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One of the last surfboard shaped by Mike Hynson before his retirement in 2019. Triple stringer 9’2 gun with ruby red single fin. Signed by each individual involved in the process of making this work of art commemorating a rich history of Hynson shaped surfboards. The final board Hynson shaped before his retirement was a replication of a 1974 psychedelic “Brotherhood” board made for John Gale circa 1974 with artwork by the original artist, “Starman”.
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History of Mike Hynson
Mike Hynson: “Endless Summer” surfer and shaper
Mike Lear Hynson was born in Crescent City, a coastal town in Northern California in 1942. He came from a navy family- his father survived kamikaze attacks as a radioman in World War II. Mike grew up in San Diego and Hawaii and has led an adventure-seeking lifestyle since he was a child. One morning, he took a 250-volt electrical plug when his mother wasn’t looking and stuck it in his mouth. Apparently, the shock split his tongue and made it hard for him to learn how to speak. When he was 5 years old, he had another major accident. His friend hit him accidentally with the claw of the hammer right into the temple of his head. He underwent a complex surgery and remembers it as a near-death experience. Hynson likes to joke that the hammer incident explains why he often seems to lose his train of thought nowadays. When he was in junior high school in San Diego, he took up surfing with some older kids. He says that his first ride was very memorable: “It was so far out. I couldn’t sleep, and I just got into it, borrowing boards and stealing them and everything.” Stealing surfboards is how he met Hobie Alter, an early surf pioneer, and founder of the Hobie Cat, which is now the world’s top-selling small catamaran. Alter caught Mike stealing his surfboards, but agreed to drop the charges if Hynson would return the boards and as a result, gave him a job as a shaper.
Mike Hynson’s shaping skills were in high demand, and soon he became a top shaper for Gordon and Smith Surfboards in San Diego. It’s there, where he designed and produced his trademark “RedFin” boards. One person who began following Hynson’s surf career was Bruce Brown, a film director who, by the early 1960s, was filming all the big surf contests in Southern California and Hawaii. Brown came up with the concept of taking two surfers and following them around the world, while they search for the perfect wave. The picture remains iconic over 40 years later. Hynson recalls the trip as one of the most fun adventures in his life, although “adventurous” was the fact that he smuggled an ounce of pot with him around the world.
At the latest count, the Endless Summer has grossed $30 million. Hynson claims that Brown had promised him and August that if the movie succeeds, everyone would share in the good fortune. Hynson brought August with him to see the attorney who insisted they each deserved a third of the profit from The Endless Summer. Hynson claims Brown refused to do that, instead offering each surfer $5,000, a new car and help to get set up in business. Angry with what he felt was Brown’s betrayal, Hynson dropped out for a while, leaving California to spend half a year surfing big waves on Oahu’s North Shore. One surfer Hynson got to know there was Chuck Mundell. He admired Hynson and wanted him to meet a good friend of- John Griggs (founder of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love). Griggs and his friends, most of whom were former drug addicts, had experimented with a new drug- LSD. Hynson dropped his first acid with Griggs and several other Brotherhood members and this experience brought him back to the hospital room where he’d nearly died as a child. It took Hynson a few trips to get beyond that near-death experience, but when that happened, he felt “reborn”.
Thanks to his commitment to board shaping, Mike Hynson’s boards have been in high demand over the years. Specifics of Hynson’s approach to shaping is the radical nature of his “rails,” which are the side parts of the board. Before they were flat and rounded, but after his innovative, sharp-edged boards ride through tubes and cut the waves up. Mike Hynson retired in 2019 from a long and successful shaping career.