GREYSON FLETCHER INTERVIEW BY DAN LEVY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAN LEVY AND CODY MOYLES
Greyson Fletcher is a name synonymous with style, legacy, and rebellion, and the man behind the mystique is just as cool as you think. He lives and breathes a lifestyle filled with art, skate, surf and gaming and excels at all of them. His counterculture-honed artwork has been featured at the Gagosian in NYC and now adorns his new signature line of Arbor Skateboards. His skateboarding and surfing continues to defy boundaries, push limits and expand the imagination as well as reality. His birthright in “Surfing’s First Family’ is absolute and his search for good waves is a daily endeavor. Greyson leaves blood and sacrifices skin everytime he self-inscribes a line in a pool or park and his all-time goals include one day having a nightclub with the biggest, gnarliest, skatepark built by Dreamland. Read on to learn more about what makes Greyson tick. – INTRODUCTION BY DAN LEVY
DAN LEVY: Let’s jump right in. No long beard. No long hair. What’s going on?
GREYSON FLETCHER: I got lice a few years ago and that was the end of my long hair. I had a long beard for a while. I grew my hair back out again after that, but it got to be a hassle. When I was surfing, I was starting to stand up and then tripping with my hair under my hand on the board and I’d go over the falls. My beard would get stuck in my hands while I was grabbing my rail and that sucked. When I was skating, I’d get sweaty, which is annoying. It was so hot. I had a beard forever and then it became trendy. When I went out, people were coming up to me like, “I like your beard. I like your hair.” I was like “I’ve got to shave this shit off.” Everyone around me started having beards, so I was out. It’s going to come back though. Once I’m 50, I’m never going to cut my hair or beard again. I’ll be riding motorcycles around and surfing and skating too, and I want my hair getting stuck in my bike chains riding motorcycles.
Hair goals. Nice. Does it ever affect your skating and surfing not to have the weight of your hair?
Oh yeah. I feel like I skate and surf so much better now. Imagine paddling around with wet hair. It’s always getting in the way. Plus, to have a beard on top of it, your beard is thicker than your hair, so it’s just a full-blown nightmare. So I cut my hair and I’m loving it. It’s so nice. I’m not hot and sweaty.
Well, low maintenance is easier.
I’m in the ocean every day, so maybe that helps with the beard. The salt cleans it.
So you’ve been surfing every day?
Yeah. Sometimes I surf twice a day. My goal is to be as physical as possible nowadays because I was getting blown out, partying for so many years and skating all hungover, out of my mind, and now I kinda cruise. I’ll drink some beers, but I’m not getting blown out anymore, taking a bunch of tequila shots. My goal nowadays is to surf twice a day and skate a few times a week.
That’s sick. What got you to the breaking point when you were in rager mode?
I just started to realize it became such a habit. I couldn’t do anything without drinking. I wouldn’t. I don’t care who hears this. It’s the truth. I wouldn’t get out of bed without drinking. I had a mini fridge as my night stand. I would drink four beers before getting out of bed in the morning. If I planned on leaving my house to surf at 6:30AM, I would wake up at like 4:30AM to get drunk first.
That’s heavy. You were just in the mode?
Oh yeah. I wanted to be a monster. It’s crazy when you’re around all these gnarly skaters and surfers going huge, skating gnarly. You wanna be gnarly. You’ve got to be gnarly. For a lot of people, if you want to be gnarly good, you’ve got to be getting fucked up. From age 16 to 28, I was in monster mode. Now I drink some beers, here and there, and go skate, and surf and mountain bike every day. I went mountain biking yesterday and it was insane. I rode for miles on trails, up and down.
That’s rad. So you’re a health guy now?
I’m in that mode now and I’m outside all day. At night, I go play pool at the bar or play video games.
Do you eat pretty healthy?
No. I’m just the extreme cardio guy now.
Aren’t you super into video games?
Yeah. I’m having a lot of fun playing New World and Call of Duty: Warzone again
You know how to build computers too?
Yeah. The computer I have right now is sick. I’m thinking about building computers and selling them and taking custom orders.
Are they expensive?
You can build a computer for $800, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000. You can go up and up.
When you get into all of the cooling and how you wrap your wires, it’s an art form.
