The Art and Science of Surf

In The Art and Science of Surf you make your own surfboards, and then you take them out into the waves of one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

You start the semester with a class of eager learners and a stack of foam surfboard blanks. You finish your semester with a field trip to the beach where we bring the surfboards we create. You begin by designing boards using Shape-3D software, then shape your foam blanks by hand. Next, you paint artwork onto your board and finally, fiberglass the board and add leash plugs and fin boxes. As you create your board through the semester, your decisions are informed by design choices understood through studying science and theory in the classroom. You study the physics of waves and the fluid mechanics of a surfboard. You will meet with local shapers, study the history of surfboard design, and learn about sustainable practices in the field. This unique class fuses art and science together to produce a surfboard that you ride here in Hawai'i or wherever you may venture. No surfing experience of any kind is necessary to take this course. It is open to all who are willing to learn by doing.

Top Banner Photos


You use Shape-3D software to design an initial concept for your board. You study different components of the board such as the nose, the tail, the rails, the length, the width, and the thickness, and learn how these affect the performance of the board in the water. You experiment and explore when planning the board. You draw your board outlines on butcher paper to begin the transition into the shaping process.

You shape the EPS foam blanks using rasps, planes, and sandpaper. Then, divide the shaping process into three main sections: shaping the outline, shaping the foil, and shaping the rails. When shaping, you rely on both measurements and exactness as well as your observations of how the board looks and feels.


You make your board individualized and expressive when paint our designs onto them. We use a full pallet of acrylic paint as we decorate our boards to our own unique specifications.

You both strengthen and seal all of your work up to this point with fiberglass and resin. Once you apply the first coat, the board magically begins to look and feel like an actual surfboard. After you apply a second layer or "hot coat," the board is nearly ready to ride. You sand out imperfections, fine tune the fin boxes and leash plugs, and we are ready to go ride waves.