Comments? Feedback? My first surfboard: beginner's presentation

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Anonymous (not verified)

Hello all, I made my first board not too long ago and it turned out to be a lot of fun. I was making it for an independent study class in school. For the class we have to create a presentation and teach the class what we've learned for the past 4,5,9 weeks or so. This is my presentation on my surfboard. I thought maybe some of the first-time builders could benefit from reading it because I wrote it as I was building my board, and it's from someone who has their perspective on things. I know I didn't do everything absolutely right; I didn't have an electric planer at the time so I had to use a hand plane and an orbital sander, I didn't shape the rails the right way, I didn't glass with perfection; but I hope first-time shapers can look past that and maybe even learn something from this novice. I put a lot of work into this and my class seemed to enjoy it, so I hope you do, too! (~2.5 MB) http://plaza.ufl.edu/hipwors/surf/Surfboard_Presentation.doc

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PlusOneShaper (not verified)

I've been making boards for almost 30 years. I must say I am very impressed!!! I wished I documented my first few boards. There were no really good references back then; the 70's factories in my area were pretty hostile to a "grom" with questions. Although I'm a third generation board builder, I also struck out on my own and it made the whole figuring experience all the more sweeter; you brought back a lot of the memories, highs and lows and the ultimate stoke of going out and riding what you made. Very well done. I have to ask: what are you going to make for your second board?

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Laconic1 (not verified)

Outstanding, Sean!

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DL Beauvais (not verified)

Bro I am an old time Rincon hand and long time So.Ore resident. Geting back in the water at CC yet again. I had my last life guard cert.when I was 48 and now have to live long enough to teach my grandson to surf. I have been a boat builder and have owned and and repaired a number of surfboards in my green time. May I offer a few sugestions? You have to evaulate the merits of glassed on fins vs boxes. Search Andyboards I am a long time friend of the Merrick Familly and admit to my preference for the Channel Islands double concave hull shape. I learned to surf on the old style Yater spoon type board and the differences are subtle but real. In this part of the world you need to have a more or less 8'gun for when the juice is flowing and a 9'spoon when it's mushing. You also need an industrial wetsuit. You can contact me @ [email protected]

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Anonymous's picture
doc (not verified)

ok, a few things...as I used to tutor EN101 at one time..... Not to be a schmuck breaking your cookies about it, just pointing out some of the stuff your instructors are likely to call you on. Change a few things and your grade will go up. In general, when you're telling a story about something, and that's what all writing is, you want to have a clear structure to it, have the story progress along with as few bumps, jumps and surprises as you can. That way, any surprises you _intend_ to put in really show up the way you want them to. It's never a bad idea to have somebody else proofread your paper. Best if it's somebody who knows absolutely nothing about the subject. And if they ask questions about the subject you're covering or 'what does that mean?' then that's someplace in your paper that needs to be improved. When you're doing a report, especially for school, credit all citations and quotes and credit or caption all photographs you didn't take yourself in a page or set of footnotes at the end of the paper. Also good for things you want to expand on without distracting from the main text. And if you don't, some instructors in college will give you an automatic 'F', which is enough of a reason all by itself. A few things you want to catch and change It's not styrofoam, it's polyurethane foam in a Clark blank. You want to do something about how you use that word 'styrofoam', especially as you go into it some where you explain epoxy resins vs polyester resins. If someone was following your directions, could they understand clearly? You use the term 'styrofoam' all over the place, which you shouldn't. Page 2 - make it 'quest to design _and_ build' Page 4 it's not Hawaiin - correct your spell checker. page 20 - 'tail shape' is followed by 'a wide tale' - your spell checker passed both as fine, but your instructor won't. You can't trust either one not to give ya troublem, so go over it carefully. pg 24 - consider how you word it with 'foam blank gripping the blank'. Not real clear, is it? Distinguish between the blank, the foam and the board throughout the paper - the terms are kinda interspersed willy-nilly such that I read of the wave in contact with the foam, a 1/8" crust all around the board, stuff like that, which is confusing. 'let the resin cure to hardness' is kinda awkward, isn't it? How about 'let the resin harden' instead? The simpler the term, the better, as long as it's clear to the reader. You don't 'feel acetone seep (sic - add 'ing') into your bloodstream. Nor will it draw toxins into your body. It's cold because it evaporates at a low temperature, like alcohol or gasoline. It can be toxic to your liver, but get the facts straight on that. Check out the Material Safety Data Sheets on acetone, polyester resin and such. Available online, it's an easy search 'percent-composition' ( pg 30) is an awfully awkward term. What's wrong with 'concentration'? Besides which, you added 10 ccs of 'resin' to your resin? What did that accomplish? And - 'the laminate' should be the 'laminating coat', no? Which term should also replace 'the glassing coat', right? Be consistent in your use of jargon and specific treminology, or you're gonna confuse your reader. 'to make the board cure' - shouldn't that be resin curing? 'taking the hole saw off the chuck' - isn't that removing the hole saw from the electric drill? Use the simplest, reader-friendly terms you can. When explaining the way you set the screw positions in the FCS plugs, wouldn't it be a good idea to explain which plugs to put where before that? Using the sander to 'sand the plug down to the surface', not 'work down' The one is what you did, the other would be using the sander to push it in. 'a couple _of_ square inches of fiberglass' is better English than 'a couple square inches'. Page 36- the first sentence of the third paragraph is kinda redundant, isn't it? Nor are the fins 'straight away'. If you do _use_ a disc sander, not 'used'. Use an orbital sander _as_ you did before. Page 37 - in the order of which book was it that you didn't follow exactly? Wouldn't that be a great place to put a footnote about which book it was? And, a safety note regarding page 40 - using an electrical sander while wet sanding....not a great idea. Other safety notes might include 'use resin outdoors or use an appropriate respirator' and stuff like that. Ok, again, I'm not trying to break your chops with this, just trying to get you a better grade. Hope that's of use doc....................