It’s pretty rad. It’s funny because I’m not a clean guy at all. My room is always messy and my truck always has stuff laying around in it, but not my computer setup. I’m super into cable management. I’m always hiding my wires as well as possible and tying them down to stuff, making sure it’s a clean look. I have my computer in my closet right now and I have clothes all over the floor in my room. My closet is all nice, but everything else is absolutely a wreck. It’s pretty funny. On the back of my computer, I don’t have the glass, so there is just all of these cords all over in the back, but they’re neatly managed. I just went to a wireless headset and wireless mouse, and I can’t believe how good the wireless mouse is nowadays for computers. They are faster and better and more precise than the wired version of the mouse. It’s crazy because I used to play on the computer, when I was a kid, and the mouse ball would always get tracked up with dust and hair. You had to take it out and roll it around on a mat to clean it. When the mouse came out without the ball, that sucked. They would always glitch in games and stuff. Now I’m completely wireless. It’s crazy how much tech is changing this world for the better and for the worse also. There’s pros and cons to it.
What are those?
To me, it’s ruining kids’ lives because kids aren’t going outside anymore. They sit inside on their mom’s phone or their phones. They don’t meet up as much in person because they can just meet up online. They’re talking on Facetime all of the time, and just looking at weird stuff on the internet that they shouldn’t be looking at. People post on their Instagrams and it’s basically their highlight life, and that’s not real. All these kids are looking at all of these Instagrams like, “Look at how pretty this girl is. Look at how much money this guy has. Look at this person doing all of this stuff all the time.” They don’t get it. This person is getting paid to be looking pretty all the time. The people with the money, a lot of times it’s not even their money. It’s corrupt. People are trying to do so much stuff nowadays that we don’t do anything. It’s just a life highlight reel. I can see why those people post that stuff though. Being a professional skateboarder, I don’t post clips that I think are whatever. It has to be a somewhat decent clip. I don’t want to post a clip on the internet of something I feel is stupid so, of course, it’s going to be a highlight reel.
You’re a pro skateboarder, so what you’re posting is gnarly skateboarding. It’s not you standing in front of a Lamborghini. The stuff that you’re doing is uniquely unattainable by a lot of people. It’s like, “Look at what Greyson just did. I wish I could do that. I’m going to start skating to figure out if I can.” It’s different with skating clips.
I guess I am a part of the problem though because I post like all of the athletes that are posting their top notch stuff. Even if it’s just whatever clips for them, they still tried it more than once. It’s not just the first try. People don’t understand that and that doesn’t help either. You know how many times I’ll go to the skatepark and get unmotivated to skate or I’m just not in a good place that day? You know how many times I’ll go skating and not even feel like I wanna try anything and I just kinda mope around and cruise, but people see stuff that’s sick all the time on your Instagram, so they probably think that every session you’re feeling good, and you’re stoked to be there skating, which is not the case. You have to power through those days. Sometimes you go through a month where you don’t really feel like skating is as enjoyable to you. You’re having problems and easy tricks are difficult to do and you’re just in a funk, but you gotta push through those days and remember that you have to work hard to stay at your level. If you can get through the times when you’re feeling shitty on your board, there will be times that you feel good on your board soon enough and you gotta have your muscles strong for those opportunities.
“I helped design a shape and did the artwork, so I’m psyched. I know my board, nose to tail. Arbor is super environmentally friendly and they farm trees as part of the Give Back Program, which is really cool too. They’re not just chopping down trees and killing forests.”
That’s a really good point because a lot of people don’t push through sessions. They show up and they’re like, “Damn! I can’t do my go-to trick. I’m out.”
It’s frustrating. For as long as you’re skating bad, for those days, weeks, and months, then you’re going to have those days, weeks, months where you’re on fire and you’re ripping every session. You wanna be prepared for those days, so you go skate every day. Go surf, skate, mountain bike, run and do push ups and everything. As long as you stay ready, when you are having those days and weeks that you’re on fire, you’re ready for it and you are stoked. You’re like, “Here we go. This is what I’ve been waiting for.”
Sometimes, from how I feel on my first ollie, I kinda know how the rest of the day is going to go. Do you have that?
Yeah. Sometimes your board feels weird under your feet. It’s hitting different parts of your feet. Your feet are never in the right spot and you gotta force them into the right spot. I can tell instantly, when I step on my board, how it feels. When it feels like I can’t touch the middle of my board, I know I’m going to have a weird day skating.
