Michael Torquato DeNicola Surf Skate Style



When did you first hear of SurfSkate style?

It is hard to pinpoint the first time I ever heard the term surfskate style, it’s always been there. When I was a little kid living in Costa Mesa, my neighbor started making these narrow fiberglass decks, which would literally flex to the ground. We would skate on the sidewalks and he said this was ‘street surfing.’ I got my first glimpse of the ‘70s surf magazines, which had lots of ads with skateboards mixed in with the surf shots. I was mesmerized by the surf imagery and started to imitate surfers styles and imagine turning on waves as I went up and down the block.

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

To me, surfskate style means riding with confidence and abandon, using speed, power and flow to push. It’s about embracing the freedom of surfing and skating to express yourself and let go, allowing your creative mind to take over and play, anywhere at any time. With surfskate style, there are so many icons/influencers to mention: Bertlemann and Alva. Bobby Owens’ carves at Sunset Beach in Hawaii were truly something to witness. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Christian Fletcher and Archy were on point. With  Christian, there was certainly a nod to surfskate style and, with Nathan, he pushed it way forward. Now, along the Fletcher lineage, there is Greyson who just kills. Curren Caples is amazing. Dane Reynolds, Matt Meola, Chippa Wilson, John John Florence, Kolohe Andino, Felipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina are certainly pushing from the surf side. I watched the Vans Pool Party footage and Pedro Barros was simply incredible.

How has surfing influenced skateboarding, and skateboarding influenced surfing?

Skate influences surf with the technical progression of tricks and the refinement of body motion and personal style. Having the constant of an obstacle allows you to try things until you nail it. In the process of learning a maneuver, your mind and body track the nuances and you progress. With surf, there simply aren’t as many waves to ride and the learning curve is slower. The skate clips we see show great creativity and innovation and these aspects certainly inspire the surf side of things. Surf influences skate as well. Taj Burrow once said something like, “I want to look good when I’m going straight on a wave.” There are different mindsets when surfing. One is to use the wave to showcase yourself and what you can do on it. The other is to showcase the wave by flowing with it, blending in with its nuances and exploiting the opportunities it provides. The flow and grace of the latter can be a beautiful thing, and translates and resonates back to skate.

Is SurfSkate style important today?

Yes, I absolutely think that SurfSkate style is important. It represents the mindset of freedom, opportunity, creativity, progression and style.

Michael Denicola stylin’ in sumatra. © Surfing Village, N. Sumatra


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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