Tyler Warren: Longboarding is More Mainstream Now

Matt Rode

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Updated 234d ago

There has been a lot going on over the past couple of weeks. The first proper swell in a couple years hit Teahupoo, Mexico and the Americas copped a solid southern hemi, and of course the biggest Cloudbreak swell since anyone can remember is still making waves a week later.

With so many bombs breaking the internet and clogging social media feeds, it was easy to overlook a different kind of sliding fun—one that was celebrated in classic Duct Tape style last week. Joel Tudor’s Duct Tape Festival descended on Spain, complete with expression sessions, a homemade quiver from Dane Reynolds, Lee Ann Curren, Alex Knost and Tanner Gudauskas—and of course the Duct Tape Invitational.

Once the hoopla around the southern hemisphere’s heroic run quieted down, we sat down with perennial Duct Taper Tyler Warren, who was fresh back from an epic trip to Spain.

Hey Tyler, I heard you just got back from Spain. How'd you end up going in the Duct Tape Invitational?
Well, I was invited to the event, which is always a privilege. I really appreciate that Joel has invited me to all 14 events over the past decade. He usually says if you make semis or finals you will be invited to next one, and I ended up making the finals again this year, so I’m stoked!

The conditions were small the first two days of the waiting period, then a long-period swell jumped up overnight for Sunday. They ran all three rounds that day—it was 70 degrees and clean all day. We were pretty lucky, considering it was the first sunshine they had in a while. I rode a 9'11'' David Edwards model that I shaped, complete with an 11'' glass-on fin. I got second in my first two heats and third in the final, along with best doubles waves in the final and the first round.

Tyler, exercising longer craft in the glow of a Basque summer.

Tyler, exercising longer craft in the glow of a Basque summer.

Obviously guys show up at these DTIs to win, but it also feels a bit like it doesn't really matter who is on top at the end of the day. Does this feel like a contest, or most so just a big community hangout?
It’s definitely a competition, but at the end of the day we are all friends. Even throughout the event, we cheer each other on.

Joel started the DTI more than a decade ago, and it has grown to become the biggest contest in traditional longboarding. What you do you think their significance is for our culture?
Well Joel was a hero to many of us growing up, and definitely my biggest influence, all the way back to when I was watching surf movies at age 13. It’s great that he is continuing that influence and supporting this subculture with his events.

There were a bunch of new faces at this DTI. Who impressed you in the event and the free surfs around the event?
Jordan Spee and Andy Nieblas were a couple of my favorites.

The Duct Tape Invitational has grown into much more than a simple contest, and the Duct Tape Festival now includes a expression sessions with a handful of surfer/shapers. As a surfer/shaper yourself, what did you think of the boards that Alex, Lee Ann, Tanner, and Dane showed up with?
Well they looked pretty good. Some were cruder than others, but they were definitely shredding on them.

What did you think about the DTF coming to Europe? Had you been to the Basque country before? What was your experience with the local people/culture?
We have actually done a few events in the Basque country—two in Biarritz, one in Salinas, Spain (which I won in 2012), and then this one. The crowd was massive this year, one of the biggest I’ve seen for a Duct Tape event held overseas. The culture is interesting for sure—everything from the way people carry themselves to what they eat.

The surf community seems to be opening its mind more and more to the fact that there are an infinite number of ways to have fun on waves, and traditional longboarding is no longer a fringe subculture.
Yeah, it’s definitely more mainstream now. Still not like shortboarding, but I am guessing it will just keep growing. Especially with Vans and Joel putting these events together. I’m really thankful to them for the whole experience.