Maui Prep students learn about surfboard shaping with Bob ‘Ole’ Olson & Mark Anderson
NAPILI – This year at Maui Preparatory Academy, the entire academic day on Wednesday has been set aside from traditional classes for students to pursue topics and issues related to their personal interests and passions.
Through expert-led experiences, internships and independent projects, students have the opportunity to take ownership of their own education and make an impact on their school and their community.
Early in the year, teachers are offering a variety of options centered around the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Soon, Maui Prep will transition to student-organized and driven projects, internships and expert-led experiences.
On a recent Wednesday, 12 high school students who chose the Sustainable Surf option for their Impact Wednesday experience visited Bob “Ole” Olson’s surfboard shaping facility in the Lahaina Industrial Area.
Rob Lloyd, Middle and High School science teacher, explained, “The students are learning about surfboard materials and construction, including shaping their own surfboards and repairing old ones.
“The goal is to look into use of sustainable practices and materials in the surf industry to prevent unnecessary waste as older surfboards enter the waste stream,” he continued.
“Students with the ability and knowledge to shape and repair their own boards won’t be reliant on equipment which short lifespan and petro-based materials might not live up to their personal love of the ocean.”
At the shaping bay, Ole and fellow West Maui shaper Mark Anderson were making a longboard for a client in Japan.
They answered questions about shaping technique and strategies as they showed firsthand how a master craftsman/artist works.
Students were especially curious about using the power planer, because later that afternoon they would be shaping their own surfboard blanks.
Other Impact Wednesday trips students have taken include spending time in Honokowai Valley with Edwin “Ekolu” Lindsey of Maui Cultural Lands, learning about water rights issues while helping with invasive plant removal; learning about the intersection of media, technology and culture; creating visual and performance art for a national ocean awareness competition sponsored by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs; and preparing to host the upcoming Global Issues Network conference – an entirely student-run conference hosted on the Valley Isle for the first time by Maui Prep.