Brandon Cruz Surf Skate Style



When did you first hear of SurfSkate style?

I can’t remember the exact time that I heard the phrase. Growing up on the beach, skating and goofing off, it just seemed to be around all the time. We rode “tubes” as we skated, tucking under bushes, and stuff like that.

What does SurfSkate style mean to you and who has the best surf skate style?

It means style, period. The best skaters flow like surfers, and the best surfers rip like skaters. Let’s start with the surfers who skated and pushed it, because that was the root of it. There was Herbie Fletcher in that pool, and Skip Frye, who still has the most soul, and, obviously, Larry Bertlemann, Buttons and Mark Liddell were the guys we copied. Skating has a move named for a surfer. Does surfing have a move named for a skater? Surfers kind of ollie, but what else? Great stylish skaters are usually the ones who surf a lot, too. Jay was the raddest. TA, Scott Oster, John Stevenson, Jack Waterman, Shogo Kubo, Wally Inouye, Jay Smith – it’s just there. Style can be copied, but it looks like it’s forced. Surf style is there if you’re there, mentally. It’s instinct. Pedro looks like he’s surfing a big ass wave. Jeff Tatum has style. Olson has style. Duane Peters may not surf much, but that dude is style.

How has surfing influenced skateboarding, and skateboarding influenced surfing?

Surfers started skateboarding. The Hiltons, George Trafton, Skip Frye, Herbie Fletcher, those guys set the surf style for skaters, then came Bertlemann. We have the bert. Carving a bowl or a pool, we copied Gerry Lopez. Style and flow. Surfing was calm in the eye of the storm. Skating was there, and then the ‘70s happened, and the boundaries were pushed. Bertlemann went to the air, Kevin Reed, Davey Smith, and so did Jay, Shreddi and Tony Alva. We started sliding, carving harder, hitting coping, flyaways, then they were getting landed. Surfers saw that air was possible. It was a trade back and forth. Christian Fletcher took the air game higher in surfing, copying ollies, throwing back to skaters like George Orton, Jay Adams, Chris Strople, (the alley oop) and Wally, who got insanely high and stylish. Now skaters are setting the bar for what’s radical with the 900, the 1080, Pedro Barros 12’ everywhere, and the surfers, air reverses every wave, rodeo flips, freak mutant waves, everyone is charging. It’s gotten more dangerous than ever. 60’, 70’ waves and bigger, Jaws, jumping off of buildings, nuts.

Is SurfSkate style important today?

Style isn’t important. It’s mandatory. Why do something if you’re not going to respect the roots? Our roots are from gnarly guys who pushed shit as far as they could, and then passed it on to the new crew. Keep passing it on, or get an SUP or a scooter, and stay out of our way.

Brandon Cruz. Photo © Ismael Hernandez


The influence of surfing on skateboarding has been discussed since the beginning of both, yet we have now entered a new era, where skateboarding has returned the favor with its own unique influence on the surfing world. In order to get to the core of this cross over and to try to define the origins and current state and status of surf skate style, we’ve interviewed some of the most innovative skateboarders, surfers, artists, documentarians, photographers, filmmakers and musicians on the planet. In honor of the great, Shogo Kubo, who once said, “To me, style is everything…” welcome to our exploration of Surf Skate Style featuring interviews with Aaron Murray, Aaron Astorga, Abraham Paskowitz, Art Brewer, Bennett Harada, Brad Bowman, Brandon Cruz, Brian Brannon, Carter Slade, Chris Miller, Chris Strople, Christian Fletcher, Christian Hosoi, Craig Stecyk III, Darren Ho, Dave Tourje, David Hackett, Dennis Martinez, Dibi Fletcher, Don Redondo, Eric Britton, Garrett McNamara, Gerry Lopez, Glen E. Friedman, Greg Falk, Greg Galbraith, Greyson Fletcher, Herbie Fletcher, James O’Mahoney, Jef Hartsel, Jeff Ament, Jeff Divine, Jeff Ho, Jim Fitzpatrick, Jim Gray, John Van Hamersveld, Jonathan Paskowitz, Josh “Bagel” Klassman, Kalani David, Keith Morris, Kirra Kehoe, Larry Bertlemann, Laura Thornhill, Lizzie Armanto, Marc Emond, Michael Denicola, Michael Early, Nano Nobrega, Nathan Fletcher, Nathan Florence, Neil Stratton, Norton Wisdom, Pat Bareis, Randy Katen, Ray Flores, Rob Nelson, Robert Trujillo, Scott Oster, Shane Allen, Shaun Tomson, Shota Kubo, Solo Scott, Stacy Peralta, Steve Alba, Steve Olson, Takuji Masuda, Terry Nails, Tim Curran, Tim Hendricks, Tim Kerr, Tom Groholski, Tony Alva, Wes Humpston and Zach Miller.


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