UC San Diego is known for academics, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. A recent example: There’s now a class mixing science with the beach by teaching students and community members how to make a surfboard.
“Having one-on-one instruction for shaping their own surfboards is very exciting,” said Valerie Duprat, a scientist and shaper at the UCSD Craft Center. “You don’t even need to surf to come shape your own board. I have a student shaping for her daughter.”
Most surfboards are bought already shaped at a local surf shop, but the chance to make something unique is what is drawing students.
“I just learned to surf over the summer and thought it would be really interesting to learn the process of making a surfboard,” said Samantha Hanauer, a UCSD marine and molecular biology student working on a 5-foot-8-inch fish. “It’s something I didn't think I'd be doing, but here I am, and it’s pretty cool.”
Brian Szymanski, who is another instructor, said the goal is for each student to shape a board by the end of the quarter.
“This group has never touched a surfboard before,” Szymanski said. “That first board is always the best board you ever made. It ends up being on the wall when you're done with it.”
Szymanski said there are four to five different main phases of making the board, starting with a planed board, then cutting, shaping, crafting, squaring and curving it.
“Surfboard building is kind of freeform art,” said Szymanski.
Duprat agrees and encourages people interested to look into the program.
“It's an art that we are trying to share with the community,” Duprat said. “I think it’s the first one that opens up the classes to the whole community. It’s not only for students, it's for anybody who wants to sign up.”