Judi Oyama, creative director of Maximum Impact Design in Aptos, got the call Thursday, a week and two days before James Durbin was possibly coming to Santa Cruz to play a concert.
City Councilwoman Hilary Bryant didn't exactly call. She sent a message on Facebook asking the artist if she could arrange a special surfboard for the city to give Durbin as a gift. Ordinarily something like that would take weeks and cost at least $2,000, but this had to be sped through and the city had no money to pay for it.
Bryant, a surfer, and her husband, David Shuman who owns Westside Animal Hospital, donated the funds. And quickly, Santa Cruz residents donated more. Oyama said Bryant didn't even get a pass to the event. Wingnut, a famous surfer known best by that name, donated lessons for Durbin, who has never been on a board.
Brenda Scott Rogers, of Hotline Wetsuits, donated a leash and offered custom wetsuits for James and his son. Surfboard shaper Doug Haut donated his shop, a shape and machines.
"Things usually move slowly in the surfing community," said Bryant. "They really pulled it together for this."
Why did she pony up the money when the city couldn't?
"I just thought we had to do something special for him. I really wanted to do it."
While normally a job like this might be sent out of town to make screens to emblazon on the board, local artist Kevin Walsh had another unusual idea. He would draw the artwork right on the board with acrylic markers and put on a special coating to preserve it.
All was speeding along on a tight timetable, when Oyama got the call Thursday night that the concert was off.
"I told Kevin he didn't have to rush it anymore," said Oyama.
But then, Friday, another call came in: the concert was back on. That meant a screaming race to the finish, a virtual all-nighter. Kevin drew, Judi photographed and consulted. When the artist took a brief sleep, she went out and got breakfast for them at Kelley's Bakery.
They worked straight through, getting it done at 2 p.m., just in time to give it to Bryant, who raced it over to the Boardwalk for the presentation.
"These people were all so generous," said Oyama. "They really wanted to do something special for James."
Oyama and her father, Richard Oyama, took photos of the project and have a blog about it here. She also gave the pictures on the right to display.
"It couldn't have happened without a team effort," she said.
In other Durbin news: A Facebook group has been formed to try to keep him on American Idol. They want members to change their profile pictures to one of Durbin to show producers he should not have been voted off.