Chris Miller Surf Skate Style



When did you first hear of SurfSkate style?

I’m not sure I ever heard the term specifically until much later. I lived in Santa Monica until I was in about 5th grade. It was right about the time I started skating and you couldn’t not be aware of SurfSkate style at that time. Skating was an extension of surfing and the influence of the Dogtown scene was strong. I was too young to know those guys, but I knew about them. I remember seeing photos of Alva and Jay Adams in the mags and idolizing them. I didn’t even surf at the time, but I wanted to, so skating was my surfing. The driveways and alleys of Santa Monica were my waves.

What does SurfSkate style mean to you?

I guess it’s just a flowing style. Maybe a certain  relaxed and smooth style and approach.

Who has the best SurfSkate style?

Obviously, the original people I’m aware of are Stacy Peralta, Jay Adams and Tony Alva. Then there’s some more obscure examples from that era, like Kevin Reed and Davey Smith, who were incredible surfers and some of the first guys ever to do airs consistently in surfing. Nowadays, I think of Curren Caples, Greyson Fletcher and my son, Zach Miller… All great styles and all influenced by surfing.

How has surfing influenced skateboarding and how has skateboarding influenced surfing?

Skating is surfing’s younger brother, but, of course, it became its own thing with its own culture. With the limitless constant of an urban environment and the culture of an illegal street activity, skateboarding seems to be slightly darker, grittier and more rebellious. Also from a performance perspective, skateboarding is more creative and innovative. Surfing is now very influenced by skating in that regard, but if you look at performance and airs in surfing, it’s basically where skateboarding was in the early ‘80s… Way behind. Not just in terms of actual tricks or maneuvers, but in the mindset and approach to waves. That said, it’s a really exciting time in the world of performance surfing because it’s progressing so fast. There’s so much room to innovate and you can see it progress every time someone posts a new clip – better airs, bigger and more of a variety of grabs and rotations. You could argue that the grabs and rotations are more snowboard like than skate.

Is SurfSkate style important today?

Not important really, but I like the influence on skating style. Style and fluidity have sort of become overlooked for both surf and skate, especially in competition. It’s like the powers that be couldn’t figure out how to score style and put a measure to it, so we’ve rewarded some really tech robotic variations as being “best”. However, speaking of skating, when you watch someone like Greyson or Curren skate, it’s just so enjoyable and good. If that natural flow is even more rare than tech tricks, why not reward it more? Not saying that style alone trumps difficulty, but I would rather watch guys like Curren that have the blend of both any day. On the surf/skate front, I think the two will  always have some influence on each other that is positive. The communities where both are accessible will always produce some of the most interesting performers for both. As long as style matters, the surf/skate crossover will mean something.

Chris Miller goes up and out at the legendary Baldy pipe full speed ahead! Photo © J Grant Brittain


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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