tyler war­ren

Tracks - - Fresh Fish -

Tyler War­ren – artist, shaper, surfer. It’s a loaded ti­tle but there’s noth­ing triv­ial or op­por­tunis­tic about Tyler’s mul­ti­far­i­ous ex­is­tence. His house in Capis­trano, South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is cus­tomised for his var­i­ous pas­sions – neatly di­vided be­tween cu­rated rooms for his liv­ing area, art stu­dio and shap­ing bay or ‘fun zone’ as Tyler likes to call his creative spa­ces.

Take a mo­ment to glance at some of Tyler’s surf-themed prints on­line and you get an im­me­di­ate sense of au­then­tic­ity in the lines – the waves and the board-rid­ers fea­tured in the art-works in­stantly look like the work of a surfer. You quickly find your­self drawn in to the im­age, men­tally rid­ing the wave or en­joy­ing the mo­ment along­side the il­lus­tra­tion’s sub­ject. While Tyler ex­hibits his art, in the past he’s also been com­mis­sioned to pro­duce com­mer­cial work for com­pa­nies likes Rip Curl. When you look at the fin­ishes and sprays that fea­ture in Tyler’s boards, it’s easy to see how his artis­tic in­cli­na­tions eas­ily spill over into the shap­ing bay.

At 32 Tyler has been mak­ing boards for more than 15 years and gives him­self li­cense to ex­plore just about any kind of de­sign. His mini-Sim­mons in­spired twin fins are per­haps his most pop­u­lar mod­els and he’s one of the few shapers who have been ca­pa­ble of send­ing the world’s best shred­ders on a retro tan­gent. Just con­sider the list of surfers who have or­dered Tyler’s boards – Joel Parkin­son, Tom Cur­ren, Creed McTag­gart, Lisa An­der­son, The Gu­dauskas broth­ers, Dy­lan Graves, Jack Free­stone, Jamie O’Brien, Kolohe Andino, Koa Smith, Wade Goodall, Tony Moniz and Joel Tu­dor. Even Kelly Slater bor­rowed one of Tyler’s boards off the Gu­dauskas broth­ers, just to see what all the fuss is about.

Per­haps Tyler’s ca­pac­ity to sell mod­ern pros on his de­signs, hinges on his own surf­ing abil­ity. Ex­cep­tional and dis­tinc­tive on ev­ery­thing from a log to a per­for­mance

thruster; Tyler has a knack of mak­ing you go, ‘Wow, I wonder what that guy is rid­ing; be­cause he’s sure mak­ing it look good.”

Although he trav­els ex­ten­sively, most morn­ings you will find Tyler trawl­ing for waves some­where be­tween San Onofre and Tres­tles. While his surf­ing varies from craft to craft his goal is gen­er­ally al­ways the same – to be rid­ing the best board for the con­di­tions of the day – or at least the one he knows he will have the most fun on.

Below Tyler talks a lit­tle about his shap­ing and surf­ing jour­ney and his con­nec­tion to the twin fin.

You men­tioned that your first board was ac­tu­ally a twin fin?

My first board was made in around 1980. It was a chan­nel bot­tomed Bruce Jones, 5’8” winged swal­low. It was like a rel­a­tive had it lay­ing around and gave it my dad and my dad gave it to me.

So ev­ery­one around you would have been on thrusters?

I was young, I didn’t re­ally know any­thing about surf­ing too much. I think I was nine. I rode it in a cou­ple of con­tests in high school. I think I made the semis on it once. Yeah, it was around 1996, so that was at the height of thin, chippy short­boards.

So at what age did you start ex­per­i­ment­ing with mak­ing your own boards?

When I was 14. Then I made about a board ev­ery year after that. My first twin fin I made was my ninth board… I made it for this girl, but it went good so I kept it and made her an­other one. I was about 22 then.

What was the in­flu­ence for that first twin fin?

That was a mini-Sim­mons in­spired, swal­low­tail soap. They were so dif­fer­ent to what peo­ple had been see­ing and they were

su­per-fast and drivey and kind of any­body could ride them I guess. Those were kind of like my hot item for the first 100 or so boards I made, I guess. But I tried a lot of vari­a­tions of boards and then rid­ing dif­fer­ent twin fins from other shapers. I’ve kind of al­ways been keep­ing my mind open and try­ing other stuff.

When did you re­alise that shap­ing was some­thing other than just a back­yard hobby and you could sup­ple­ment your liv­ing with it?

