Forrest Minchinton's father Mike Minchinton is a surfboard shaper. In addition to his own label, he builds boards for Robert August Surfboards. August was one of the main protagonists in the original “Endless Summer.”
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Mike was friends with August and the recently deceased Bruce Brown, who not only made the classic “Endless Summer,” but also its motocross equivalent “On Any Sunday.” Do you see where we're going with this?
The Minchintons were always into all aspects of moto, as they were waveriding.
“My Dad, and his two best friends who were like uncles to me, were surfers. But they also grew up riding motorcycles,” explains Forrest Minchinton, who is 26 and lives in Huntington Beach. “In the ’60s and ’70s, surfing and motorcycles went hand in hand in California. They embodied that. They went out to the desert and rode when there was no swell.
“They bought a big piece of property out there. When the waves were flat, we’d go out there to escape the Southern California crowds. It was the ultimate freedom, a similar feeling to surfing.”
Today, Forrest Minchinton garners respect in both the surf and moto world for his riding and shaping.
In the early days of moto, riders prided themselves on riding all types of terrain. Off road racing was done on flat track, motocross tracks or across miles of open desert. Riders raced on stripped down American road bikes and the California deserts offer no shortage of space. As racing evolved, it became more technical and focused with bikes made in Europe and Japan.
“I wanted to be like the stars of ‘On Any Sunday.’ The guys who made and starred in that and ‘Endless Summer’ were my Dad’s friends. They were my idols. Guys like Malcom Smith and Mert Lawill rode everything from flat track to motocross, desert racing, and road racing.” says Minchinton, “Those films were my Bible as a kid.”
Minchinton never had the desire to become a serious competitive racer, being too busy chasing a swell to commit to follow a race series. But he excels at racing out in the desert. He’s fallen in with the Deus Ex Machina crew, a brand based on the dual passions of surf and moto.
Today, he’s able to travel to Bali, Europe, Japan and Central America to ride dirt bikes, surf and shape boards. And just like his moto passion, the boards he shapes are not standard 2 1/4 -inch thick thrusters, they transcend genres and time periods.
“It’s like getting back to the roots of moto when guys didn’t just concentrate on one discipline” he adds, “And the same with shaping. I like to explore older aspects of board design that got passed over too quickly -- not focus on riding one type of board. I was brought up longboarding when the waves are knee high, and riding the right boards when it’s six-foot and barreling. Its all about having the right tool for the job. Different bikes and boards for different feelings. People are surprised when I tell them what I do. For most, the connection between shaping, surfing and motorcycles isn't apparent, but to me they're all one in the same."
Minchinton will be racing through the French Alps at Snow Quake on studded tires across ice this month for Harley Davidson on their new Street Rod 750, an undertaking he was very excited about. But what has his attention now is a project with Aussie Mark Cormack.
“We met two years ago at the motocross track. He was kind of like ‘My Dad’s a shaper, I’m a glasser, and I ride moto.’ And I was like ‘My Dad’s a shaper, I’m a shaper, and I ride moto.’ He came out and visited our surfboard factory in Southern California and we planted the seed to do something together,” Minchinton recalls.
This spring, Cormack is coming to Southern California where the two will head into the desert to make a limited collection of surfboards built entirely in the desert and of course ride dirt bikes.
“Why would anyone go 100 miles away from the ocean to build surfboards? We’re going to set up a shaping and glassing bay and just do some experimenting and document it. And of course there’s great riding out there. It probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but us,” he says, “But that’s what I draw inspiration from, an unorthodox approach and the parallels between surfing, moto and shaping -- drawing lines, reading shadows, having flow.”