Dylan Efron isn’t afraid to be afraid. As the 28-year-old grew up alongside his brother Zac in San Luis Obispo, Calif., he was always finding creative ways to exhaust his never-ending energy. Whether it was rock climbing in the mountains outside of Los Angeles, fly fishing in the rivers around his hometown or running down the golden coast, Efron wasn’t satisfied until he found an activity that challenged him both physically and mentally. He carries that goal-oriented mindset into present day and turned his passion for people, fitness and the outdoors into a career.
His new show ‘Flow State’ takes athletes and celebrities out of their comfort zone and into a world of adventure. Some of the escapades include getting seasick while spearfishing with JuJu Smith-Schuster, off-roading with beach volleyball brothers Maddison and Riley McKibbin, and rock climbing with X Games skater Leticia Bufoni. Upcoming episodes include speed flying with US Army Ranger Pearce Cucchissi on February 9th and late night lobster diving with Mexican-American actor Aaron Diaz.
You will find that Dylan is an interesting character, with a kindness-first way of life and comfort in his own skin. I received the opportunity to speak with Dylan about beating up his older brother, the importance of being a beginner, stepping out from behind the camera, and Firestone Walker beer. Here is our conversation:
Growing up Efron.
Grayson – Your birth name is Nicholas Dyan Harrison Efron. When did you decide to go by Dylan?
Dylan – Confusing, isn’t it? The choice ultimately wasn’t mine, it was my parents. They named me Nicholas, but I’ve always gone by Dylan. Funny story, actually! There was a time in first grade when I had to write out Nicholas and I didn’t know how. I still remember being so embarrassed because I didn’t even know how to spell my own name. I’ve always gone by Dylan. My mom was a big hippie and loved Bob Dylan, so that’s where it came from.
Grayson – Growing up as an Efron, you’ve said before that you were more of the shy guy behind the camera while Zac was more of the showman, if you will. Was that something that you developed by nature of your brother being who he was/is, or were you always the quieter person in the group? I’ve heard that you were always a big jokester in school, so you can’t be a complete introvert.
Grayson – Now you’re in front of the camera, hosting your own show. Has it been difficult to develop that ability to be on-screen, or was it something that came naturally to you as an extroverted person?
Dylan – Definitely not natural. I pretty much didn’t have social media until three years ago, so I think it was a huge change for me to become comfortable being open with the world and sharing my life and my story. I think there was a big breakthrough for me when I realized that I’m comfortable being myself on camera. Zach’s comfortable being other people on camera, he’s so talented at that. There was a time when I would ask myself, “well, Zach’s an actor. Can I do that type of thing?” I don’t think I have that skill, but if you put me in funny situations, I am able to be myself. That was a big realization is that there are different ways to be on screen and make a career than just acting.
Grayson – You and Zac have a five-year age split. My brother and I have that same gap, and I know from my experience that even if he is your best friend, there are times when you’re going to throw hands. Do you remember reaching a point where you could start to handle your own and maybe land some strikes back on the big bro?
Dylan – It was interesting because I was always really big for my age, and Zac was pretty small for his age. We were always fighting with each other. Since I can remember we were going at it… wrestling and punching each other, it was always combative. And then Zac hit puberty, so he got a little bit of a jumpstart on me. There was a year or two in there where all of a sudden he was five inches taller than me and could kick my ass. But I would say that we grew up super combative, just because we’re so different and he was so much older. We were just into different things. And then once I graduated college, Zac really took me under his wing and let me live with him when I got my first job in Los Angeles. He really became that older brother, and that’s when I would say we grew closer than ever. Our relationship was something that developed more as we both became adults and stopped fighting so much.
Grayson – Outside of that year when he had the height advantage, what did the series score look like? Did either of you win the majority of those fights?
Dylan – I did because I was so brutal. I used means I had at my disposal. And being five years younger, it was easy for me to get that first punch in because once he starts beating on me, if all of a sudden it looks like the older brother’s beating up on the younger one. Then my dad would rush in and break it up, so I wouldn’t say that I played fair.
Grayson – Now fast forward… You went to school at Cal Poly for business and economics, which is obviously so different from the career you chose. How did you end up in film and television?
