• About A Space: Beamer Wilkins' Westfalia Van

    From Santa Cruz to Big Sur, the one constant in Beamer Wilkins' life has been his vintage Westfalia van — filled with travel relics, home for his surfing gear, room for all his friends, and (most importantly) packed with travel memories from years of discoveries. Find out more about van life, and read on to follow Beamer and his trusty Westfalia on a trip to scope out the best surf.
    Photos by Daniel Dent

    As a Texas high schooler, Beamer dropped out of school in 11th grade to start his first company, and moved to the Bay Area to be closer to the tech scene. Since then, he's had a hand in conceiving of and building a bunch of different companies, including his newest venture, WUT, an anonymous messaging app that started out as a joke between Beamer and his friends but quickly turned into a real-life business. He’s also working on a new surf-centric project, Paradise Intl., a place to create and sell his own surf clothes and accessories. 

    Since he got started, Beamer's prerogative has been working for himself and finding ways to create a schedule that allows him to hit the road at a moment's notice...made much easier in his '86 Volkswagen Westfalia, which he bought six years ago in San Francisco for "next to nothing" and now keeps permanently parked in front of his apartment. "It’s been through every inch of California many times over...It’s been really good to me," he explains. 

    Beamer takes day trips at least once a week to the coast if the surf's good, and in the past has regularly been on the road two weeks out of every month, regularly traveling up and down Highway 1 and 101 to surf and visit friends (in fact, when you read this he'll be headed on a trip south to San Diego by way of Santa Barbara, Malibu, LA, and Orange County). "I’ve got clusters of friends all down the coast so it's the best to spend three days or so on each little stop." 

    What is your favorite spot to surf?
    I generally go to Santa Cruz or Bolinas every week, but SC is my main spot.

    How many people have you piled into the van?
    Comfortably? [Laughs.] I've been known to pile in eight people plus surfboards, but it comfortably sleeps four. 

    You have a lot of personal affects on the dash...what always stays in the van?
    Everything in the van got there on a trip...and never left. Some favorite items a Kachina doll from a roadside stop, some instant photos, and a little leather pouch full of my "spirit stones" that I got in Joshua Tree. The woman who was selling them picked out this assortment for me, one to help with sleep, one for stress.

    What are your road trip essentials? 
    I eat a lot of junk food on the road. Basically Combos and Red Bull. And a head lamp is always required — I use the Poler glow in the dark one. The van has been modified with an auxiliary battery that everything runs off of except the engine, but for worst case scenario I ave a solar iPhone charger that’s pretty dope.

    What’s the weirdest place the van has ever been?
    Well nothing’s weirder than the Salton Sea. Another time, we slept in the parking lot of an all-girl private college until the security guard knocked on the window and woke us up at 3am...it felt like a scene out of an 80s movie.

    What are some of the most memorable trips its been on? 
    My transmission exploded just south of Trestles once due to a faulty part...that was no fun. Coming up Highway 1, we went up into a fireball of smoke. I ended up getting stuck down there, and couch surfed for a few weeks while they completely rebuilt the van in San Clemente. 

    Another time a couple years ago at Rincon I took a board to the head, and the van took a trip to the ER with a buddy driving me to the Santa Barbara Hospital. 

    Beamer's on-the-road playlist:

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