A Forrest Painted In Dust

10 months ago | Words: Robbie Warden | Photos: Deus Ex Machina/Harry Mark, Aaron Brimhall, Drew Martin

Forrest Minchinton was raised by the desert. Growing up in Huntington Beach, California, Forrest and his surfboard shaper dad, Mike, took every chance they got to head out to the Wild West of the Mojave Desert. There, on a remote compound constructed from objects lost and found, Forrest learned to ride motorcycles, shape surfboards, and see the world through a different lens.

After having his fascinating existence documented in Deus Ex Machina’s recent Painted in Dust short film, Forrest caught up with Transmoto’s Robbie Warden to talk more about the crossover between surf and moto, and what makes for a happy life.

TM: Give us your perspective on the similarities between riding the desert dunes on a dirt bike and surfing.
FM: To me, there are so many parallels between surfing and riding a dirt bike. They both are about drawing lines, reading shadows, body positioning. And when you’re feeling good, there is this flow that you find where you are completely in sync with what you are doing, and the dirt bike or surfboard just becomes an extension of your body. They’re both vessels of freedom and creativity.

Dirt bikes and surfboards are both built and modified for different conditions and styles of riding, so tell us a little about your favourite boards and bikes.
Touching on the first question again, I think the other parallel between riding dirt bikes and surfing is that you build bikes/boards differently for different feelings and styles of riding or surfing. I enjoy all different aspects of riding and surfing, but what is most important to me is building the right machine or board to match the style of riding/surfing or feeling I’m after. Most recently, I have got back into motocross and the high-performance segment of dirt bikes. But on the other hand, I have really enjoyed building twin-fins that transcend the stereotype of being small-wave equipment, and instead they’re a board that – for my level of surfing, anyways – I can utilise in a variety of conditions. Twinnys work really well in more serious waves as well.

What were the key design factors for the new surfboards you shaped in the desert?
With the surfboards I shaped in the desert, I knew straight away I wanted to build some of my Bastard Fish model, and I also ended up doing a mid-length single-fin. With every board I shape, I’m always aiming to refine the design and make it better. And out there was no exception. But I think the focus for me was partnering with my friend and glasser, Madchook from Burleigh, who came over to work some of his resin wizardry on my shapes. We both ride dirt bikes and the idea was to really just immerse ourselves in the raw landscape of the Mojave Desert and build boards with a very minimal ‘factory’. It was very backyard and sort of paid homage to our roots. And the irony of being hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean just made it extra fun, I guess. It was really just an experiment and something to spark creativity.

What makes you happy?
What makes me happy is the progression of life. To always be building on yesterday and trying to be better. Progressing as a shaper, rider, surfer, human. That is what keeps me moving and happy.

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