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Dick Brewer shaped 8’8 thruster gun made for fellow board builder, John Tustin in 1991. Serial #1, all original condition.
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History of Dick Brewer Surfboards
One of the most prominent and noteworthy names of the surfboard industry is the legendary Dick Brewer. The infamous surfboard shaper Richard Brewer was born in Bemidji, Minnesota. He discovered his love for surfing in the year 1952 and bought his first surfboard, a 9’0” balsa Woody Brown template, which later led to many magical journeys. Brewer joined the Air National Guard and found himself interested in the designing of surfboards. In 1960, he established himself in Hawaii by earning a reputation and divulging his surfing skills in the waves of Waimea and Makaha.
Brewer opened “Surfboards Hawaii”, the first and only surf shop of its kind on the north shore of Oahu. There he shaped and designed boards for surfers riding the amazing breaks along the “7 mile miracle” that was Oahu’s north shore. Brewer took inspiration from legends like Bob Shepherd and Joe Quigg. It was only a matter of time before his boards gained huge popularity amongst the surfing elite. In the year 1962, Brewer shaped and designed a board for Buffalo Keaulana who won the 1962 Makaha Championship. In 1963, he designed a longboard later named “The Pipeliner” which was ridden by none other than Butch Van Artsdalen. However, the path he followed was not easy throughout. Brewer’s business came to a halt when there was a shortage of materials required to make surfboards in Hawaii. As a result he had to move his operations to California temporarily. Unfortunately, due to a certain financial rivalry Brewer couldn’t keep his share of the business thus relinquishing his stake in the Surfboards Hawaii label. From 1965 onwards, Brewer relentlessly joined many surfboard labels, never giving up on his passion. He started shaping boards for Hobie Alter, a successful sailing entrepreneur, and later on left Hobie and joined Harbour Surfboards, and after that he joined Bing Surfboards. Bing really helped Brewer in making his ground firm and allowing him to showcase his efforts and ideas.
Brewer later moved to Maui and founded “Lahaina Surf Designs” where he met Gerry Lopez also known as “Mr. Pipeline”, famous for his skill riding the tubes of Pipeline on the north shore of Oahu. Brewer shaped the infamous “Mini Gun” shortboard which was for the first time ridden by Gerry. “Mini Gun” was the archetype after which came all the ideas for other boards inspiring many different designs and variations. Brewer then relocated to Kauai where he opened a surfboard shop in a community called Hanapepe with the help and support of Lopez. It was there in that historic place where Brewer built the iconic board “Purple Haze” which was of great service to John Sutherland in winning the Duke the following year. Brewer also shaped many boards for Reno Abellira, most notable of which is the “Pocket Rocket” which earned a position in a surfing competition held in Puerto Rico.
The 70’s were a prominent highlight of Dick Brewer’s professional, as well as personal life. He became a renowned surfboard shaper, building and designing boards coming in a multitude of varieties with many surfers winning big competitions riding them. His ideas inspired and gave birth to new methods and techniques. Brewer’s designs had become so immensely popular that a thriving market for his shapes was firmly established. Brewer then went to California and focused on his business and built boards for riders like Byron Wong, David Parr, and many others. Surfboard shaping was a passion Dick Brewer has given his life to. Facing backlash in business partnerships, the industrial market, and sadly losing his son Keoki at a very young age were just some of the downfalls he had to deal with. After a lifetime of creating innovative shapes for surfers around the world, Dick Brewer is now a legend popularly referred to as the “Shaping Guru”. Needless to say, Dick Brewer’s name will forever be cemented in the history of surfing and his masterful shapes will continue to grace waves across the globe.