It would not be a stretch to call Calder Stames and Kevin Gerraughty chairmen of the boards.
As part of the requirements for their senior class project at Duxbury High, the two student-athletes are each building a surfboard from scratch, which will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Marshfield.
“We want to spread the word of the love of surfing,’’ said Stames, one of four captains of the sailing team at the high school this spring. He was also a captain on the varsity soccer team last fall, where Gerraughty was a teammate.
“It can get expensive and we want to give boards to people who otherwise might not get a chance to experience the sport. People have no idea what it’s like until they do it.’’
The six-week project is a multilayered undertaking: Stames and Gerraughty are giving back to the community, they learn from their project experience, and they are graded on the sum of their achievements.
“In order for these students to be successful, they will have to use their communication and collaboration skills to fund-raise,” said Meghan Peterson, an English teacher at Duxbury High who is a co-advisor on the project with Diane Alongi.
“They also have to use their advanced mathematical skills they have obtained to create the design of the surfboard; their time-management skills to meet deadlines; and their presentation skills to show the impact of their project to the community.”
Duxbury does not have a Boys & Girls Club, so Stames and Gerraughty chose Marshfield because the facility is used by a number of communities in the area.
The vision of Stames and Gerraughty is that the surfboards, which will be a first for the club, will be used to learn the sport by as many members who wish.
“We’re extremely pleased to have been chosen as the recipient of the surfboards,” said Kathleen Newcomb, executive director of the club.
“We live in a beach town, but not everyone is able to afford a board and this will give kids an opportunity to try something new and exciting.
“Calder and Kevin are from Duxbury, but they put a lot of thought into helping those who need it most. It’s really a life lesson, what they’re doing, and we’re greatly appreciative.”
In the first few days of taking on the project, the 18-year-old surfing buddies e-mailed family members and raised $250, enough to build one surfboard from scratch or purchase two used boards.
Their mentor, Dan Hassett, the owner of the Levitate surf and skate shop in Marshfield, will evaluate their progress and, most significant, share his expertise as they build their boards. By the completion of the project on May 27, the two will have put in a combined 285 hours.
“I’m really impressed with how they have taken their passion for surfing, created a meaningful senior project out of it, and are using the surfboards they build to give young kids a chance to get into the lifestyle,” said the 28-year-old Hassett.
A surfboard is made from a piece of high-density foam called a blank that has a strip of balsa running lengthwise. Planers and sandpaper are used to create the shape of the surfboard. The shaped blank is then glassed, typically with polyester fiberglass. The blanks are scheduled to arrive by early next week.
In most cases, one or two layers of 6-ounce fiberglass cloth are applied. Each layer of cloth is sanded and then buffed. Between one and four fins are then fiberglassed to the bottom to help the board maneuver well in the water.
New boards range anywhere in price from $300 to $1,000 or more, depending on size, brand, and quality. A new wetsuit averages about $200, and Hassett plans to donate two new suits from his shop. In addition, the supplier of the blank boards, Greenlight, of Manasquan, N.J., will also donate three to four suits.
The most eye-opening aspect of the senior project, said Gerraughty, was how “people were willing to do a good deed, benefiting a good cause. It showed a good sense of community.”
The most difficult aspect, he said, will be building the boards.
“You want to make a really good board and, to do that, you need to use a lot of math because it has to be symmetrical,” he said.
The South Shore is popular with surfers, especially before and after hurricanes or other winds that kick up the sea and create waves sufficient for good rides. Rexhame Beach, in Marshfield, and Egypt Beach, in Scituate, are popular sites. Winter storms in New England typically are more frequent than those in the calmer summers, making for ideal conditions — except for the cold.
Hence the necessity of wetsuits.
Stames has been surfing since he was 8, when he gave it a try in Costa Rica. Two years ago he introduced the sport to Gerraughty, a veteran snowboarder who has since surfed in Hawaii, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Nantucket, as well as local hot spots.
“I love it,’’ Gerraughty said. “It’s like snowboarding with your buddies. It takes you away from things, and I love the water.’’
Stames will attend Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., while Gerraughty is headed to the University of Miami.
Their summer schedules are filled.
Stames will teach sailing at Duxbury Bay Maritime School while Gerraughty will work with endangered-species officers to protect the piping plovers on Duxbury Beach and coach at a soccer camp in New Hampshire.
They will not be together in college, but be assured that if the sea kicks up somewhere and they both hear the call, they will make waves again — in separate waters but joined in the fraternity of surfing.Dick Trust can be reached at email@example.com.