There are two avenues one can take to become a professional surfer: competitions or free surfing. Nate Tyler has succeeded in doing the latter.
The Volcom surfer from Templeton, Calif., is able to travel around the world to surf, being featured in documentaries, short films, photographs, magazines, online and more. Not too shabby for someone who grew up 35 minutes away from the beach.
“Surfing is beyond surreal,” Tyler said while on a recent surf trip in Bali, Indonesia. “For me, personally, it’s the craziest thing. I know I look like a quintessential surfer, but at the same time, I look back on my childhood and I don’t think I was ever really in a position to become a professional surfer.”
Tyler started surfing when he was around 12 years old and would take weekend camping trips to Big Sur with his father. It wasn’t until Tyler was 16 when he got his license and could drive to the beach more frequently when he got more invested in the sport.
“Surfing is a very important part of my life,” he said. “It’s given me everything I’ve become, but at the same time it’s also this daily disease, if you would, that I have to get in the ocean every day. It resets you. It’s your exercise. It’s everything.”
Outside of surfing, Tyler, who grew up on a “glorified hippie compound”, is also very artistic. Both of his parents are artists and the creativity and skillset have been passed down to him. He is an avid builder, craftsman and creates pieces of artwork with metal.
“Nate Tyler has the skillset to be on the World Tour, but he has the foresight and mental toughness to say, ‘Hey, that isn’t for me,'” said Matt Bemrose, Volcom Global Surf Team Manager. “He’s as real as it gets. He’s true to himself.”