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Buzzy Trent model 1963 Elephant Gun surfboard shaped by the late Dick Brewer (1936-2022) in the early 2000s. The surfboard model of revered big wave surfing pioneer, Buzzy Trent (1929-2006). Gorgeous balsawood shape with redwood nose block, stringer, and stunning redwood fin. Signed “Shaped and Designed by Dick Brewer”. 11’6 elephant gun. Ride or display this remarkable big wave surfboard work of art.
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History of Buzzy Trent & Dick Brewer Surfboards
Buzzy Trent, called by many “The Godfather of big-wave surfing” was undeniably a legend and a pioneer of his field. He was born on May 13, 1929, under “Goodwin Murray Trent Jr” in San Diego, California. His family was wealthy- his mother’s family owned Parkinson’s Ranch, where Palomar Junior College now remains and his father was an engineer for a mining company. They raised Buzzy in Santa Monica, where he bodysurfed and began his surfing adventure at age 12 in Malibu. He enjoyed surfing but wasn’t a keen beachgoer. Buzzy had a great time boxing and thought of turning into a bullfighter. A star football player in high school, he earned a scholarship to the University of Southern California. Unfortunately, he broke his leg in a game against Ohio State. After the injury healed, he returned to surfing and got a job as a lifeguard in L.A. County. In 1950, after watching George Downing’s surf movies about surfing in Hawaii, he decided that he had to try it out himself. As a deckhand on a catamaran, his crew unofficially won the First Trans-Pacific Yacht race. He continued on the ocean liner as it operated throughout the Pacific before living in Hawaii.
Soon, the Hawaiian lifestyle won him over. Living in the true spirit of aloha, he never sold a used board. Instead, he would give his boards away to others without ever asking anything in return. Trent stayed in a Quonset hut at Makaha and spent his time diving, reading, but most importantly, riding the biggest waves possible. Makaha became his stage, with the charging of 20-foot+ waves. Trent formed relations with some of the biggest names in the surfing world. Bob Simmons offered him to ride his foam prototypes. George Downing, whose surfing as well as shaping Trent highly admired, became his long-time friend. Although he never thought of going pro, he trained regularly to conquer the power of the ocean. “Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear” - these are the words only a pioneer of big-wave surfing could have said. We also note him as being the first to describe a big-wave surfboard as a “gun”. In 1957, he stood at the top of the big-wave frenzy, earning a heavy reputation among the most important individuals of the day. Others couldn’t match his style, no one could tame the waves like Buzzy Trent did. He became well known for his achievement of consistently charging mammoth-sized Makaha. Privately, he was married to a West Side girl named Viola and they had two children - Anna and Ivan, both connected to the surfing life. As Buzzy wasn’t a pro surfer he supported his family in other ways- first as a fireman, later as a construction worker for the company that built Ala Moana mall. Working there, he had an accident, when his colleague accidentally knocked him off the 14th floor of a building. Trent fell about 50 feet, then grabbed onto a 12th-floor girder and pulled himself back up to resume work. “He came home and talked about it real casual (…) just dust himself off and go surf.” - recalls his son, Ivan.
Although Buzzy said that surfing was just a hobby and there shouldn’t be such a thing as competitive surfing, the impact he had made in the surfing world is quite significant. He had ended his surfing career by 1973. “I went for this wave and backed off. I knew what was going to happen to me. It was nature’s way of protecting me.” - that’s how he allegedly explained the end of this chapter to his son. When he gave up surfing at the age of 47, he took up hang gliding to keep the endorphins pumping, and retired from the Dillingham Corporation in 1980. He passed away in his sleep in 2006, at Hale Ho Aloha nursing home in Honolulu. He was 77 years old.
One of the most prominent and noteworthy names of the surfboard industry is the legendary Dick Brewer. The infamous surfboard shaper Richard Brewer was born in Bemidji, Minnesota. He discovered his love for surfing in the year 1952 and bought his first surfboard, a 9’0” balsa Woody Brown template, which later led to many magical journeys. Brewer joined the Air National Guard and found himself interested in the designing of surfboards. In 1960, he established himself in Hawaii by earning a reputation and divulging his surfing skills in the waves of Waimea and Makaha.
Brewer opened “Surfboards Hawaii”, the first and only surf shop of its kind on the north shore of Oahu. There he shaped and designed boards for surfers riding the amazing breaks along the “7 mile miracle” that was Oahu’s north shore. Brewer took inspiration from legends like Bob Shepherd and Joe Quigg. It was only a matter of time before his boards gained huge popularity amongst the surfing elite. In the year 1962, Brewer shaped and designed a board for Buffalo Keaulana who won the 1962 Makaha Championship. In 1963, he designed a longboard later named “The Pipeliner” which was ridden by none other than Butch Van Artsdalen. However, the path he followed was not easy throughout. Brewer’s business came to a halt when there was a shortage of materials required to make surfboards in Hawaii. As a result he had to move his operations to California temporarily. Unfortunately, due to a certain financial rivalry Brewer couldn’t keep his share of the business thus relinquishing his stake in the Surfboards Hawaii label. From 1965 onwards, Brewer relentlessly joined many surfboard labels, never giving up on his passion. He started shaping boards for Hobie Alter, a successful sailing entrepreneur, and later on left Hobie and joined Harbour Surfboards, and after that he joined Bing Surfboards. Bing really helped Brewer in making his ground firm and allowing him to showcase his efforts and ideas.
Brewer later moved to Maui and founded “Lahaina Surf Designs” where he met Gerry Lopez also known as “Mr. Pipeline”, famous for his skill riding the tubes of Pipeline on the north shore of Oahu. Brewer shaped the infamous “Mini Gun” shortboard which was for the first time ridden by Gerry. “Mini Gun” was the archetype after which came all the ideas for other boards inspiring many different designs and variations. Brewer then relocated to Kauai where he opened a surfboard shop in a community called Hanapepe with the help and support of Lopez. It was there in that historic place where Brewer built the iconic board “Purple Haze” which was of great service to John Sutherland in winning the Duke the following year. Brewer also shaped many boards for Reno Abellira, most notable of which is the “Pocket Rocket” which earned a position in a surfing competition held in Puerto Rico.
The 70’s were a prominent highlight of Dick Brewer’s professional, as well as personal life. He became a renowned surfboard shaper, building and designing boards coming in a multitude of varieties with many surfers winning big competitions riding them. His ideas inspired and gave birth to new methods and techniques. Brewer’s designs had become so immensely popular that a thriving market for his shapes was firmly established. Brewer then went to California and focused on his business and built boards for riders like Byron Wong, David Parr, and many others. Surfboard shaping was a passion Dick Brewer has given his life to. Facing backlash in business partnerships, the industrial market, and sadly losing his son Keoki at a very young age were just some of the downfalls he had to deal with. After a lifetime of creating innovative shapes for surfers around the world, Dick Brewer is now a legend popularly referred to as the “Shaping Guru”. Needless to say, Dick Brewer’s name will forever be cemented in the history of surfing and his masterful shapes will continue to grace waves across the globe. Dick Brewer (1936-2022).