The Surf Community Says Goodbye to Legendary Shaper Dick Brewer

 

Photo Credit to @dick_brewer

Around 15 years ago, I have the privilege of designing two Hawaiian South Shore surfboard models with master shaper Dick Brewer. A true legend of our sport, Brewer started shaping in 1959 and soon became renowned for his unmatched skill at designing big wave guns. Over the years, he shaped big wave boards for just about every noteworthy charger in the game, from Buzzy Trent in the early 1960s to Nazare pioneer Garrett MacNamara today. He was also instrumental in helping bring about the Shortboard Revolution, cutting boards down to the point where he effectively invented the mini-gun, giving surfers like Gerry Lopez the tools they needed to take Pipeline surfing to the next level. Three decades later, he also built the first tow boards for guys like Laird Hamilton at Jaws.

But Brewer was also a well-rounded shaper, building everything from longboards to high-performance shortboards and fish shapes. The boards that he designed for our shop were five-fin hybrids with pulled in noses (one actually had a round nose!), built for going fast and having fun when the waves get small here in Town. He let me join him in the shaping bay for around 10 sessions of design and shaping, explaining to me exactly what he was doing and bringing my vision to life right in front of my eyes. That time spent with Brewer was one of the most memorable experiences in my surfing life, and I will always be grateful of both his genius and his humble and welcoming nature.

We also did a t-shirt collaboration with Brewer, making a line of designs that we sold here at the shop. Brewer was so humble that he’d wander into the shop to see how the designs came out, then, when I wasn’t looking, take a couple of shirts to the checkout counter and try to pay for them! He really was a class act, never expecting anything from anyone and always putting his heart and soul into everything that he did. The surfing world would have been a completely different place without him—respected shaper Pat Rawson once said that without Brewer, surfboard design (and, as a result, progressive surfing) would have been at least 10 years behind where it was.

I was very sad to hear that Brewer had passed away a few days ago, on May 29, 2022, at the age of 85. We lost a true legend that day—one of surfing’s great surfboard designers and great personalities. He was still shaping right up until his passing, still contributing his genius and incredible art to the world of surfboards.

Next time you see one of Brewer’s beautiful balsa wood guns hanging in a shop, or next time the waves get serious and you paddle out on a mini-gun or big wave board, take a moment to think about Dick Brewer and appreciate all that he did for us. He will surely be missed—but as long as people keep charging on guns, a little part of him will always be with us.

Leave A Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published