Dual Passions of Moto and Surf With California’s Forrest Minchinton

Forrest Minchinton, channeling Bruce Brown's "On Any Sunday." Photo: Courtesy of Dustin Humphrey

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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Shaper, Mike Minchinton, father of Forest Minchintion, laying down Iines and roots in California, 1975. Photo: Courtesy of Forrest Minchinton

Mike was friends with August and the late Bruce Brown, who not only made the classic surf film “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.

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“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. “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.”

Forrest Minchinton cutback, hand in the face. Photo: Courtesy of Tom Hawkins

These days, 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 on bikes made in Europe and Japan.

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“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.”

Forrest Minchinton, foot on the gas. Photo: Courtesy of Tom Hawkins

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.

Nowadays, 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.

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“It’s like getting back to the roots of moto when guys didn’t just concentrate on one discipline,” he explains. “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.”

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