Mason Dyer is a talented surfer/shaper based in San Diego and is the brand manager of Captain Fin. Originally from Delaware, Mason’s interest in WWII memorabilia and hot rods gives his work a unique aesthetic. We spoke with Mason to learn more.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up on the East Coast in Bethany Beach Delaware. I was super blessed to have the most amazing family. My Pops surfed and passed it on to me and my brothers. I remember spending summer weekends at the beach with my family all day. Up until the time I was 13 all I cared about was bodyboarding. I would occasionally go surf with my dad but all I cared about was doing El Rollos and bitchin’ drop knee hacks. Looking back I probably should have stuck with it.
When did you get your first surfboard?
My first surfboard if you even want to call it that was a 6’ neon green BZ foam board that my brothers and I got for Christmas when I was 9 or 10. I still have it. I rode a serious amount of whitewash on that puppy.
What was the feeling you had when you first stood on a surfboard?
I don’t really remember my first wave specifically, but I do remember I learned to surf as a goofy footer then one day decided to switch.
Who did you look up to and admire when you were a child?
My Pop for sure. I always looked up to him. We did everything together when I was a grom. I would always go to work with him, we would go hunting together, surf together, you name it. We were best buds.
Who/What inspired you to begin shaping?
Honestly one day I woke up and decided I was going to give it a shot. I got a blank and glassing goodies at Bashams and went home and got to work. It was twisted, asymmetrical (not on purpose), the hotcoat didn’t cure for a few days and the glass on hatchet fin was really crooked. I remember finish sanding it right before the sun went down and rushing to the beach to surf it. When I put it in the water and it floated I knew I was addicted.
Of all the places you have traveled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
I have really only traveled to places for surf trips with the exception of one: London. That trip really stands out because I really got to get a feel for the city, not just the waves like on most surf trips. I got to do all the tourist stuff which was cool.
Who/what inspires you?
I am a big into WWII militaria and am a post-WWII culture junkie. Anything and everything ranging from military uniforms, to hot rod building, to architecture, to fashion, to music – I love it all. I also never really look at other board builders stuff because I really like trying to just do my own thing and not be influenced by what other guys are doing. I spend most of my time reading books and websites about post war culture. That really influences me.
What is the greatest thing you have learned in your life?
My parents taught me a lot about the importance of hard work, honesty, and family but the most important is, for sure, teaching me about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
Other than the Little Caesars pizza I had the other night, no.
What are you most proud of?
I really pride myself on being a hard worker. I really believe that hard work pays off.
What meaning does surfing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surfing has really helped shape my life. If it wasn’t for surfing I would be sitting behind a desk staring at spreadsheets all day. Because of surfing I am blessed enough to have a job where I get to be creative and work with my hands every day.
What brings you the most happiness in the world?
Hanging out with my wife its number one for sure. I am so lucky to have such a rad wife; she is 100 times cooler than I am. Days where we get to surf and hang out at the beach all day together makes this ol’ boy happy. Building and driving my 1927 Model T hot rod also makes me super happy. I work on it a lot more than I drive it, thank God for AAA.
Who are some of the people you feel are shaping the path for surfing today?
From an industry standpoint Mitch Abshere for sure. Everyone has been fed the same recycled crap from the big brands and people are finally starting to figure out that there is more to surfing that contest and huge logos on everything. Mitch is just trying to help people remember why they started surfing in the first place – because it is fun. Guys like Dane Reynolds are really helping to reinforce that. I think a lot is going to change in the next few years, it’s really exciting.
As for shaping it’s a really exciting time for that as well. We are at a point where anything goes and it is really pushing guys to be creative. It can also be a bad thing however because most guys use it as a crutch for putting out boards that simply don’t work.
I really look up to guys like Jeff McCallum who makes in my opinion the best short alternative boards and unlike most small boards out there, his boards actually work. Chris Christenson is another guy I really respect a lot. Chris can jump in his shaping room and in one day make a thruster for Jordy Smith to ride on tour, a noserider for Mitch Abshere, a period correct twin fin San Diego style fish, and a Mavericks gun for Greg Long. That’s skill. Lastly Zeke (Tyler Hatzikian) is another guy I really respect. His craft is so dialed its mind blowing. He shapes better than the best shapers, glasses better than the best glassers and surfs better than some of the best surfers. I try to incorporate aspects of all the above into my shaping; Jeffs’ creativity and board function, Chris’ well roundedness, and Tyler’s roots, respect for the past and craftsmanship.
What is your favorite board? Your favorite surfspot?
My favorite board is a model I make called the Jetson. It is a Malibu chip inspired outline, has slight blended concave through the nose into slight belly in the middle to a good amount of V through the tail. I really wanted to design a board that could do it all. Noseride, trim really well and turn. Noseriders are great but they are made to noseride and that’s about it. They are slow and turn like an 18 wheeler. The Jetson is a really well rounded log. I love it. I surf Oceanside and Swamis most of the time but I would say the cliffs are my home. I love the cliffs.
What’s your favorite meal?
A scrapple, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. Scrapple is this meat that is made from cornmeal, spices and everything that is left over after they finish butchering a pig. Its completely nasty but tastes so good. I grew up eating that crap and it is so delicious. You can only get it at home.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
Well I am a country music guy so I listen to a lot of old country like Waylon, Hank, JR, and Johnny Cash. I also listen to a lot of Boston Radio on Pandora. You get a solid mix of Boston, Journey, The Scorpions, Bön Jovi, and Van Halen. Its good stuff for sure. When I shape I always listen to either Metal or Brittany Spears.
What are you most grateful for?
I am grateful for my family and friends. I have been so blessed in all aspects of my life.
What’s next for Mason Dyer?
Well a lot. I am continuing to expand and grow my shaping business. I am really excited with how well everything is going. I just started a new label in November called Dyer Brand. It is the label that all my boards and clothing will be under. I am just selling the clothing in Japan and a few select stores in the USA, but it is really taking off. The focus of the brand is making everything in the USA. I obviously make all the boards here but for the clothing everything from the fabric to the clothes themselves are made on our country. I think it is really important that we bring as much manufacturing back as possible, it’s the only really chance we have to make it as a nation. All of the clothes are just pieces that I myself would want to wear. I have always wanted to have my own clothing line so when the opportunity arose I had to jump on it. I update my website everyday so you can keep informed on what we have going on at www.masondyer.com