Show Us Your Quiver – Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson is a surf dad, plain and simple. He first moved to Ocean Beach with his wife in the 1980s, when the line-up had only a fraction of the crowd that it has today, almost three decades later. “I always loved surfing in San Francisco because it has a void of surf culture,” he explained. “It’s on the rise now, but it’s far from being a Huntington Beach with surf malls everywhere.”
Bryan works as a journalist, and his career re-located him across the him world for a few years, but he has landed back at Ocean Beach with his wife and twin children to work as the editor and content director of Surfers Village, a surfing news site with the tagline “All the news, all the time.” He works from home and schedules his job around his other full-time job: stay-at-home dad for his kids.
Between a full-time job as an editor and the responsibilities of watching the kids, Bryan doesn’t get much time to surf these days, so he sneaks in quick sessions in front of his house when he has an hour to spare. His boards tend to be smaller and performance-based, for days when Ocean Beach serves up clean conditions, but the most defining characteristic of his boards is the artwork. With each new board, Bryan brings out the paint and markers and works with his kids to decorate them with fantastical creatures. In a sport that can sometimes be a bit too concerned with image, the bright scribbles on Bryan’s board are a warm reminder that many of the surfers out at Ocean Beach head home to a house full of children once they leave the water.
The Ocean Beach Bulletin met with Bryan and stole him from his work for an hour to talk about his boards and their designs. This is what he had to say, in his own words:
It’s fun to have my kids decorate my boards. I could do a gnarly-looking chick in a bikini, which would tell everyone that I like women, but what’s the point of that? The whole thing kind of like a mudflap on a truck. It’s just a lot more honest and fun to decorate my boards this way.
The first board they decorated was this board from Jim Tjogas. He’s a guy who grew up in Montara and I’ve known him for years. When we moved back to the city, I bought this board off him for $100. It’s epoxy, and the kids were about 6 when I let them go to town with decorating it. They drew some things on it, my favorite is “Dad’s new surfboard,” which has me riding a whale underneath it. I really like how my hair looks in the picture.
I busted the nose off the board at first, and then fixed it, and then broke it last fall by pulling into a close-out barrel. I really like the beach when it’s hollow and head-high, which is probably why I’ve broken so many boards. My daughter took the broken board OK, but my son was traumatized, because the shark, which is burping, was broken in half along the break. So I’ve held onto the broken pieces. There’s Canadian geese on it, and their cousin Allison joined in with the decorating, too. Gosh, some of these drawings look like could be on a T-shirt.
We did silkscreens for Christmas gifts, and screened a bunch of family and friends, and the screens were made from designs that my kids had done. My daughter Beatrice did this one, which is just called “Sqwid.” Each of these is a little sqwid. I made a silkscreen out of her image, and that’s how she spelled the word, and I wrote the word on it to pull it all together. I silkscreened the images, but silkscreening them doesn’t really work. All of the boards have solid concavity, so you can only get a little bit on there before it smears.
That’s the Scorch-It model, it’s a variation of a Rocket. The boards are custom shaped for me, I put an order in with Matt Biolos from Lost. I mostly ride his boards, and really connected with one of his shapes. I had a Lost Firewire Stealth that I just loved, and every board I’ve gone to after that has been based off that. This board is really good for small glassy stuff as a quad.
The Al Merrick is the board where I first tried silkscreening, and it got pretty messy. The rad thing on the nose is that it’s a dragosus that my son drew. A dragosus is a combination of a dragon and Pegasus, so I guess it has different wings than a Pegasus. There’s also this is unicorn that my daughter drew, and I really love these two drawings.
There’s something about when you’re a kid … they are always learning about new animals, like the cassowary for example. My son came home talking about the cassowary, and I had never heard of the animal, so I just thought he had made it up. It’s actually the world’s third-largest flightless bird, from Papua New Guinea. They are very mean, apparently. But there’s that kind of magic with kids. A shark is real. But something that is called a “Sqwid” and looks like that? Not real. But when you’re a kid just learning about animals, you think “Yeah, there could be a cassowary,” or “Yeah, there could be a dragosus.”