do well and finish school. “Even if they just back a dollar, we will give them a shout out in a video on the Point, and then we’ll jump off the Point,” said Monahan. “If we get 1,000 backers with one dollar, we plan to do this wearing bee suits, and if we get 3,000 total backers, we’re going to make ourselves a human catapult and we’re going to launch ourselves wearing bee costumes.”Wearne added, “Stay tuned.”Uploaded March 12, 2015
Writer: Rachel Reed