Josh “Bagel” Klassman Surf Skate Style



When did you first hear of SurfSkate style?

As long as I can remember. It’s just a term you hear every day growing up in Venice, from the very beginning of that style’s roots to the very present. My dad didn’t surf or skate, but he fully backed that I did. He always talked about style and told me to pay attention to people with good style whether it was surfing, skating, or both. I’d say I was 7 years old when my dad had me watch The Endless Summer with him on TV and all he talked about was watching how these guys turn and how relaxed they look and how they made everything look so effortless. When I was 8-years old, the Marina Skate Park opened and he would take me there and let me do my little kid skating around, and then he would take me to watch the older guys skate. He  always drilled it into my head about how stylish they all were, and how surfing and skating fully related. For a guy that had never surfed and only rode a skateboard only a few times, he was dead on about what he saw as an observer. Style came first, then you learn the tricks, then you do it all on the concrete and in the ocean.

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

It means the best of both worlds. The two  coincide in so many ways. One helps the other. Skating has always helped surfing when it’s come to airs. Christian Fletcher will tell you that first hand. What he showed the world was amazing and he was way ahead of his time, doing stalefish airs in the water and making them functional, on top of all the other skate tricks he did in the water. The younger guys all need to thank him for that and recognize how ahead of everyone he truly was. Surfing has always helped skating when it comes to flow and being smooth. You have a guy like Bennett Harada who surfs, but is fairly new to it, but skates like he has surfed forever. His skate style is full-on surf style; full power and flow. I always tell him that I can watch him skate and it will amp me up to surf. One is very good for the other and always has been from day one. Matt Archbold was the first guy I saw to really figure out how to mesh the two together. He was a full power surfer that was all flow and could do sick airs and layback snaps effortlessly. My friends and I growing up all loved to watch him surf and we gave him full respect on how sick he was with his SurfSkate style. He was what we all wanted to be out in the ocean. His name was said a lot in our part of town when it came to SurfSkate style.

How has surfing influenced skateboarding, and skateboarding influenced surfing?

Jay Adams, Matt Archbold, Larry Bertlemann, John Baum, Scott Herman, Martin Potter, Shogo Kubo, Christian Fletcher, Ricky Massie, George Wilson, Jimmy “Grandpa” Davey, Solo Scott, Davey Smith, Carter Slade, Polar Bear, Buttons, every OG Dogtown team rider, the OG Z-Flex Team, Steve Shelp, Huey Pritchard, Jason Majors, Shane Dorian, Tristan “Lil Red Dog” Welch, Aaron Murray, Scott Oster, Jim Muir, Satcha Congdon, Pancho Sullivan, Ross Williams, Johnny-Boy Gomez, Mark Vercelli, Matt “Rocky” Robbins, Gary “Kong” Elkerton, Harry Friedman, Leif Seligsohn, Raphael Lunetta, Justin Robertson, Justin Swartz, Eric “Froggy” Anderson and John “Rude Boy” McClure all influenced me when it came to SurfSkate style. It was all about how they looked surfing, as though they were on a skateboard on a perfect bowl in the water, with flow and power, making everything look effortless. Skating helped my surfing a lot because I wanted to emulate what I did skating in the water. When I skated, I wanted to flow like my surfing. I grew up in an area where that is all everyone wanted to do. It was figured out in Venice early on and drilled into all of our heads. It came naturally for most us to skate and take that knowledge out in the water. Skating with a surf style was already easy for me.

Is SurfSkate style important today?

It has always been important and relevant. Today, you see a lot more of it globally, than just locally. There are a lot of surfers that don’t really skate, but have skate moves dialed out there in the line-up, and there are a lot of skaters that don’t surf, but have a full smooth surf style and it mixes perfectly with the tricks they do. Just go to our local skatepark and you’ll see that all day long. It’s the same for our local surf break. You’ll see a ton of people doing full skate moves out there with total style. Venice is the Mecca, ground zero, the OG place to really make the SurfSkate style a huge thing in both worlds (surfing and skating). People from other places may want to argue that, and all I can tell them is this – “Fuck off.”

Bagel concrete grinder in Venice Beach. Photo © Jay Adams


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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