Carusi students, teacher present custom surfboard to MossRehab

The surfboard features inspirational artwork created by students from Carusi.

On Friday, June 15, representatives from MossRehab were present at the Carusi Middle School in Cherry Hill to receive a custom, one-of-a-kind surfboard designed by science teacher and surfboard shaper Luke Alvarez that features inspirational artwork created by students. The surfboard will be used Aug. 5 at They Will Surf Again, a free, one-day event in Wildwood that gets persons with disabilities into the ocean and riding waves with the help of volunteers. MossRehab sponsors They Will Surf Again, the flagship event of the Life Rolls On organization, and has sent close to 300 volunteers to the annual event over the last seven years.

When shaping the board, Alvarez, whose company is named Generic Brand Surfboards, works with input from MossRehab and surfers who have participated in They Will Surf Again in the past. The result is a board huge in proportions that make the board extremely stable and capable of carrying the weight of two riders (a surfer and volunteer) when necessary. The deck of the board also features a thick pad for comfort and grip and attachment points for adjustable hand straps. The artwork, designed by the Carusi Middle School students, took MossRehab’s inspirational “challenge accepted” motto and filled each letter with colorful beach and surf- inspired designs like hibiscus blossoms, tikis, dolphins, waves and palm trees.

“As someone who has been in the water, volunteering with surfers at They Will Surf Again, I’ve seen first-hand how much joy the event, and the other Luke Alvarez designed boards have brought to participants,” said MossRehab Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Smith. “And this year’s board, carrying the joyful artwork of the Carusi students, will add even more happiness and inspiration. On behalf of everyone who will use this surfboard this year, and in many years to come, thank you Luke and the talented, generous students of Carusi.”

“Mr. Alvarez is an amazing Science teacher in our school. Beyond Science, he is a role model,” said Carusi Middle School principal. John J. Cafagna. “His dedication to students makes him known throughout our community. His further dedication to projects with MossRehab to bring the joys of watersports to persons with disabilities demonstrates that everyone has a responsibility to inspire great change in our world. We are grateful for the partnership Mr. Alvarez and MossRehab bring to our school, allowing our students to participate in such a rewarding experience.”

“I feel indebted to MossRehab for approaching me to shape adaptive surfboards to be used by persons with disabilities,” said Alvarez. “This relationship has allowed me to involve students at Carusi to help create things that help other people in a tangible way. Plus, there is nothing more fun, in my opinion, than going surfing!”

They Will Surf Again will be held Aug. 5 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the beach at Baker Avenue (behind the Convention Center) in Wildwood. Registration to volunteer or participate begins June 20. Register online at LifeRollsOn.org/NewJersey.