March 27, 2014

On Tuesday, we held a special spring break boardbuilding workshop for nine great local high school students. The event was made possible by Rob Eggers, a teacher at KWHS, who organized the students, spoke with parents, and even helped a few of the students out to the shop with rides. So before I go any further, a big thanks to Rob for all of the help!

The day started around 1:30pm when students were given an introduction to the COAST space, an overview of the building process and were introduced to the four board shapes that they could choose from — ranging from a small cruising board to a classic longboard. From there, we let the cutting, routering and sanding begin. And to be honest, at that point, I didn’t know what to expect — especially considering most of the kids had never handled the tools we were using…

As it turns out, Nolan O’Connor — our journeyman board builder and shaper at COAST who guided students throughout the whole workshop — and I were seriously impressed, both with the skill, but also the patience and focus that every single student displayed throughout the shaping process. And beyond that, when we got to points in the process that I would consider boring or tedious, I took a look around to see students helping each other out, laughing, and really getting into fine-tuning their shapes.

From there — with freshly cut, sanded and hand shaped blanks in hand — students began the more creative process of designing and painting the board to meet their tastes and styles. And again, it was a pleasant surprise. From basic, geometric designs using hard lines and bold colors to more abstract styles with paint splatter and even a perfectly painted island landscape — everyone really made an tremendous effort to make their boards different, special, and inline with their own stye.

With paint drying and the sun starting its descent, the kids had the chance to just hang out and chat and at this point in time, I figured they would be ready to scram — better things to do on spring break than to hangout at a workshop with people twice your age. But again, to my surprise, they were perfectly cool with hanging out and some even invited other friends over to help, so I took the opportunity to photograph each of them with their boards and to ask them each a few questions.

Here is what they had to say…

Colin Lutz, 14

​What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
Living by the water.

What does Key West need more of for high school kids?
Hangout spots.

What do you want to be in 10 years?
Nuclear engineer.

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Ashley Linney, 14

What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
Being able to walk downtown.

What does Key West need more of for high school kids?
Big events targeted towards kids.

What do you want to be in 10 years?
A high school science teacher.

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Therin Smith, 15

What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
The weather.

What does Key West need more of for high school kids?
A bigger music scene.

What do you want to be in 10 years?
A programmer for a gaming company.

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Naomi Newton, 16

What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
The climate.

What does Key West need more of for high school kids?
Something like an ice skating rink so kids can hang out there.

What do you want to be in 10 years?
A professional singer or an adventurer.

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Sergio Gonzalez, 14

What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
Being surrounded by water—and the sunsets.

What does Key West need more of for high school kids?
More activities for kids.

What do you want to be in 10 years?
Mechanical engineer or a musician.

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Taylor Nasser, 14

What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
How close everything is.

What does Key West need more of for high school kids?
More slack.

What do you want to be in 10 years?
A vet.

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Liam McGee, 15

What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
Everything is in walking distance.

What does Key West need more of for high school kids?
Recreational places.

What do you want to be in 10 years?
Navy Seal.

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Bryce Huber, 14

What is your favorite part of growing up in Key West?
I’m just visiting but I love the weather.

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