Dylan – I was all set to go to Sacramento to further that economic career. All of my friends were at KPMG and all these big five companies and stuff. But my first boss had a position at Warner Brothers, and he sold me on it as how to make movies from the back end rather than being on screen— which again, I didn’t want to do back then. I found it really interesting, getting to see how a movie’s made from behind the scenes. That really caught my interest because I was incorporating economics and budgets, schedules, etc. That got me over to L.A. and that’s what started this career in film.
Grayson – The production world can be really grueling. Especially a production coordinator, like you were doing. It’s hard. Was it something where you got tired of what you were doing and wanted a change? Or was it always a goal to take what you learned and make it your own?
Finding the Flow State.
Grayson – The active part of your life is super important. Even beyond the rock-climbing, spearfishing and crazier adventures, you’re a big runner and triathlete. Running a sub-three hour Boston Marathon is insane, and you’ve done it two or three times. Did you ever want to pursue that side of fitness professionally?
Grayson – Once you made that transition from behind the camera to in front of the camera, were there any nerves? As you were walking up on the first day to film the first episode of your own show, Flow State, were you freaking out…?
Dylan – Not at all, not at all. It’s just fun. I’m doing things that I would do in my life, except we have cameras with me, so really was like, if I can’t do this, and I definitely can’t be a host. I’m not trying to act, I’m not doing anything that’s foreign to me. It really wasn’t nerve-racking for me.
Grayson – I think that everybody, if they could, would turn their lifestyle in a career. That’s a big thing that you were able to do, but it stems from your passion for living in this “flow state.” Can you talk to me a little bit about what “flow state” means to you and how you got into lifestyle, adventure and the outdoors?
Dylan – I think again, it goes back to having so much energy as a kid. From a young age, my passions have always been fitness and being outside. Not necessarily working out, but just exhausting yourself in whatever it is. That’s what we did for fun growing up. We didn’t have Six Flags or any big concerts to go to in my hometown, it was all about using what was available to us, which was the ocean or the mountains. So Flow State for me was that combination of my friends, fitness and the outdoors. But really, when I think of a “flow state,” I think of pushing myself and being lost in whatever activity I’m doing outside. I normally pin it to a moment where I don’t even know what’s going on, but I’m just giving my 100%. And then I look back so stoked on what I just did.
Grayson – When did you make the big commitment to turning your passion for friends, fitness and the outdoors into a career? It’s a big transition to go from the economics world, to production, to then living half of the year in a van on the road. How did that come together?
Grayson – Let’s talk about the business side of things. You partnered with Firestone Walker to create Flow State. Why were they the perfect brand to team up with?
Dylan – I think my relationship with Firestone Walker works so well because we’re both trying to represent and share our love for the central coast of California, where we both call home. They embody my hometown and their most-famous beer 805 is literally the area code for where I grew up. It’s a very special place that seems to run on a different, slower schedule than the busy life in big cities. I think that bond of our hometown gives us similar values and passions for the outdoors and connecting with people. They’ve been more than a sponsor and have really helped me turn Flow State from an idea, into a series and message I’m proud of.
Grayson – What is your favorite Firestone Walker beer?
Dylan – It’s been the Fly Jack, but they just released the 805 Cerveza, so I’ve been drinking a fair share of those. I’ve always been a big cerveza fan. The Fly Jack is a light IPA, which I enjoy because the really hoppy stuff can get me sometimes. Especially because I’m so active, that I’ll feel a little bit heavy if I have too many heavy drinks. I like the lighter stuff, especially with beers.
Grayson – Two parts here. Of all of the activities you have done on Flow State, and even just in everyday life, what is the one thing that brought, or brings, you the most sense of accomplishment? And what is the coolest thing you’ve done?
Dylan – Honestly, I feel like I’m going to use a little bit of a loophole, because I don’t have a true favorite or moment. I think when I set a goal and dedicate myself towards achieving that goal, it becomes my favorite. For example, I recently had a few projects with rock climbing and I just could not get up there. I tried it and failed. I went back next week and failed. It was something that I kept failing on, but know I can do deep down. It’s the dedication and work that is so incredible for me. That’s when I get most proud of my myself— when I can look back at everything I put into accomplishing something.
