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Surf Shacks 048 – Tyler Warren

Tyler Warren is a renaissance man in the surf world who epitomizes the stylish, quiet, and cool guy both in and out of the water. Known for his free-surfing on a variety of board shapes, Tyler defines the word “classic” while also being part of the progressive ride everything generation. Aside from being a professional surfer, artist, and surfboard shaper, it is also worth noting that out of all the surfers’ homes I have visited, I have never seen a larger, more colorful, and diverse collection of surfboards as I have in Tyler’s pad.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a person that likes to create—the act of having a thought and bringing it to life. I enjoy surfing, making boards, art, the ocean, and seeing the world. I am currently 30 years old and live in Southern California where I grew up. I have been able to make a living in my life doing what I love: making art and surfing. I tend to be attracted to older objects and art, and enjoy surrounding myself with people, places, and things that have soul.

Where are you from?

Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano are the two small town places I have grown up and lived.

I have been in love with your surfboards ever since seeing the colorful and iconic “Bar Of Soap” designs on the racks at Mollusk. What got you into shaping in the first place?

It all started when me and my good friend Christian ripped the glass off an old seventies beater on the side of his house and proceeded to make our desired five-foot-six-inch single-fin egg. I was 14 and I think he was 10 or 11 and his little brother Carson was about 9 (Carson has been the head board short designer at Hurley for six years and he’s only 25). I shaped about one board a year for the next 10 years, until I had an art show in the back of a small surf shop called Shelter. I had made three so called “bar of soaps” based on the mini-Simmons theory that Richard Kenvin brought to life. The the boards were gold, a reddish orange, and a baby blue. They all had different tails and bottom contours. I rode all three and sold two of them. Those boards resonated with people and I began shaping them one at a time for people that were interested. That grew into making longboards, gliders, eggs, shortboards, guns, and more.

What do you like most about the shaping process?

The whole thing: sketching an idea on a post-it to the finished product under your feet flying down a wave—or watching a friend shred past you on one of your shapes. When actually shaping, I enjoy drawing templates, and the final screen of a board when you’re honing it in.

You obviously don’t discriminate when it comes to riding different types of boards. If you had to choose one board from your massive quiver that you had to ride exclusively for the next year, which one would you choose and why?

Hmm… Maybe my six-foot-eight-inch Stoker. It seems like you could ride it in anything.

How many surfboards do you own currently?

Haha… Uhhh… I think I’m a little over 100, but that is over 20 years of surfing.

Who do you draw inspiration from in your surfing? Shaping? And art?

Many people… In surfing, Lance Carson, Kelly Slater, Tom Curren, Joel Tudor, Occy, Wayne Lynch, Gerry Lopez, Nat Young, George Greenough are some influences in surfing. Art: Dali, Picasso, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, 60’s Poster art, Norman Rockwell, vintage advertisements, Warhol, Magritte, My Uncle, Alphonse Mucha, Nagel, so many but that’s a few off the top of my head. Shaping: Terry Martin, Campbell Bros, Donald Takayama, Al Merrick, George Greenough, Dick Brewer, Rich Pavel

How long have you lived in your home?

It’s been just about 5 years.

You seem to really have things dialed here with your home – the board shed, shaping bay, art studio, outdoor area. Did you find a house with all these rad features or did you do a lot of renovating to make it your own style?

My house was built in 1929. I put a new roof on the house and painted the inside and outside, but the front is all original. In the back it’s all new landscaping besides the 80-year-old orange tree. The backyard was all dirt at one point. I added an art studio, shaping bay, and garage in the back on half of the yard, and on the other half there’s a couple lounge chairs, spa, built-in BBQ, and fire pit. I tried to keep the new structure in the same bungalow-craftsman style as the front house.

What are your favorite parts of your home?

I love the whole thing. I am just glad to be in an area with soul and not a bunch of stucco cookie cutter houses stacked on top of each other.

If your house was burning down and you could only get out with five items, what would you take?

My glasses and contacts (night bag), my Terry Martin Balsa Board, my buddy’s mint 1965 David Nuuhiwa noserider, my planer, and last but not least my girlfriend if she was there.

What are your favorite parts about San Juan Capistrano and the area in which you live?

Just the whole vibe, the small old western town vibe, the history of the area and the epic Mexican food!

You travel a lot on surf trips. What are your top five surf destinations?

Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Australia, Central America.

You recently turned 30 and have already accomplished so much as a surfer, shaper and artist among other things. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? Do you have any goals in particular?

I hope doing a similar thing as I am doing now: surfing, traveling, making boards and art, maybe have a grom by then.

Any parting thoughts, words of wisdom, sage advice?

Follow your dreams, never give up, and don’t forget to go surfing.

/ Photography and interview by Matt Titone

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