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Anonymous's picture
Sean (not verified)

Doc - all very good suggestions, thank you very much. PlusOneShaper - I'm thinking about making a fish shape for my next board, for those mushy Florida summers.

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Damon Pieri (not verified)

Sean, I am a special education english teacher and if one of my kids gave me a presentation like this I would give him an A+...for the year. It's nice to see a student excited about something. So many kids are apathetic half-wits expecting the world be delivered to them for some unknown, self-determined reason of ownership. Keep working hard- the people that matter will notice. No child left behind... Damon

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KeithM (not verified)

You're a SPECIAL ED teacher calling kids "half wits"??? I have a son with a disability and I'm very offended by that. I know you were trying to be nice to this particular youth, but watch how you do it, please.

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damon pieri (not verified)

Keith, You're right- an improper use of words. I do not teach learning disabled (LD) kids, I teach emotionally disturbed (ED) kids. We are a last chance public school that receives kids from both Baltimore County and Baltimore City who, to tell the truth, are probably misdiagnosed as ED so the schools can pass these kids along. Was being too comfortable with my language but we joke with the kids all the time- trench mentality. Just different perspectives that we're coming from. Anyway, I don't feel too bad, I love them and would have quit a long ago if I didn't. Damon

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Anonymous's picture
Sean (not verified)

I'm special ed, too. Gifted is special ed in Orange County at least.

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John Mellor (not verified)

Sean - Great job! If you follow up on Doc's suggestions, you're sure to get an "A"

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Anonymous's picture
doc (not verified)

