Face it, we live in an era of surfing specialists. As the act is continually fractured into smaller and smaller pieces, each separate tribe forms its own interest group: ASP point-getters, slab hunters, aerialists, big-wave chargers, fish guys, retro fish guys, stand-up-paddlers, longboarders, classic longboarders, plank riders, body surfers…the list goes on.
Fortunately, there’s a powerful antidote to this virulent strain represented by a handful of individuals who truly transcend labels, read: Tyler Warren. At first glance, Warren might be mistaken for any one of the talented throwbacks that frequent “poser point,” the little right that breaks on San Onofre’s north end. And while Warren may indeed strike some nice poses, he’s no poser. Not only can the guy surf. He can surf anything. And he can surf anything really, really well.
His “anything goes” approach to equipment, waves, and ways of riding them doesn’t just harken back to the way things used to be, but to how things ought to be. His appreciation for aesthetics never wavers. If it doesn’t look good, in his world, it seems better left undone. The result of all this attention to detail is one of the most refreshing surfing styles we’ve seen in quite some time, no matter what his choice of vehicle is.
In an age where surfers have access to more variety than ever before, sadly, very few are truly soaking it all in the way Warren is. If there came a day when the world’s best surfers were judged by how capable they are riding the full range of equipment, my dime would be on Warren. All of ‘em.
(Above shot) Tyler Warren exploring caves in North Africa. Photo: Yazzy