Do you automatically go into the mode of not doing anything gnarly that day or do you just let the session tell you?
I just cruise and see what happens. If I’m annoyed, I gotta give it an extra push those days. Then you’re back to ripping and it’s like, “I’m skating good right now. What was I tripping on early? I must have been in a weird mood.”
Every skateboarder can relate to that, but no one really talks about it.
Yeah. Skating wasn’t like that in my eyes before. Skating was about doing the gnarliest trick and not working out and just getting hammered before you skate. I’d basically impair myself as much as I could and then try to rip. Now, because I’m 30 years old, my brain works a little better. I go skating, surfing, running and cross training and it’s all cool because my body is going to be able to push skating harder than ever. If you ride a bike and go running all of the time, you’re going to be skating so much better than you ever dreamed.
It’s crazy. Ten years ago, people used to give Danny Way shit for working out and getting himself in shape to jump the Great Wall of China. Now more people seem to embrace that part of skating.
I want to be a big influence to go and do that type of shit, instead of being an idiot and skating and smashing beer bottles at walls.
Well, your style of skating is very free form and you definitely have a big impact. You’re not like the contest guy. You’re the guy that shows up anywhere and does shit that no one else has ever done at that spot. Is that on purpose?
It’s just the way I am. I never decided to do anything different. I’m definitely not a contest guy because I’m not consistent enough, but I like to push myself, so that helps. It’s easier going on skate trips with my team than going to contests.
The contest game is a whole different game. It’s like the Olympics. It’s such a different mentality.
There are going to be a lot of people that are going to be skating and surfing, that never would’ve done it if they didn’t see it on the Olympics. Those kids that are gonna start skating, since they saw it on the Olympics, might have a hidden talent that they never would have found. They may end up bringing skateboarding to a new level and they wouldn’t have touched a skateboard before if they didn’t see it in the Olympics.
My prediction is the next phenom is going to come from the most unexpected place.
I think Japan. They already are killing it, but I think Japan is going to take it to an extra next level.
It’s funny that you say that because you know Takuji Masuda and Ryji Masuda. Takuji has been saying forever that the Japanese kids are training to skate, but they are also all about the culture of skateboarding. How do you feel about how the culture of skateboarding is going to pan out from all of this?
I have no idea. Personally, I want to see something new done to the skateboard. It’s been the same shape for a long time now and it’s been the same material, which is just maplewood. Since skateboarding is in the Olympics now, I’m hoping there will be bigger factors than we have had in our lives in skateboarding. Maybe Elon Musk will get involved with helping design a new skateboard because he sees it in the Olympics. With the Olympics, there are lots of companies coming in that never would have been in skateboarding. It’s more corporate. It’s not so much like the crash test dummies. It’s a lot different now. Elon Musk could end up making a new skateboard that’s super high tech, light and more aerodynamic with wires in it that have technology to manipulate the air around it while it’s moving. I’m interested to see if stuff starts popping out like that. What’s trippy is that the Olympic contests are making skateboarders wear helmets and skaters are so against helmets. If helmets are required to skate in the Olympics, maybe people will do gnarlier stuff because they’re not afraid to hit their head.
Pedro Barros wore a helmet and kneepads at the Olympics. I was like, “Oh, Pedro is getting serious.” You know how much higher he can blast with kneepads on. It’s insane.
For me, before the Olympics, kneepads and helmets were so lame. Now I’m like “Okay, let’s see.” If Pedro wears kneepads in a contest and he is going a foot higher than he’s already been going, I have nothing but huge respect for him. Even back in the day, Hosoi and Hawk and everybody else knew it was a given. Everyone wore kneepads and a helmet and no one said shit. It’s weird. It’s an interesting topic. The street skaters didn’t have to wear helmets in the Olympics and the street course is more tech. Some of the guys are going 10 feet in the air and they’re going faster than the speed limit on the regular street. They are probably going 30 MPH. If you crash your car at 25 MPH, you’re probably not that stoked. Any crash skating that fast without helmets and pads, it’s fucked. I’m probably not going to wear a helmet, but who knows down the road? Guys might start going bigger and, if they don’t wear a helmet, it’s not my problem, but I hope people are safe. I don’t want to see my friends getting smoked.
