Dick Brewer has been building some of the greatest surfboards in the world for well over 50 years. His big wave guns are some of the most sought after, classic, and collectible surfboards in the world. If you’re able to get a Brewer big wave gun, ride it, and keep it in your family forever. The gun’s Dick shaped twenty years ago are still relevant today.
The story of Dick Brewer
Raised in the Long Beach and L. A. area, Dick Brewer came from two generations of engineers. Blessed with the brainpower, skill and aptitude it takes to be a successful designer he would have been successful at any profession he chose. He chose surfing. A deep sense of adventure took him to Hawaii, and in 1959 Dick began on a journey that he would continue for the rest of his life. He founded Surfboards Hawaii in Hawaii in 1961, and never looked back.
Dick Brewer’s love affair with surfing began in 1952, and he got his first surfboard in 1953. It was a 9’0″ balsa Woody Brown template that they called a “Double Ender.” He rode this board for years in all kinds of conditions, including waves up to 15 feet. Dick couldn’t get enough of the beach and the lifestyle associated with the surfing culture so after high school he attended Long Beach State to work towards an engineering degree, earning an income working as a tool and die maker for his Dad’s Tool and Die Company, Keith Black Racing Engines, and North American Aviation.
Dick joined the Air National Guard in 1958. The recruiter had told him he could finish the year out at Long Beach State when he joined. During this period of his life Dick became interested in the design-side of the surf industry, wanting to shape his own boards. In 1959 Dick bought one of the first Walker blanks ever “blown” and shaped a 9’10” gun. Dick then took his first trip to Hawaii, and it was all over. After his trip to Hawaii, Dick went back to Long Beach State, but his heart just wasn’t into it anymore. In 1960, he returned to Hawaii.
Dick Brewer had always been an excellent surfer and he quickly established himself in Hawaii as a big wave rider by charging big Waimea Bay and Sunset. Dick spent the early sixties taking-off shoulder to shoulder with the best surfers of the era. In the winter of 60/61 Dick opened Surfboards Hawaii in Haleiwa, selling Weber, Scholl, and his own shapes. Dick Brewer had found his calling making boards.
In 1964, the Matson Shipping Lines strike stopped the flow of blanks and resin to Hawaii. No raw materials were available in Hawaii for building boards, so Dick went to California and started shaping from his operation in North County San Diego. He took Jeff Hakman (one of his team riders at that time) along with him and they spent the summer surfing and building surfboards.
After that summer he moved to the islands to shape Dick Brewer Surfboards Hawaii, and never looked back.
Photo: Courtesy The Surfers Path