Born near Duluth, Minnesota in 1936, Dick Brewer moved with his family to Long Beach, California at the age of three. He started surfing in 1953 when he was seventeen, and shaped his first board six years later at the age of 23. He moved to Hawaii in 1960, and opened Surfboards Hawaii the following year in the North Shore town of Haleiwa.
In 1964, Dick returned to California to establish a mainland presence for the Surfboards Hawaii name, but licensing problems forced him out of the very company he had started just three years earlier. In 1965, he went to work for Hobie, where he developed the Dick Brewer model, and in 1966 he left Hobie to shape for Rich Harbour. By 1967 he was shaping for Bing Surfboards, where he developed such models as the Lotus, the Pintail, and the infamous Pipeliner.
Dick Brewer was one of the guys at the forefront of the so-called shortboard revolution, which began around 1967. While the influences of Bob McTavish and George Greenough definitely pushed manufacturers toward shorter surfboard designs, Brewer had been shaping shorter, narrower boards since the spring of 1967. His new shapes were considered radical at the time; so radical that it's said those designs got him fired from Bing Surfboards.
Brewer designs have been popular with the world's best big wave watermen and shapers for decades. From Jeff Hakman and Buzzy Trent in the '60s, Gerry Lopez, Barry Kanaiaupuni and Eddie in the '70s, Mark Richards in the early '80s, and Laird Hamilton and Buzzy Kerbox in the '90s, Brewer boards are still the name many choose when the surf gets serious.