THE SHAPE OF THINGS: THE DICK BREWER STORY

The story of the colorful and controversial, legendary surfboard designer and builder, Dick Brewer

My passion with the “Shape of Things: The Dick Brewer Story” began years ago.  As a young East Coast surfer from Long Island in 1972 and while evading the draft, I hid out and surfed in Southern California. That’s when traces of a specific kind of surfboard shape began to filter into the local North San Diego County surf scene.  They were unique spear type shapes from Hawaii and they called them Brewers. Fast forward to 50 years later, 2022, the year of the Pandemic.

With all Film and TV productions suspended worldwide, economic survival for my professional colleagues and myself were in question. I needed a project, a creation, and as improbable as it seemed at the time, a new direction to produce and document a story that would pass the time. In pursuit of an idea that simply just dropped out of the Universe, I thought of Dick Brewer. I began to seek out his family at first, then his loyal disciples, then his mentors. I set out to Hawaii to meet the man himself. As the first series of interviews unfolded on the North Shore, I became aware this was a man not only worshipped by his peers, but his longevity of ingenuity and innovations in the world of surfboard design were profound.  I quickly realized this would be a film of great significance.

The day I met Dick Brewer was a vivid memory. I was joined by his loving wife Sherry one crisp morning at a shaping room on the property of an old North Shore army barracks house –  long-time friend and shaping disciple Jimbo “Hail Yeah”  Yarborough’s place.  Now in his 80’s, Dick was fragile, a fraction of the giant portrayed in all of the interviews to date. The rings of time were etched on his face, his hands weathered from years of molding foam. As I realized the opportunity to interview him was lost, I felt he knew inside what I was doing.  

Over the course of my career, I’ve met and interviewed hundreds of sport celebrities, actors and luminaries from all over the world, but this seemed different.  For me, I was a admirer and it became a retrospective to the tribal sport we all dedicated ourselves to and loved as kids. It became an adoration and self-examination of how far I had come to finally connect with the greats of the sport I had seen in all the magazines – and personally, a chance to meet them and of course the master of it all.   Documenting the story of Dick Brewer became a personal obsession for me, and in its simplicity, I wanted it to be much more than a surfing film itself. I wanted it to become a microcosom of surfing history, centralizing on stories and memories of a wild world in Hawaii and California that intersected multiple generations. It became a deeply personal narrative for me and my crew as we shared and relished the spoken words of his peers.

We uncovered a time in surfing history that will never to be duplicated.           

CREDITS

DIRECTOR(S): Bob Campi
SCREENWRITER(S): Jim Kempton
PRODUCER(S): Teresa Tico, Allen Sarlo, Steve Morgan
CAST: Laird Hamilton, Kai Lenny, Garrett McNamara, Derrick Doerner, Jock Sutherland, jericho Poppler

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