“The first concert I went to was a Motorhead concert in Australia, when I was nine years old. My dad ripped the filters out of cigarettes and stuck them in my ears as earplugs because Motorhead is loud. Lemmy was the king of metal and rock n’ roll.”
Yeah. It’s heavy. Let’s talk about your art. Did you get into doing art from spending time with your grandparents who are both artists or was it just your thing that you found?
I’ve done art forever, on and off, in my life, just randomly. My Grandpa and Grandma have always done art, since before I was born, and I’m sure before my dad was born too. I got hurt in April 2019 and couldn’t skate for eight months because I tore all of the ligaments in my ankle, so I had all of this down time. I was on crutches after surgery for a few months at my Grandma’s house, and my Grandpa was having this art show at this gallery in New York City called the Gagosian, so I was just doing some art while my Grandpa and Grandma were doing art. I wanted to make something like a sculpture that people could look at through my eyes to see how I see skateboarding. I wanted to recreate a backyard pool, so I had this idea to have a wooden box that you hang on the wall and have it look like a backyard pool. I cut a deathbox into it, then I put pool coping on top of it with tile on it. I called it “The Deathbox”. To me when you skate in a backyard pool, you wanna hit the deathbox. That’s always your number one goal. I thought the deathbox was very important, being a transition skater, so I was like, “Backyard pool, deathbox, art piece, sick!” I even put a light in it that works. I built a little ramp that can be screwed into it and I skated it a little bit too. I did a little rock and roll on it. It’s very hard to skate.
How big was it?
It was like nine feet tall. I had that in the Gagosian show with my Grandpa, so I was stoked that I got to be a part of that.
Amazing. I didn’t know you did sculpture. I just thought that you did paintings.
I do whatever. With Arbor Skateboards, I’m doing graphics. I have my own boards with two graphics. One graphic comes in 8.25, 8.5 and an 8.75 and each one has a different color. I think that’s pretty cool. The other graphic is a collector graphic. It’s a 3-board piece, like a wall hanger. You can skate it too, if you just buy a single one of those. It’s sick. I’m going to hang the 3-piece one in my house, and then get some of my friends’ boards around it too.
Sick. Let’s rewind for a second. Before you started riding for Arbor, you were riding for Element. What happened?
The whole team was quitting, so I quit. Everyone left, like Julian Davidson and Mason Silva and Nyjah and pretty much everybody, except for Tom Schaar and Brandon Westgate. My contract was up at the same time as everybody else’s and everyone bailed and so did I. I was like, “I’m bailing too, I guess.” I didn’t want to get stuck on a team by myself.
How important is it to you to be on a team with a crew that you are down with?
Well, there hasn’t been skate trips lately, so I don’t know. Hopefully, we get a skate trip rolling here soon. I like to go skate with Josh Stafford. He’s fun to skate with. This COVID stuff put a wrench in the skateboarding program for a little bit, but skating is coming back stronger than ever.
It seems like everybody kept skating.
Well, that’s the funniest part – not everyone kept skating. They were used to being gone so much and a lot of the guys in their early and mid-twenties are now starting to see the world outside of skating and they are seeing things that aren’t just skating that you can do. I think a lot of people took some time off and just partied a bunch. I’m stuck in San Clemente and I don’t use my phone really, so I just meet up with friends around town and I skate and surf with them. I’ll tell you what. Ryan Decenzo, he lives in San Clemente, and he’s been skating more than ever. I think a lot of people just haven’t been skating as much because they haven’t had to. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the contests. I bet there are some people who are pretty rusty.
Yeah. I think it will all come back again bigger than ever. So we’ve been looking at skateboarding across all generations and your age bracket is different than like your nephews, Lazer and Jetson, who are dropping in and just killing it.
Yeah. I think Lazer and Jetson are going to be really gnarly.
Definitely. They are hilarious too and now they have their own show.
Yeah. They’re so funny. Jetson is a lunatic. Their show is super rad. It’s on Youtube and it’s called the Lazer and Jetson Show. Check it out. Nathan is the coolest dad ever. He literally takes them everywhere to skate and surf. He’s out of his mind with his kids. He’s constantly bringing them everywhere.
