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Ike goes boarding

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Gone Boarding students and instructor show off their boards before they shred during the Homecoming parade.

Gone Boarding students and instructor show off their boards before they shred during the Homecoming parade.

Ryan deCardenas

Ryan deCardenas

Gone Boarding students and instructor show off their boards before they shred during the Homecoming parade.

Jonathan Malski, Staff Writer

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It’s the CTE woodshop class’ motto as they take on a big adventure: Gone Boarding.

“In a normal woodshop class, you make tables, shelves and stuff like that; but in here, you can build a skateboard, a longboard—and then you can actually take out what you made and use it in your daily lives, if you want to. I think that’s pretty cool,” junior Steven Pancotto said.

The 31 member class creates different boards, including snowboards, stand-up paddle boards, penny boards, wakesurf boards and more. Woodshop instructor Ryan deCardenas first learned about Gone Boarding back in February 2017 from Forest Hills Public School District in Grand Rapids and adapted it for Eisenhower.

“The fun part for me, as an instructor, is to watch the eyeballs of everybody go, ‘How am I going to make that (board) out of that (styrofoam/wood)’ and then to see the creation start to come alive. And they say, ‘Oh yeah, I see it now,’” deCardenas said.

Each board creation offers a different experience, changing with board type and personal preference. To make a stand up paddle board: measure and shave a block of styrofoam; insert rails; cut a fishtail out of the board; and apply fiberglass and epoxy to the board. In contrast, to make a skateboard, cut and glue three to four pieces of plywood together, compress them to solidify the board, cut it to the design, sand down any excess material, and place the wheels and grip tape on the board.

“It’s really cool, because I didn’t know we’d be doing stuff like paddleboards and snowboards and such like that,” junior Carson Powers said. “And just to see how all those other types of things are made—it’s pretty interesting. You’d think it’s so much more complicated than it really is.”

Students who participate in board construction gain unique skills, techniques and experiences which prepare them for employment in multiple industries, according to deCardenas.

“There’s opportunities out there where you’re making these boards and you can go and sell them for a couple thousand dollars and it costs you 400 bucks to make one. Just to have those skills, it’s a pretty cool thing,” Pancotto said.

A few students saw those skills used professionally when they traveled to Burton Headquarters in Burlington, Vt. to view board creation and the steps it takes to design, build and market a product.

“I felt like I couldn’t bring it all back to Ike,” junior Mary Rembisz said, “but at the same time, there’s so much stuff that you absorb. It was just a great experience that I was able to bring back and be able to encourage people to do next time—because it is a once in a lifetime experience.”

Burton’s staff also showed unique aspects of the industry and factory, such as using 3D printers to test out different materials for different boards, according to Rembisz.

“We talked to their fashion group and engineers and it was really interesting how they talked about the differences they have to think about when they’re thinking about making helmets and stuff,” Rembisz said. “And they said they have to change colors and stuff because in Europe they’re more brightly colored, where in the U.S. we wear more blacks and more bold, basic colors.”

With the resources and knowledge woodshop students learned, members of the Gone Boarding class are participating in an opportunity to produce and donate three paddle boards to the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping young adults with cancer support and connect with each other. The boards, started about halfway through the year, will be finished and donated next school year.

“It makes me feel pretty good. It’s a great foundation for our boards to go to,” junior Grant Fowler said.

The Gone Boarding program provides students with knowledge and opportunities not available in other classes, according to deCardenas. Plus, it gives them a self-made board to take home and use in the end.

“You can ride it,” senior Aspen Starr said, “but to actually know how it’s built and how it works, it’s so much more amazing to see and so much fun to do.”

#dreamitbuilditshredit

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