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Laird Hamilton model Balsawood tow board 6’0 by Dick Brewer with Future GL fins.
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Dick Brewer: Brilliant surfboard designer-shaper from Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii, generally regarded as the sport’s most influential boardmaker; creator of the popular Bing Pipeliner model longboard in 1967, and venerated in the late ’60s and early ’70s as the first master of shortboard design. “He’s got the magic eye,” Hawaiian surfer Jeff Hakman said. “Outlines, fins, edges, contours; he knew how to put everything together.”
Brewer was born (1936) near Duluth, Minnesota, the son of an aircraft machinist, moved with his family to Long Beach, California, in 1939, and began surfing in 1953. In the mid-’50s he worked as a toolmaker and machinist; in 1959 he shaped his first surfboard, and the following year he moved to Oahu where he was informally mentored by California-born shapers Mike Diffenderfer and Bob Shepherd. Brewer opened Surfboards Hawaii in Haleiwa in 1961, the first retail surf shop on the North Shore of Oahu, surfing’s big-wave capital.
Brewer returned to California in 1964 to start a mainland branch of Surfboards Hawaii, but legal problems with royalties and licensing soon forced him out of the company altogether. He worked for manufacturing giant Hobie Surfboards in 1965 as a big-wave board specialist, and produced the Dick Brewer Model; Jeff Hakman, Eddie Aikau, and Buzzy Trent were among the big-wave aces who rode Brewer boards that winter in Hawaii. Brewer himself was an enthusiastic big-wave rider in the late ’50s and ’60s, and was featured riding Waimea Bay in the surf movie classic The Endless Summer.
Brewer switched from Hobie to Harbour Surfboards in 1966, then to Bing Surfboards, where in 1967 he produced a series of models that are collectively regarded as the last word in original-era longboards, including the Pipeliner, the Lotus, the Pintail, and the Nuuhiwa Lightweight. But after Australian Nat Young won the 1966 World Championships on a self-made board that was thinner and lighter than anything in use at the time, the seeds were planted for a drastic change in board design.
The origins of the 1967-launched shortboard revolution are still debated. Brewer claims he began making shorter, more streamlined boards in the spring of 1967, and the radical new designs got him fired from Bing. Australian surfer/boardmaker Bob McTavish, influenced by California-born kneeboarder and designer George Greenough, had meanwhile developed the short, wide-tailed vee-bottom design, and the generally accepted view is that McTavish and Greenough are responsible for starting the shortboard revolution. It was Brewer, however, in the months and years to come, who did the most to bring the shortboard revolution into focus.
Read the full article @ Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing… http://encyclopediaofsurfing.com/entries/brewer-dick