Raised by groovy, bohemian toymakers among the towering redwoods and crisp, clean Central Californian air, Nate Tyler was always a different breed of surfer from his citified cohorts to the south. Earthy, artistic and wildly talented, beyond starring in parts for brilliant movies like “Strange Rumblings in Shangri La” and “Psychic Migrations,” Nate’s followed in his parents’ footsteps and is a hell of a sculptor. He’s also been sitting on some recent footage from a few glorious sessions around home. Enjoy the vid and read below for an exclusive interview with one of CA’s most creative surfers.
Haydenshapes: Tell us about this new edit, Nate. Where’d you film and what are you riding…it appears like you’re surfing better than ever.
Nate Tyler: [laughs] Aw, thanks. Most of the footage is all from around home, here on the Central Coast of California. I think most of that edit is based around the Untitled shape, which is pretty much my favourite board both at home and even traveling. But I guess I started really clicking with that board at home, surfing pretty average waves all the time, but wanting to be fresh and surfing a ton to be ready for trips. Then all of the sudden, I’d take one or two Untitled’s with me on a trip for the smaller days, then I kept using the board when the waves would get good. I discovered that they worked well in everything, it was the craziest thing. Like, I’ve taken the Untitled to Indonesia, New Zealand… I think in really good waves like in Indonesia, I could really feel the drive and bite to it. The board just really changed my whole view on everything going on.
Unreal! But it also looked like you were on another board in the edit, too…Like a squash-tail maybe?
Oh, right, that one actually was a custom spec Love Buzz. The Love Buzz is probably my second favourite model. I recently had this run at home where the waves were really good and maybe I broke an Untitled, but I was riding that Love Buzz and freaking out on that thing. It’s an insane go-to board, plain and simple.
Does one work better than the other in different waves? How would you compare the two?
Mmm, I guess if I was running out to surf and the waves looked bad, I’d just go with the Untitled, but if it was same scenario at home, and the waves were good…you know I’d actually be pretty baffled [laughs] because they both work so well. They’re just so fast. In FutureFlex, a Love Buzz would be really good in small waves too, you know? That was one of the very first boards Hayden shaped me in FutureFlex (Love Buzz) and I remember getting on that thing and feeling like I was suddenly driving a sports car. But to answer your question, I guess…it’s a toss up. [laughs]
Tell me about your artwork lately.
Yeah, I’ve been traveling a bunch, but when I’m home I’m always tinkering with sculptures. I actually just got commissioned by these people to build this big architectural gate by the ocean. It was so crazy, so many components made from stainless steel, I essentially had to fabricate all these parts and make it roll…it was definitely out of my comfort zone, but by the end I was super proud of it. Kind of a modern, sculpture style gate. Right around here in Cayucas, California.
But it’s been really cool branching out of solely doing art for art’s sake and getting commissioned to do some architectural pieces. I also just got commissioned to do a sculpture for a woman here in Cambria, too. In the end, it’ll be this kinetic sculpture.
Epic. So if you could describe your medium, normally….
Yeah, I’d say: kinetic sculptures, normally from metal (mild and stainless steel). I incorporate rocks a lot, too, though. Both of my parents are woodworkers, so I do a lot of wood working as well.
Would you say they’ve been a big inspiration for you?
Totally. I think I grew up in your token starving artist family. Like, they were both woodworkers, toy builders actually, we’d go to craft shows every Sunday and they evolved from there. Our house looks like two toy builders built it. Then my dad moved into metal and is still a sculptor, and my mom is still into wood working and jewellery making and still owns a gallery with my sister in Paso Robles…so yeah, everybody’s still all about making something [laughs]. I was definitely moulded by them.
Art isn’t the only thing taking up your time, too, huh. Tell me about the businesses you’re involved with.
Yeah, working with Villager [coconut water] has been really rad. I’m more of just a surfer for them really, but Octopus has been going really, really well. Essentially, we’re just a core grip and leash company, but we’ve got some other stuff in the works with a bag line, still mainly surf-related products. I just love that we get to design something weird for a grip, sample it ourselves, and then if it works out great, if not…we were just surfing to test it [laughs]. With Epokhe [eyewear], I’m a partial owner, mostly rider. I’m also looking forward to these short web video projects coming out soon with Globe, too. We’ve got a great one from New Zealand coming out.
Amazing. Anything new you’re working on with Haydenshapes?
Yeah, I recently asked Hayden for a twin fin type board and go figure, a lot of people had asked him for one, too. So, he’s had this file and has been evolving it, but yeah the one I’ve had is super fun and goes so well. It’s sooo fast, it’s insane. I actually wanted one for airs and that’s what it does being in FutureFlex. I guess it’s kind of a cross between a modern short board and traditional twinnie. It’s not glassed so heavily like the vintage ones, which is rad. I love it.
Video Edit: Tyge Landa. Footage: Perry Gershkow, David Malcolm, Epokhe
Sculptures: Recent work by Nate Tyler @_natetyler