That’s rad. The Fletcher family tradition of surf and skate carries on. You all come from hell of a skate and surf family.
They keep it real.
Have you ever skated the Mega Ramp?
No. I wanna hit that thing so bad.
Elliot has one at his house. With your style, you could easily skate that thing.
I didn’t grow up skating vert. I’ve skated vert less than ten times in my life. I could hit the gap, but there’s no way I’m going to hit that vert ramp. I’d pop out and do a Jake Brown on accident, because I don’t know how to bonk my air. I don’t know how to do a backside air on a vert ramp. The ramp is like 20 feet tall and they go like 60 feet.
It’s insane, right? I didn’t realize that you don’t really skate vert. Do you not like it?
I never liked it. I’d always skate the mini-ramp, the flow park course, launch ramps and quarter pipes.
You early ollie on everything. Wow.
That’s why I can’t bonk airs. I don’t know how.
For pools, it’s perfect because you can ollie the top of the transition and you’re still going to be way above coping, but your control is from the transition, not the top of the pool. It’s an art form. You have way more control. It’s such a hard thing to do and you’re naturally doing it.
It’s better for me under nine feet. Once it gets to nine feet, clicking your tail starts to get weird.
You’re pulling into the flat too much.
You early ollie everything. That’s so rad, but the Mega is going to be a nightmare.
How weird is that? I don’t know how to bonk. Backside is the worst. Frontside I can do it, if I get lucky sometimes, but backside I really gotta ollie.
It’s so much harder to ollie a backside air than it is to bonk one.
That’s what everyone says, but not for me. I must ollie backside, otherwise there’s no chance.
Don’t ever change that. Backside airs are amazing, but there is not as much style to it as when you ollie them. The way your back foot has to bend when you ollie one to keep it, it’s one of the best things ever.
Ollies are pretty insane and definitely fun. When you click the tail backside, your board falls off your feet way easier. I don’t know how to grab backside either. Usually, if it’s a big wall that I’m hitting, I’m just going to backside ollie nose grab.
What’s your favorite terrain to skate?
I like skating weird stuff. My favorite thing to skate is wooden mini-ramps with crazy extensions and weird stuff on them. I also like skating big concrete skateparks like Lincoln City or Newberg.
Those parks are gnarly and humongous and they’re laid out with mini hits and big hits on the same hit.
Yeah. There’s a whole bunch of shit that you can do, deep or small, going fast. Red is a genius. It’s funny because they only got to build one skatepark for the Vans Park Series because they weren’t supposed to build a wall bigger than nine feet in Europe. Dreamland built the park in Malmo, Sweden, and one of the walls was probably 15-feet tall with a box on top of it. They build the best shit ever. One day I hope to have a skatepark built by Dreamland. That’s an all-time goal of mine. My big goal is to have a nightclub with a skatepark and have a house in the back. I want to have it built so gnarly where they’re going to have to come to skate my skatepark because it’s so gnarly. I want the biggest, gnarliest skatepark possible. I want people to come get broke off at my park. I want a nightclub and a skatepark and I want part of the skatepark to go under the nightclub, so that you can see it from the second story. I want there to be 15-foot walls with huge launch ramps too.
That would be sick! Okay, so you’re riding for Arbor, RVCA, Independent and OJ’s?
Yep. I also ride for 805 and I-SEA Sunglasses.
What shoes are you on right now?
I’m on Vans flow right now, cruising.
Nice. Right after Element, you started your own thing for a minute.
Yeah. I quit Element and started painting my own skateboards. I was doing that for a year and then Arbor hit me up and said, “Do you wanna ride for Arbor?” They were down to let me do my own graphics for my boards and I was like, “Okay, that’s pretty sick.” Arbor is super environmentally friendly and they farm trees as part of the Give Back Program, which is really cool too. They’re not just chopping down trees and killing forests. Arbor is known to be good with wood and craftsmanship.
Their snowboards are insane too and they wanted someone rad who skates and snowboards and you’re perfect.
I’m stoked. I also want to work on improving the skateboard with them and trying some carbon fiber, which is something that works well. I have some really good ideas and I talked to Bob from Arbor about it and, hopefully, it works out. There have been companies that have messed around with carbon fiber, but the boards feel waterlogged. I’m pretty sure that mine are not going to feel like that. Skateboarding hasn’t really worked with that stuff much, whereas people have been working with carbon fiber forever with surfboards. I’m always paying attention to surfboards that have different tech in them and taking notes and ideas for how I can help improve the skateboard. If I can, I’m so stoked. If not, at least I tried and gave it my best effort. I want to do it for myself so I have better boards to ride and for everyone else too.
