Heritage Surfing & Hot Rodding Converge in the South Bay

From the desert to the sea, to all of Los Angeles, here is the latest…

Without a doubt Southern California has had more impact on the world over the last 100 years as far as popular culture is concerned. It is really funny to stop and wonder how a barren desert 100 years ago, could turn into the overgrown metropolis that it is today. Seriously, what would the world be like without Hollywood’s movies from both past and present, or even Burbank, home to television city where every night viewers from all around sit in close to their electronic viewfinders to be entertained by the stars. Well my friends that is what they tell us, as most people from all points of the globe come to Southern California is search of their dream. Some come to be famous on either screen, however others seek to showcase their talents in other ways. Some come just to work somewhere where it doesn’t snow. The lure is intoxicating; warm weather, sandy beaches, and endless amount of scenery has captured a vast amount of visitors where there to what the natives can see has no end in sight. Simply put So Cal is the poster child of American living.

If you happen to be one of the many So Cal natives who still call this place home, I’m sure you are thinking that the last few decades has left you wondering where did all good times go, as the Hollywood movie industry has all but disappeared, television has been replaced by watching dysfunctional families worry about what to wear to the next party, and the working man’s industry has been shoed away by the Fat Cat’s of politics. Don’t forget about the hellacious drought, the polluted beaches, and the view of the car in front of you on any of the endless freeways, highways, boulevards, and city side streets as traffic isn’t a way of life, oh no, it is a sentence of punishment.

Prior to the exploitation of this land that many call home, there was a pure time in history. A time when people came to seek better opportunities for the themselves or even their families. A time of prosperity, growth, and the though to dream big, seize the day and make it happen. In those times countless individuals laid the blue-print for what would become the Southern California lifestyle. Several large industries were created, as entertainment was just a small part of the big things happening out on the west coast. To any and all young warm blooded humans they found “Fun, Fun, Fun” in and around the unspoiled landscape of greater Los Angeles.

“It was surf in the morning, prep your car in the day, run it at night.”

During this age on innocence, two industries were born without their forefathers even thinking of them as an identity of the American sprit. It was simply a product of great weather, sandy beaches, and their own lives. One of the major industries that saw its early growth in Southern California is surfing, a sport that was tailor made for the warm sun kissed coastline that can be found throughout the area. The other of course, was hot rodding or what is now termed the automotive aftermarket. Endless roads with deserted population allowed young mechanics to strut their stuff by hopping up the only car they could afford. It was surf in the morning, prep your car in the day, run it at night. To those who birthed hot rodding many had no clue what laid in front of them, but if you were one of those who to be a part of it, or knew someone who lived through it, the time was magical.

Enter the modern day version of the Southern California spirit, born by the breath of sea water, and by the headlights of roaring racing engines; Tyler Hatzikian of Tyler Surfboards embodies the youth that time has forgotten in Southern California. Tyler has become the master of many lost arts. Constructing period correct surfboards by hand provides a living for himself and his small family. But it is oil and gasoline that fuels his hobby, the restoration and hot rodding of of classic cars.

The roots of Tyler’s family tree run deep in his sole, as his grandfather dazzled onlookers in the early days of Southern California motorsports. Know to most as “Zeke” a motorcycle daredevil. He made high speed maneuvers seem like child’s play in front anxious crowds, he was risking his life during each show even after his son was born. Zeke’s son Chris picked up right where his daredevil father left off cutting his teeth on a new sport shared from the islands of Hawaii called surfing. It consumed the nation like wildfire at that time.

Chris shared his interest as well as his knowledge of surfing with his son Tyler who took to the sport like a duck to water and never looked back. At 10 years old, Tyler was surfing at the best spots that So Cal had to offer and by 12 he was making his own surfboards that he and his neighborhood friends were riding. By 20 he was touring the world searching for the perfect wave until he returned back to his hometown of El Segundo, California to marry his high school sweetheart Katherine. The two opened a small shop selling his hand made boards that to most modern day surfers would scoff at as the sport favored smaller surfboards. Tyler went away from what was hip at the time, and mastered his craft of developing traditional surfboards that were primed to be ridden by modern day surfers.

“The appearance of a guy that showed up in a ’27 Track Roadster with a long board hanging out the back who could surf better than anyone in line-up gained Tyler a following.”

As most Southern California natives know, one sport or hobby is not enough, as the bait of local race trucks such as Ascot Park hooked Tyler into a love of all things automotive. Throughout his teen years and into his 20s, Tyler sought a variety of vehicles to restore. One requirement was always on the list, the car had to carry him and his boards to his favorite surf spots. The appearance of a guy that showed up in a ’27 Track Roadster with a long board hanging out the back who could surf better than anyone gained Tyler a following, as his brand of surfboards simply named “Tyler” are now known throughout the world for their classic style with modern day performance.

Today Tyler continues to carry the torch so to speak of the golden age of the Southern California lifestyle. His days begin before most have checked their “status” on their mobile device, and lead way into the darkness of night where he can be found in a humble two car garage prepping the next classic car to dominate the highways. With anything, as times change, so does taste. Tyler’s next project is one to carry the whole family and his surfboards in. A 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle two door wagon being built in his garage combines the classic looks with a modern power plant under the hood. Can Tyler bring this classic ride up to modern standards? Is he the link to times gone by?