In 1961, Dick Brewer opened the first Surfboards Hawaii
shop in Haliewa, Hawaii. At the time, it was the first retail surf shop on the North Shore of Oahu! Needless to say, a lot has changed since then…
Born in Minnesota in 1936, Dick’s family moved to California in 1939. He started surfing in 1953 at the age of 17, and shaped his first surfboard six years later. In 1960, he moved from California to Oahu, where he started shaping surfboards in earnest under the tutelage of guys like Mike Diffenderfer. In 1964, Brewer moved back to California to establish mainland U.S. presence for his Surfboards Hawaii brand, but licensing problems forced him out of the company. He landed a job at Hobie in 1965, specializing in big-wave shapes before moving to Harbour Surfboards in ’66 and then Bing Surfboards in ’67 – at the beginning of the shortboard revolution.
While the subject of who actually started the revolution may always be debated, you can be sure that Dick Brewer’s name will enter the conversation – along with the likes of Bob McTavish, Nat Young and George Greenough. Brewer claims to have begun designing shorter, lower volume boards in early ’67, helping to solidify the acceptance of the shortboard forever.
After brief shaping stints with Plastic Fantastic Surfboards
and Inter-Island Surfboards, he founded Dick Brewer Surfboards on the island of Kauai in 1969, but then dropped out of the surf scene altogether from the mid-‘70s through the late-‘80s. At that time, he was shaping specialty longboards, big-wave guns, sailboards and tow-in boards. Then in 2001, he co-founded Plumeria Surfboards in Encinitas, California. Dick Brewer – a colorful character who has influenced surfboard designs and shapes for 60 years! For a look back on the early '70s Hawaii surf scene, check out this short film
featuring classic surf styles and rare commentary by Dick Brewer, Gerry Lopez, Owl Chapman, and other big names of the time.
Until next time,