What goes into making a graphic for you?
It’s funny because I had paintings that I did already and the guys at Arbor put them on boards for me. Those things are so sick! It came about easy and the art team helped out too. I did the art and then they added background colors for me, so it was a little mini-collab. It’s rare that people get to work on their graphics and design them themselves. I’m stoked when I have a good-looking board under my feet. I’m like “Okay, let’s go.”
What size board do you ride?
8.25. I helped design a shape and did the artwork, so I’m psyched. I know my board nose to tail.
That’s cool. With the precision skating that you do, it’s got to be right.
Yep. You gotta feel good if you want to skate good.
I’m stoked for you. Let me ask you some quick-fire questions. Best surf movie?
The first and second Wave Warriors movies are two of my favorites. I used to get weirded out to claim something that was made by my family as my personal favorite or what I think is the best, but I highly believe Wave Warriors is the all-time best surfing movie ever made.
“I like anything that P-Stone filmed back in the day, like Beer Helmet and Keg Killer is the best.”
Yes! How about best skate movie?
I like anything that P-Stone filmed back in the day, like Beer Helmet and Keg Killer, is the best. I watched all of them when I was a kid. Those are the only skate videos I like to watch.
Shoutout to P-Stone. R.I.P. Okay, best skate stickers of all time?
I’m going to go with all of the stickers that I put on my board because they back me, so I back them.
What’s the first punk show you went to?
The first concert I ever went to was a Motorhead concert in Australia, when I was nine years old. My dad was smoking cigarettes and he ripped the filters out of the cigarettes and stuck them in my ears as earplugs because Motorhead is loud. Lemmy was the king of metal and rock n’ roll.
Absolutely. What’s your favorite band?
It’s Motorhead, if it’s an all-time choice. It used to be Bolt Thrower. All of their albums are really good. You can’t really not want Motorhead albums though. I’m sorry to all of the other bands because Motorhead just ripped those bands apart. Lemmy was the most badass guy on the mic ever. His voice was insane and his band absolutely destroyed it.
What about a band that you didn’t get to see that you wish you’d seen?
There’s a lot of those. I never really go to concerts because all of the bands that I wanted to see are broken up or dead. I went on a concert mission one year and I saw Slayer and Ted Nugent. I’d like to see Iron Maiden.
Yeah. Favorite skate photo of all time?
It’s a photo of my uncle doing a big ollie fakie on a mini-ramp over where my great-grandma’s house is. I used to stay at my grandma’s house when I was a little kid growing up and I would always see that photo. I was obsessed with it because I was like, “He looks so high in the air and to come back in switch.” I was like, “What the fuck?” It’s funny because I used to see him do that big ollie fakie and, when I was nine years old, I used to do big ollie melon fakies. I’d always be psyched on that photo, but I was always scared to come in switch too big without grabbing, so I would do melons. I want to start doing melon fakies again. That trick is sick.You can get so high doing that trick and slob fakies.
What’s the coolest looking skate trick?
It’s gotta be the old trick, the ollie north over a hip or something. I think that’s my favorite trick. I did it in the video game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, and I was like “I’m going to learn how to do that.” Then I learned it and I was obsessed with that trick.
You do them super late. It’s the sickest. You wait until your board levels and then you kick it, which is way harder and a better way to do it.
What’s the best thing about being a skateboarder?
It’s always having a good crew around you, and nothing but love and fun times ahead. You also got the other side of it where, if shit is going down in the world, I’d want all my friends around and everyone around Camp Pendleton too. Those guys are badass too. I think everyone should have respect for their country’s heroes. When I was growing up, a lot of people in my town were like, “Fuck the guys in the Navy.” Those guys are gnarly though. Those guys make it so that I can go out and skateboard and feel safe. If those guys didn’t exist, I probably wouldn’t be skating all the time.
What’s your favorite DIY spot?
