We are very excited to feature Tyler Warren (@tyler_warren ) as the next interview with Barefoot Kings. Tyler hails from Southern California and is an artist, surfer, surfboard shaper & world traveler. After having his first art exhibition at the age of 18, Tyler can be found traveling the world for his artwork - having exhibitions in places like Japan, Hawaii, Europe and more. While other 14-year olds may be playing video games, Tyler was learning to shape surf boards - leading to what is now an impressive lineup of shortboards, longboards, and more.

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What were your childhood and teen years like growing up in southern California?

When not in school I would spend my time, surfing, drawing, hanging out with friends usually around the beach, skateboarding and traveling up and down the coast doing different surf contests.  

Photo by Sage Burgess @sagephotos_  sageburgess.com

Photo by Sage Burgess @sagephotos_ sageburgess.com



When did you really get interested in your artwork and how did that lead to you selling t-shirts out of your car? Can you chat a bit about how your artwork turned into commissioned pieces?

I always loved art as a kid (like most) and just always found it as an inventive, fun past time... That grew into me drawing surfboard designs, and then I started drawing on T shirts... and then I did a run of them and sold them at school to friends and at surf contests.

Photo by @jjwessels_

Photo by @jjwessels_

How did your apprenticeship under your uncle, Kenton Nelson, influence your artwork and style - and ultimately transform you into an avid oil painter?

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Well I would go up to his studio in Pasadena, every Friday about a 1 hour drive each way and help him paint backgrounds and prep paintings.  He would then lend me books and teach me about some of his favorite artists, and I think just being around an actual successful  hard-working artist and seeing how he lived and worked really helped me with the ins and outs of it all. He really taught me to work out my drawing and take my time and use referance photos and stuff like that.

You have traveled around the world for art exhibitions and to surf - what have been some of your favorite places for culture and food?

Every place has something interesting to offer, Japan, Indo, Mexico, Israel, France, Morocco, Central America and more..

You've really followed your passion for art and surfing over the years, and have been able to turn this into a career - how did you start designing surfboards and how did it evolve over the years?

I used to love to just draw boards and fins as a kid around 12 and 13, it was rad to have an idea then draw it or try and recreate stuff I saw in magazines and surf videos.  Then at the age of 14 me and my friend Christian ripped the glass off a old beat 70s board and reshaped a little single fin egg that was more out size.. From then on I did about 1 or 2 a year then around the age of 21 I started making more and more boards... I would always watch my boards get shaped and work with the shaper in the room like Terry Martin..  I just took it all in and began to teach my self.

You've worked with many influential shapers over the years - have these different styles changed your perspective on shaping and career?

Yes, working with different shapers you see different ideas and techniques but in the end you get a surfboard.

Photo by @yoshitakaitoi

Photo by @yoshitakaitoi

If you were personified by one of the surfboards you've designed - what would you be - how come?

Wow that is a hard one.... Maybe a 5'10'' round tail quad with a mellow rocker around 19'' wide and 2 3/8'' thick  

Where would you like to travel next - and what are some of your favorite things to do while you travel?


I really want to get to South Africa this year, and indo is always good, and Mainland Mex... We shall see... a lot times trips pop up and I end up going.

Finally, you can bring 3 people out who you've always wanted to meet for the day for a surf session followed by a beach BBQ - alive or dead - who do you bring?

Bob Dylan, Audrey Hepburn and uh... the Duke.

Thank you, Tyler!