I guess once peo­ple started or­der­ing them and buy­ing them…

Was the so-called ‘ride ev­ery­thing move­ment’ start­ing to gen­er­ate a fol­low­ing around that time?

Yeah, I think around early 2000. Peo­ple have been ex­per­i­ment­ing more with boards, but peo­ple al­ways have been if you re­ally look into surf­ing. I think surf­ing is al­ways con­stantly evolv­ing – dif­fer­ent shapes and con­cepts and dif­fer­ent ideas.

So when peo­ple think about surf­board evo­lu­tion they prob­a­bly think of the evo­lu­tion of the per­for­mance thruster, but other board types, like twin fins, are also still evolv­ing?

Yep, for sure. And you can tell on this trip. For a lot of them, that con­cept of board hasn’t been made be­fore. They’re all pretty ‘fresh fish’.

So the mod­ern twin is re­ally bor­row­ing from a lot of dif­fer­ent in­flu­ences rather than just be­ing a straight replica of some­thing from the 80s? Is that some­thing you like to do with your boards?

Yeah, I usu­ally like to mod­ernise it. Maybe the rails are thin­ner or more for­giv­ing; deeper con­cave, putting lit­tle hips in the tem­plate – dif­fer­ent bot­tom con­tours. I’ll get in­spired by old boards but it’s not like I’m repli­cat­ing some­thing. I try and make it work even bet­ter you know.

What sources do you get your in­spi­ra­tion from?

Movies, pho­tos tem­plates, pic­tures, books, friends… I’ve al­ways just loved surf­board de­sign in gen­eral since I was su­per young. When I was 12 I use to draw boards all the time and fins and al­ways look at mag­a­zines. I think I just loved look­ing at dif­fer­ent board col­lec­tions or peo­ple’s quiv­ers. It just in­ter­ests me.

Tell us about one of the boards you rode this trip?

I think I prob­a­bly rode the blue one the most. Be­cause we didn’t have big waves it was pretty shred­dable for the wave size. That was ba­si­cally a clas­sic fish nose with a Sim­mons tail and then I put this moon-tail in it just for a dif­fer­ent look other than a swal­low. It kinda pro­vides grip. The fins on that are kind of like a smaller ver­sion of the orig­i­nal soap fin, but they’re still mas­sive fins. They’re like a nine-inch base and about 4 and a half inches tall. The nose en­try is a slight roll into a sin­gle con­cave and then a spi­ral V out the back, which is the bot­tom I’ve been test­ing a lot. Sin­gle six ounce glass job.

What’s the func­tion of the spi­ral V?

It cre­ates speed, lift and also makes it looser.

Tell us a lit­tle more about the keel fins?

They’re made out of ma­rine ply. They’re pretty far back, about 4 and a half inches off the tail. On those boards you’re not re­ally do­ing too much ver­ti­cal surf­ing, but you go re­ally fast and push re­ally hard. For me I just want to go re­ally fast, draw good lines and do big carves.

Do you have to put them a lit­tle fur­ther back be­cause they are not as tall from base to tip reg­u­lar twin fins?

Yeah, ex­actly. And the tail’s so wide too that you loose your drive if they’re too far up.

How was the sen­sa­tion jump­ing from your board to the MR twin fin?

Yeah, it was fun to ride the MR be­cause that wave had a re­ally tight lit­tle pocket back­side; it was fun to mix it up and try some­thing dif­fer­ent. It felt skit­tish at first but then I fig­ured it out. Had a cou­ple of fun waves.

Do you think the av­er­age surfer can ben­e­fit from hav­ing a twin fin in the quiver?

Yeah, for sure. I think a lot of pro­gres­sive shapers – the boards they’re mak­ing – the av­er­age surfer is usu­ally rid­ing pretty av­er­age waves, some boards don’t re­ally al­low you to have fun. But a fun twin fin or a board with like a wider tail or less rocker. Just a more for­giv­ing shape can al­low a surfer to have a bet­ter time, which I think is im­por­tant.

Bot­tom: Surfer/shaper, Tyler War­ren, and the colour­ful se­lec­tion of twin­fins he made for the trip. Top: Some say the mea­sure of style is the abil­ity to look good while do­ing al­most noth­ing. Tyler War­ren, case in point.

Cheeks puff and limbs com­press, as a pointed el­bow sets the line for Tyler War­ren.

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