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Instructor Judd Snapp and a student lines up the bottom of a paddleboard to its frame. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


School of Art and Design students make stand-up paddleboards

July 3, 2017

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Twelve East Carolina University students have learned the art of making paddleboards during an intense summer class.

Following a successful canoe building course last summer, the School of Art and Design gave students the opportunity to make stand-up paddleboards this year.

The popularity of stand-up paddleboarding made it a good choice, said ECU instructor Judson Snapp, who has built several boards and is a former kayak guide on the Outer Banks.

Instructor Judd Snapp assists students with using bricks and clamps for weight during their paddleboard construction.

"It gives the students incentive to have their own when it's done," Snapp said.

Amber Delgado, a rising senior from Fayetteville who is majoring in art with a concentration in film and video production, took the course to fulfill a survey class requirement. "I feel a lot more comfortable working with power tools now, so that's good," she said, while sanding the bottom of her board. "It is a lot of work though. It's like a P.E. and a woodshop class (combined)."

Delgado had never been paddleboarding before taking the class. "I'll definitely use it after putting in all this work," she said.

ECU junior Nick Leach of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, has been woodworking since high school. He said growing up in Minnesota, which has more than 10,000 lakes and borders Lake Superior, means being around water. Leach also had an interest in the class as an ECU Campus Recreation Adventure employee.

ECU student Nick Leach applies fiberglass to the bottom of his paddleboard. 

"I've gotten to expand my knowledge," said Leach, who has framed houses and made cabinets, furniture, cutting boards and trinket boxes. "We're making everything from the paddle to the fins."

Michael Jordan, a rising junior who is studying photography and film and video production, also grew up near the water in Oriental. "I've always wanted a paddleboard," he said. "I want to use mine for fishing."

The cypress and plywood paddleboards are fairly lightweight, weighing around 30 pounds. 

ECU student Michael Jordan works on a gluing process for his paddleboard in Jenkins Fine Arts Center.

The class met for four hours, four days each week during Summer Session 1, taking up three rooms in Jenkins Fine Arts Center.

The School of Art and Design offers this type of course during the summer due to the size, scope and intense amount of work necessary to complete the projects, said director Kate Bukoski.

"These courses enhance the school's approach of thinking through making by combining explorations of materials and materiality with problem-solving and aesthetic decision-making that result in beautiful, functional objects," Bukoski said. "The focus on functionality pushes students to consider how their evolving artistic skills can be leveraged in a different context, providing experience that enhances their professional development."

The students each contributed about $300 on materials supplied by Atlantic Veneer Mill Outlet in Beaufort, which also worked with ECU on materials for the canoe building class last year, Snapp said.

The school plans to offer a course each summer with a different focus each year, Bukoski said.

ECU student Michael Jordan of Oriental photographed his finished stand-up paddleboard on the Neuse River. Jordan would eventually like to work for National Geographic. (Contributed photo by Michael Jordan)

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