Surf, Shape, Sand… these words are interchangeable for Forrest Minchinton. Most days he can be found either surfing the waves or the sand, shaping boards, or the future of mx. Forest lives on the edge, literally, and Slow & Low was able to catch a ride with Forest, along the rugged edges of Johnson Valley, in California’s Mojave Desert- a place he calls home- a place where free spirt and free will are the only rules that apply…
Forrest, for those who aren’t familiar with your story, can you sum up how Surf, Shape, and Sand are the talisman for your story?
I was born to two parents who lived to surf. My father is a surfboard shaper. My mother took me surfing until she was 9 months pregnant. I stood up on my first wave at 3 years old. Our home was a respite for all traveling surfing friends whenever they passed through either Huntington Beach at my dad's bachelor pad or Tamarindo, Costa Rica where my mom moved us to after my parents went their separate ways. When the waves went flat my dad and his friends would point the van loaded with dirt bikes towards the Mojave Desert or down the Baja Peninsula, where the desert meets the Pacific. My mother would throw us on the back of the motorcycle and head to the hills of Costa Rica, always looking for an adventure. That’s where my love of two wheels started. I just took to it much more seriously. I loved every bit of it. There came a time where riding and racing motorcycles becomes very costly and a surfer’s wage only goes so far, so I had to start paying my own way. The Spanners Surfboard Factory was my dad’s place of employment and de facto day care for me and my buddies. We were inadvertently getting a PhD in surfboard manufacturing from the legends of board building without even knowing it. So it became my first job. Sweeping the floor, doing ding repair, and ultimately doing ever job at least once throughout the factory until graduated to shaping. Surf everyday, shape to pay for the weekend on the motorcycle. And so continued the story.
What are the main similarities/ main differences of riding surf vs sand?
Surfing, Shaping and riding motorcycles all draw from the same feelings. Each one is about drawing lines, reading shadows, feeling the flow and getting lost in your own personal progression. Different muscles, different movements, but at the end they all allow me to be free, to be present and be lost in the art of doing.
In both surfing and motorcross, you are riding “in nature” amongst the elements, but in which environment do you feel more “in touch” with nature? Why?
Surfing cannot be without moto for me. There is always the chase of the next swell and when the waves go flat or the rain has come, it is time for the hills and to the desert. Waiting for the magic of nature and trying to be there when the stars align.
When you are riding in the desert, what are you searching for? What are you trying to discover? What’s your riding philosophy?
When I’m riding the desert I’m searching for adventure, a new trail, a new challenge, a familiar feeling. It’s just about riding away the responsibilities of society and just feeling present and reliant on your skills and experience. Being comfortable in the unknown.
Riding, either a board or a bike seems like a solo journey, or a solo sport. Do you view it this way?
As with all experiences, it is best experienced with friends. When you’re alone in the desert or the ocean, there is this overwhelming connection to nature and being present within yourself.
For the Surf/Sand playlist, what are your Top 3 songs for surfing and Top 3 song for motorcross? Is there anywhere that you haven’t biked or surfed that you’d like to?
I don’t listen to music when I do either, but any Jimi Hendrix album usually does the job of setting the mood before or after.
Argentina is somewhere that I have had on the radar.
Do you need to be a surfer to be a surfboard shaper?
It is an absolute requirement, but you more importantly you need to be a craftsman. It is about attention to detail, precision and consistency. Like any good carpenter or mechanic, you are only as good as your tools.
Tell us about the custom fuel tank you designed for our Slow & Low giveaway
Our desert compound has a motorcycle graveyard of sorts and I went out and hand-picked one of my favorite motorcycle tanks: a 1970’s Yamaha dirt bike, with beautiful patina.
How do you like to drink Slow & Low? (ex. S&L over ice, or S&L over ice with an orange zest for a proper Old-Fashioned, or a shot of S&L & xx beer…)
I best enjoy it over ice, next to the campfire.
If you could share a drink of Slow & Low with anyone alive or dead who would it be and why?
Sitting by the campfire, hanging with Jimi Hendrix as he strummed a few chords on the guitar would be a good place to start.