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Nate Tyler: Smooth Operator

Perennial smooth operator Nate Tyler reflects the cruisey energy of the rural Central California hinterland he calls home. As seen in recent the Manera film Due West alongside Brendon Gibbens, his stock in trade, above the lip wafts before shapely cliffs and seas stacks still look great from every angle. Creative curves and hard edges run through a lot of what Nate does, from freesurfing kelp smoothened Pacific glass to expressing himself through the medium of kinetic metal sculpture.

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WL: You’re a bit out of the surf scene where you live? 

NT: Yeah, my average day I think is a bit different. I lived in Orange County for years and it was all based off of surfing as I personally only had that as a hobby down there. Now living back at home, honestly I feel like surfing is something I do daily but I have other things that take the majority of my day. I love that I get to surf everyday but I feel like I am just a real adult now haha. I love being an adult but I also have to work hard to make money for my family and that comes from various different work things including non surf stuff. It makes me appreciate anytime I get to surf.

WL: Tell us a bit about your place…

Our family home is amazing. My parents built the home over the first 12 years that I was alive, a very unique situation. I was born and they both worked on the home everyday. They were both artists and when they made any money they poured it into the home, it was a labor of love. It is one hundred percent hand built by them and it is a beautiful home. As soon as the home was finished they got a divorce and had to sell the home so it was out of the family. I feel very honored to have the chance to purchase the home back 15 years later.

WL: Before that you were pro surfing’s only known yurt dweller? How was that?

Living in the yurt was the most amazing years for my wife and me. We were at a point where we had no responsibilities and not a worry in the world. My father had sold his half of the family home back in the day and purchased an adjacent 15 acres, so we always hung out there and dreamed of putting some sort of home on this little flat spot with a view. Fast forward to when my wife and I had the opportunity but not much money, we sprung for the yurt as it was mega cost effective and low impact option. It was an amazing experience and we learned so much. We lived in it for 6 years! In the correct climate I totally recommend it! Our situation it worked out very nice and made for incredible memories, the only reason we ever moved out was the fact that our old family home came up for sale. We would still be in the yurt now haha. 

WL: In a surf world where everyone is after perfection, tell us more about the joys of 2-3ft soft lefts… 

For me and where I live geographically, little shitty lefts are all that seem to come my way haha. There are better waves and you can wait for the optimal days but on average, you have the best luck if you have low expectations and are prepared for little windy waves.

WL: Metal sculpture / artwork isn’t a well known side hustle among pro surfers. How’d it start/how’s it goin?

So it started years ago as my Dad is a very successful Metal kinetic sculptor. I have always hung around his shop and messed with every tool and medium he works with. I have been helping him out for years now and these days he has had me step in and start helping with start to finish work. I am in a position where I am keeping the family tradition alive and getting to work with him now.

WL: In the Due West, you and Beej seem to be having a blast just cruising near home. Do you surf better when you’re not in beast mode? Should we all relax a bit more before we paddle out/ in general?

Hah, yeah that is a great way to put it. I have had so many years of trying too hard and being so mad at myself that I ruin it all. For that project we had a blast with simply just lowering our expectations and surfing. 

WL: Water’s pretty cold where you live most of the time? How does Manera rubber stand up against the elements? Any tips for year round wetsuit wearers for better shredding? 

Manera suits are the best. They are the perfect balance of warmth but stretch. I have been loving the suits! I dont know, I consider myself a full time wetsuit wearer and all I try to do is find suits that are warm but ultimately stretchy and light! I love to wear suits that are very light, I hate when suits suck up water. Also, wear booties whenever you can.

WL: When the apocalypse comes, and you can only hurriedly grab a few things to take in the escape pod… metal work gear or short wide shortboard?

Not sure!? Maybe neither haha as I don’t know if it would matter! Actually, metal tools as I feel like having hand tools would be essential? I don’t know though, I hope that is not a decision have to make as I would choose the wrong one haha.

Photography by Teddy Miller