Carter Slade Surf Skate Style



When did you first hear of SurfSkate style?

It was probably from Jeff Ho in the Zephyr days. He was always big on style. He’d say “If you can’t do it with style, don’t bother doing it.” There has always been a blurred line between the two sports. In the late ‘70s, we would skate Paul Revere and Kenter school banks. They were shaped like big waves, and we would go do our surf moves on the concrete in the afternoon when the surf was bad. Good style was something we all worked on and was a result of the many hours we practiced copying our heroes’ styles from the movies and magazines.

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

It’s having a smooth, powerful, eye-pleasing technique. Speed. Power. Flow. There is no hiding it when you step on a board. Either you have it or you don’t. Jim Muir would yell, “Split Cockroach!” at MDR skatepark to people with bad style. Bertlemann and Buttons were the original SurfSkate style masters in the ‘70s. In the ‘80s, Polar Bear, Shogo Kubo and Jay Adams were my favorites. No one did frontside grinds with his fist out or could do a soul arch off the bottom the way that Jay Adams did! And no one did surf style laybacks in a pool like Shogo! In the ‘90s, you had Christian Fletcher and Nathan Fletcher who took surf skate style to its zenith! Christian Fletcher deserves more credit for bringing airs into surfing. I can’t leave Martin Potter out. He had one of the best SurfSkate styles ever! It’s funny because guys like Hosoi never really surfed, but have great surf style when they skate. On the other side, Natas Kaupas was a good surfer, but had a skate style when he surfed.

How has surfing influenced skateboarding, and skateboarding influenced surfing?

I think surfing definitely influenced skateboarding in the beginning, but as people started pushing the sport into the air, the focus came back to the skaters for innovation and inspiration. It really opened the minds of most surfers that the tricks skaters were doing could be done on surfboards as well. It took a while for them to catch on, but now it’s everywhere you look. All the big tricks in surfing today were originally created by skateboarders. It’s great that everyone has their own way of standing on a board and that’s what makes their style unique. Now you have guys like John John Florence and Kalani David who can boost on a surf or skateboard with equal ease. I think it gives them a big advantage. Chris Miller and Curren Caples are gnarly crossover guys, and Steve Olson is pretty rad too.

Is SurfSkate style important today?

Style is everything. More kids today should work on their stance and style before they learn to do a chop hop or an ollie. Then I can stop yelling, “Split cockroach!” Ha!

Carter Slade. Speed. Power. Flow. There is no hiding it when you step on a board. Photo © Dennis Merryman


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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