TREVELEN.

  1. I rap on the screen door and there’s a bark on the other side. Except it’s not a dog, it’s a person, and it’s Trevelen. “It’s Bobby!,” I call out. “Oh, it’s just Bobby,” he says to someone. He swings the door wide.
  2. He’s poised and sophic. It’s a strange way to introduce him, but if I told you first impressions, you’d be cheated. You’d be distracted by the gang and prison tattoos that claw around his throat, the “YOUR NEXT” (sic) drilled into his knuckles, charred by violence and labor.
  3. In any other neighborhood or circumstance, maybe you’d be right. Just another west side story.
  4. But the ending is different. A native Hawaiian, Trevelen’s father was a championed surfboard shaper and founding tribesman of North Shore clan Da Hui. The family moved to Southern California, he got crossed up in Sureño gang life, motorcycle “clubs,” and the pen.
  5. By the time he came up for air, he was disciplined as a master bike builder, customizing for Biggie and Tupac.
    Now he wins shows and builds motorcycles for Brad Pitt.
  6. Trevelen is fast approaching 50, but he looks 25 and delivers 75. His speech sifts like gravel, dressed around stories of past lives and hard opinions. There are lots of names that he brandishes like badges. “Boogie Kalama.” “Greg Noll."
    Like breadcrumbs that betray his journey. Pioneering surfers, gangsters, artists, celebrities. It’s a small world and Trevelen holds it together.
  7. You have to be smart to get this, because it all comes down to engineering, and engineering is all about mathematics. He does his best to explain tolerances down to 1/6000s. There's this beautiful intersection between art and arithmetic here, in the most unexpected of places.
  8. “All engines are the same, I don’t care what anyone tells you. Lawn mowers, motorcycles, airplanes, they’re all the same. Three things: something to ignite, something to fuel, and somewhere to exhaust.”
  9. It's all pretty intimidating still.
  10. “It’s just metal. A man is smarter than wood, right?”
  11. This is Trevelen.