Grayson – That makes perfect sense, and I completely agree, but I’m going to pull it out of you. There has to be something where in your head you’re like, “damn, that was the coolest thing I have done in my entire life.”
Dylan – This last year, I went speed flying, which is on one of the upcoming episodes of Flow State. I had no idea what I was getting into and literally didn’t know what speed flying was. Essentially, you have a parachute on your back and you run off the mountain. I went the first day and struggled. I ate crap and it totally beat me up. But then I set that goal. I didn’t wanna be that person who comes once, does the bunny hill and calls it quits. I wanted go up to the top. So I did. I was so scared, but I did it. I flew off the top of the mountain. I would say it was the most emotional, raw, crazy feelings I’ve felt in years because I really was so scared. Once I hit the ground, I was elated. I was high on life.
Grayson – What about location… What’s your favorite place in the world?
Dylan – I have a few. I would say Pokhara, Nepal was incredible. I don’t know if it was the timing for me, or the fact I was with my brother and it felt like a new chapter on life, but Pokhara is a really special place to me. Costa Rica is also a place I’ve been to around 10 times now. I think just the people there are so warm and helpful. You can not speak a lick of Spanish and people will go out of their way to help you. I just love the culture there, I think is so beautiful. And then Mexico. I think Mexico is a place that I’ve traveled to countless times since I was young, and every time I go I’m seeing new areas and learning more Spanish, which is helping me connect to people.
Grayson – Both of those places, you mentioned the Spanish. I saw that you’re trying to learn the language! How is that coming along?
Dylan – It’s tough because I can’t just declare that I’m gonna learn Spanish. I’m not gifted in language or anything, so it’s about using the means I have at my disposal. I have Duolingo on my phone, but the issue with Duolingo is that I feel like I’m getting really good at the app, but I’m not getting any better at Spanish. I’ve got flash cards, which again, I feel like if I learn 20 of them, I’m retaining maybe two of them. I’ve heard that immersion is the best way to do it but I think I’m gonna sign up for an actual college course this year.
Grayson – When you’re not filming Flow State, what does a day in the life of Dylan Efron look like?
Grayson – There are two episodes left in the first season of Flow State, where you go lobster fishing and do that insane speed-flying trip. The next one drops on February 9th and the finale goes live on March 23. When that season wraps, what does the next six months to a year look like?
Dylan – I’m going to be in Australia for the next couple of months. As soon as I get back, I’m ready to start doing Flow State season two. I think all the adventures that we did in season one we were very local and things that I do normally. I would like to take that next step with season two. We’ve talked about diving with sharks and a bunch of stuff that will put me out of my comfort zone on more. We’re looking to take it to the next level.
Slobberknockers. (Heavy hitters)
Grayson – If you had to watch one movie, and only one movie, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Dylan – Goonies is too cliche… Dead Poets Society is one of my favorites, but I don’t know if I could watch that for the rest of my life. If I had to watch one on loop, it would probably be Dumb & Dumber or maybe the first Matrix.
Grayson – I know you’re a big food guy. Do you have a favorite?
Dylan – Tacos. That is my staple. There is a heavy Mexican influence where I grew up, and I played soccer my whole life. So as soon as we’d finish up practice every day, we’d hit the local taco joints. I could eat tacos for every meal.
Grayson – Who wins in a fight: 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?
Dylan – I’m a big Reddit guy, so I’m prepared here. 100 of the duck-sized horses. They would overwhelm the horse-sized duck.
Grayson – The time has come for the most important question of the interview. Is a hot dog a sandwich?
IS A HOT DOG A SANDWICH? 🌭🥪🤔
— Grayson Weir (@GsonJW) February 1, 2021
Grayson – If Dylan Efron had a slogan, or a saying, what would it be?
Dylan – “Be a beginner.” I’m proud of being a beginner with things, and I think it has a negative connotation that you suck at something or that you’re not good enough. But really it’s — you took that first step — which so many people don’t do. Once you begin something, that’s a proud moment, because that’s where the all of the growth starts happening.
To keep up with Dylan’s next adrenaline-seeking adventure, subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter or Instagram. For more exclusive interviews and unmatched #content, follow BroBible on Twitter and keep up with Grayson on the site.