well, back in my day we were most definitely not called 'gifted', more like 'little wiseasses' who got sent off to a room someplace in the bowels of the school system that pretty much featured an encyclopedia and that was about it beyond unlimited access to the school library. Which wasn't exactly a defined, structured educational program ..... but it did make me bloody unbeatable at trivial pursuit. few things on technical writing, which is the formal term for writing about technical stuff or a process or a report of some kind - amazing, huh? It applies to all writing, fiction and nonfiction, school and the rest of the world. It's like writing software - first thing you do is sit down and outline it, piece by piece rather than sitting down and just going at it. I notice that you wrote it in MS Word, which has a very nice outline feature, you can do your outline and then expand it easily. The good thing about this is it keeps it from getting disjointed and quirky, or at least it helps. 'Outline"?? Yeah. Sit down and write out a list of what you'd do to make ___ or build ___ in order. Or how a story goes, or a joke, or how to make a loaf of bread or a batch of acetylsalycitic acid, y'know? Then, when that's organized, that's your outline. Flesh it out, that's your paper. Then it'll flow along nicely. Know who you're selling the piece to and tailor everything to that. Doing a piece for engineers? Very different than what you do for the guy in the street who has less technical knowledge, less technical interest and all so that your content and style have to be different. Lab reports are different than recipes. Sometimes they even give you a format to follow, especially if it's something like writing grant applications ( or scholarship applications) . Use it. Especially if, like grant applications, you're getting money for it. 'Insert Famous Author Here' or Ambrose can get away with stylistic, iconoclastic, experimental, out-of-the-mainstream stuff...neato, but you can't, nor can I. I write very differently here than I do in some other places or venues.I can and do get away with a whole lot of colloquialisms, a conversational style and the like here, but I wouldn't even think about it on, say, a grant writing project with thousands of bucks involved. Editing and polishing a piece - Tolstoy said 'a work of art is never finished, only abandoned'. It's true. And it's tough, editing your masterpiece and throwing out stuff you thought was wonderful. But that's the difference between mediocre and getting bumped up to the next level. Kinda like the difference between a garage hack job of a board and, oh, one of Paul Jensen's Stradivarius items or something at that level. You go from first draft to second draft to third....and eventually you get to the last draft before you send it in. But if you ever think you have a perfect, finished piece, well, think again, you just have the best you could do in the time you had to do it. Or else you're setting your standards too low. If you're in high school, try to work to _at_ _least_ college standards, though some of the papers I had to read while I was working for the college were, frankly, pathetic. In college? Shoot for professional level. Judge your work harshly and edit and change heartlessly. Read what the pros write and compare your work to theirs. Well, any pro writing except surfing magazines, which is embarassingly bad work on the whole, ding-dong school level. Read a lot. Do ya scope out the waves before paddling out? Watch what the other guys are doing with those waves? Same thing. You can pick up ideas, moves ( vocabulary - most of us use no more than a couple of thousand words. William F. Buckley uses something around 20,000. It's an ongoing thing. ) and style when you see what the others are doing. Small ego boost moment - if you didn't have some potential as a tech writer, Sean, I wouldn't be on yer case like this. And it could be worse...friend of mine _is_ an english instructor at a Florida university, and her significant other is a boardmaker. And she'd be on ya for both composition and content. Small ego boost #2 - we kinda bounced around the idea of a glossary of surfboard construction terms last week - yours ain't bad. okay, now ( sound of a whip cracking ) get back to that keyboard and work on that sucker.

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Anonymous's picture
Sean (not verified)

I already turned this in and presented the board. Our instructor cares less for the quality of the presentation than if you did your own writing and finished on time (we set our own due dates for projects) so I had to be entirely self-motivated. I probably won't have time to edit this draft for a while because I'm already on to another project! Right now I'm building a hydroponics garden (growing tomatoes) and am doing technical writing for that (I could post that, too, when I'm done, if anyone's interested in hydroponics gardening - for tomatoes or...other). After that I will learn how to string a lacrosse head. Most people in the class do such boring projects, like applying for financial aid, reading that one book they've never gotten around to, basics of drawing, etc. I can't stand it! I feel like I have to do something enthralling, and so far it's paid off with the board. The only challenge is to choose a topic that motivates me, as the instructor provides little input except to make sure we're actually doing something. Doc, I think you had a great point earlier about having someone with no prior background proof-read the document to see if it makes sense; I'll be doing that from now on. Also, I didn't choose the right words describing how I wrote it. I did do a basic outline. I made all of the sections in the table of contents and filled them in as I built the board. Obviously this isn't the best way to do it, but hey, I still got the A. [smile] I wish you were a guest speaker for our class Doc, you seem to know your shit in regards to making formal presentations!

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Anonymous's picture
doc (not verified)

heeee... I like root canals better than I like making presentations in front of groups. Shuddering when I think of it - I also had a gig doing tech writing and training for a project management software outfit a surf bud owned which fortunately went belly up ( thank you, Microsoft Project, no more &%$# pre-&^%$$-sentations, I hated 'em) before I got too white collar. Still futz around with the idea of doing a little software training - it's money for old rope. In terms of doing projects - blow them away with a Gantt chart (http://www.me.umn.edu/courses/me4054/assignments/gantt.html) or PERT chart or the like and schedule in _slack_, that is, time for when things go wrong. It's actually a term used in manufacturing engineering, not just generation x descriptions. I used to get good lab marks for being straight up about when things went wrong and why. As Greg Loehr recently wrote"True inspiration and knowledge come from from failure, not success". If you understand what went wrong and _why_ it went wrong, you understand the situation better than somebody just doing cookbook repetition. funny you mention hydroponics and tomatoes, 'cos up here in the frozen north I'm just getting stuff together for the garden. Dusting off the gardening stuff and all and waiting for the ground to be soft enough that a shovel doesn't bend. Thesauruses ( thesauri??) are a useful thing. If you use the same term every time it gets boring. Though don't stray too far. anyhow...have fun. and don't get caught growing anything but tomatoes in there. doc..........

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