What’s It Like To Be The Coolest Man In Surfing?

Photos by Rambo Estrada

You ever stop and think to yourself: “Hey, what would it be like to be immensely cool?”

I know I do. Every night at 2:15 AM, in fact. Usually before, during or after I’m looking at my phone in this order: Twitter, Instagram, back to Twitter. You do this too. Refresh emails to feel important but nothing comes through because it’s the middle of the night. Twitter again.

Anyway, being cool. What’s it like not being a complete social hand grenade at all times? It’s hard to say. Especially as loads of people reckon smoking a bunch of hand rolls and being all sad and ironic about everything is an adequate substitute for any sort of personality whatsoever these days.

Someone who does know, though, is Nate Tyler. If you don’t know much about Nate, here’s a rundown: Nate surfs for Volcom, Globe, Haydenshapes, and more. He co-founded Octopus and Epokhe. He recently starred in both of Globe’s Cult of Freedom videos. He lives tucked away in Central California where he spends his free time around surfing either creating metal sculptures or just taking in the scenery. And he’s also the coolest man in surfing. Or at least that’s what my old surf-frenzied co-workers told me. Which is enough validity for me to justify giving Nate a call to chat about how nice it is to not be standard human filler.

Nate Tyler! How’ve you been living?

Good, yeah. Been doing a couple of trips but now have been home for a month which seems like a long time in my world. There’s been some little waves. I’ve been going up to Santa Cruz and San Francisco a bit. Just trying to get a better stuff. Surf’s been fun around home, but, there’s just nobody around that films or shoots photos [laughs]. Have to stay somewhat productive and go up to north to Santa Cruz and SF. I last went up and surfed with Noah (Wegrich) and between him and I we scrounged up some buddies who can point a camera.

Right on. Anyway, I hear you’re the coolest surfer ever. So I’m going to ask you a bunch of quick-fire questions regarding what’s cool and what isn’t. Basically testing your coolness barometer. Is that cool?

Oh fuck, I’m going to fail.

Straight reaction. We’re shooting from the hip here. First off: what’s the coolest thing about your surfing?

I love to pump. Go fast. As fast as I can. Wait, this is a trick question. I like to do the air. Yeah, that’s it.

What’s the least cool thing about you do then?

Faceplant. I feel like I do that way too often.

How cool was it going to New Zealand with Creed and Dion for the Cult of Freedom trip?

That was really cool. When was that? I think we went and did that in May. We were waffling with the idea of going back too, which is why that seems so long ago. Yeah, that was May of obviously this year.

Was it cooler than your (also for Cult of Freedom) trip to Australia?

Mmmmmm, yeah. It was pretty cool because it was a small group and, fuck, New Zealand is the best place on earth. I mean, Australia is maybe a better place but New Zealand is right there. Not sure if that makes any sense but I’ve always loved New Zealand. That’s my favourite spot. I went there so many times as a kid. My dad bought a house there, so I would go there at least twice a year. I was a full-blown little NZ rat. I don’t feel like New Zealand has the best waves. Or I just never get them because I’m a lost traveller there but I love those sneaky waves and, yeah: New Zealand. It’s just a lot like where I live. I click with it and always have as much fun as I can there.

What’s the coolest part about your home in Central California?

The thing that probably doesn’t seem that cool but is, is that I’m pretty removed. But fuck it’s been crowded lately so I don’t know how much longer it’s going to be that way anymore. I don’t know what happened. Everyone is getting wedged by San Francisco and LA. I mean, it was inevitable. It’s pretty here but perfectly centred between the two monsters.

What’s the coolest wave there?

Coolest wave here is any of these beach breaks. Once the concrete sand moves around it’s way too fun. Cayucos beach breaks are my zone. It’s always changing obviously but every once in a while the sand moves around and you find your spot.

The one thing that always pops into my mind when I think about the surf on the central coast is that rumour about how Kelly Slater once called Pismo the worst wave he’s ever surfed. I read that in an old…Transworld I want to say. I was, like, ten years old or whatever but for some reason it stuck.

[Laughs] I have a couple of buddies who live in Pismo but you would fucking think they live for Pismo. It’d be so funny to hammer them with that one. Hit them with a reality check.

A solid lineup icebreaker there for sure. Right, what else is cool about it? The rolling hills and epic scenery and big wine scene I’m sure is nice.

Yeah, I mean I always just hang out in the woods. But there are a bazillion breweries now. It’s always been wine country here, but now it’s full brew country too. And I’m a pretty solid beer drinker so I go to those. There’s all the little things here obviously but the focus around this whole region is the beer and wine scene. It’s so rad. There’s always been the wineries with their beautiful outdoor spaces and now you have these massive breweries with big lawns and families running around and good food. And you can just hang there. It’s pretty simple really.

What’s the coolest thing you do other than surf?

I love to just disappear into my metal shop. Create things. Doing art and sculptures is my favourite. It’s hard to say that’s cool though. Well, it’s cool for me and it’s what I really enjoy doing so, yeah, actually I guess it’s cool [laughs].

What’s the coolest thing you’ve put together up in the shop?

Ah, I don’t even know what you’d call it. There are these freeform kinetic balance cultures that my dad does and I do my own take on them. And I’ve had some clients that have commissioned me to do a couple. Recently though, I’ve had clients that have wanted me to do more architectural stuff in the metalwork field. Big gates and succulent walls. But that’s been fun and a little out of my realm. I’ve always done art stuff so it’s a cool eye-opener where I look back and go: “Fuck, this is not some weird art piece. It’s a clean, architectural piece instead.” That’s been really fun.

Any cool trips planned for the rest of the year?   

Actually right before you called Dion rang me from France. Yeah, he was around there for the Octopus tour and knowing Dion he just stayed. I think he’s headed to Portugal. I might run over and do that with him. Or at least I hope to. Have to figure that one out a bit more. Actually, yeah, I’m sure I’ll do that. Other than that… I don’t usually go to Hawaii but it sort of sounds fun.

That all sounds very cool. Well, cool if I wrap up this interview?

Oh yeah, of course man.

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