Burnside is so good. It was built back in the day, so it’s the forefront and evolutionary. It was meant to be super gnarly back then, but nowadays it’s not super gnarly. It’s not like Washington Street that has gnarly, huge walls. For me, Burnside is more fun. The big walls they have aren’t too steep and they don’t have crazy chunky coping on the bank wall. I think Burnside was the first real DIY. It was revolutionary and it paved the way for every skatepark that Grindline and Dreamland built. I’m just glad Burnside is there.
Yes. What are your thoughts on wave pools versus regular surfing?
Wave pools are fun, I think it’s definitely going to take surfing to the next level because you can try and air sections a million times in a row. Rent out a wave pool for a day. It’s expensive, but you’re going to gain a lot of skill and knowledge out of it. It’s already progressing surfing because look at the girls going in the wave pool. They’re ripping and doing huge airs now. It’s crazy. Even the little girls are boosting big airs now. It’s sick. Sierra Kerr and Bella Kenworthy are two girls in surfing that are getting really gnarly airs. I went to the wave pool and saw Sierra Kerr while she was there. I went with some friends, Zeke and Alex Sorgente, and we met with Josh Kerr, his daughter and his wife. They were all super cool. His daughter, Sierra, was absolutely ripping, doing big tweaked airs and now she’s been doing them in the ocean too. Everytime I see her on Instagram, I’m always really psyched for her. I’m a big fan.
That’s awesome! There are so many girls ripping in skateboarding as well. Is there anyone that stands out to you?
Lizzie Armanto has always been super gnarly and Mami Tezuka that rides for Blood Wizard is gnarly.
Do you ever compete in surfing contests?
I did, when I was a kid. My grandpa made me and it was full-on embarrassment. I wouldn’t paddle out past the whitewash because I didn’t know how to surf. It’s so funny, I’d have to be surfing heats against Zeke Lau, who looks like a Spartan version of Hawaii. He’s just a gnarly surfer. I used to have to surf heats against Zeke Lau and Koa Rothman and Eli Olson and John John Florence and Ford Archbold. My grandma would be yelling at me from the beach like, “Paddle out!” I’d be in the white water on the inside. I didn’t even know how to duck dive, my board was too big to duck dive.
You spent a lot of time with John John and all of those cats too, right?
I was born in San Clemente, but I grew up inland with my mom skating a lot. I moved back to the beach when I was 20. I pretty much quit surfing at nine years old and started surfing again when I was 22, but I’ve been doing it every day since then.
“I highly believe Wave Warriors is the all-time best surfing movie ever made.”
Do you think it helps your skating?
Completely. My legs are so much stronger from it. I don’t know if my legs are stronger from surfing or skating, but I think skating does make your legs stronger. You use different muscles and my legs don’t get tired skating because I’m so used to it. When I’m surfing, my legs get tired just walking in the sand at the beach and kicking in the water. Standing up and pumping on a surfboard uses way more muscle then it takes skating because you’re fighting the water. It’s all moving around, so there’s bumps and your legs are jolting while you’re trying to pump around and turn. It’s a gnarly workout for your legs. I just don’t have the lifetime experience on a surfboard and that’s why it makes my legs more sore than skating maybe.
You probably also go hard at it.
I try. I surf a lot of shore break, so I’ll go to Wedge and surf a lot. I don’t wear a leash and my board washes up on the sand and then I have to swim in, get my board and walk back up the beach to paddle out for every wave, so it’s an extreme workout.
You’ve been with RVCA for a long time. Do they ever let you design clothes?
Yeah. I designed my pants that were sick and they were the top selling pants for RVCA. They had camo on them. Hopefully, I get another line of clothes with them. I’ve got some ideas for some pants and shirts. I want to see if RVCA would be down to make a little bit heavier version of their regular jeans, for the heavier duty guys, like the guys who work construction and skate. I love jeans, but I wouldn’t mind them being a little thicker. I wear function over fashion. I pretty much only wear the RVCA shirts that are thicker. I like to wear heavy duty jeans and shirts. I wear it for safety, not to look good. I wear it so my jeans and shirts don’t rip when I fall skating. I want protection.
You were doing announcing on Twitch at the Vans Park Series? Do you enjoy that?
It was cool. I was stoked to get to interview my friends, and I’m a skateboarder so, if I’m on the microphone explaining shit, you can best believe it’s coming from a real skater.