Scott Oster Surf Skate Style



When did you first hear of SurfSkate style?

I think I first saw “surfskate style” before I remember hearing people talk about it. It was from the mags in the ‘70s, and all the early photos at Kenter. The one photo that really connected that concept for me was Paul Constantineau going through the blue tarp barrel.

What does SurfSkate style mean to you?

Surf style to me is interpreting what you would do on a wave in the ocean on land, whether it’s riding down the sidewalk, a bank, a ramp, or a pool. It has a certain flow. People who surf have a natural tendency to carve and draw different lines, and they use more of the terrain. Less back and forth.

Who has the best SurfSkate style?

The first person that comes to mind and was my biggest influence was Jay Adams. He was the best. Olson, Hackett, Alva, and Chris Miller are some of my all-time favorites as well. Haven’t seen enough of the newer guys surf and skate to speak on them, but from photos I’ve seen Pedro Barros and Curren Caples can definitely hold their own in the water.

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

I think Larry Bertlemann had one of the biggest impacts on the ‘70s skaters, especially the Zephyr/DogTown kids, along with Gerry Lopez’s smooth effortless style in critical situations and Buttons’ innovative, radical approach. I think those guys pushed the limit of what was possible for surfing, which in turn influenced skating. That is a big part of the foundation of what skating has evolved into today. A “Bertlemann” done properly on a surfboard or skateboard is still to this day a thing of beauty. How surfing was the roots of skating, skating is the root of what surfing is today, especially with the massive airs and all the variations of reverses. Even doing a floater would be like doing a fifty-fifty or manual grind. It all connects.

Is SurfSkate style important today?

Style in general is always important. In my opinion, being a surfer gives me a different added perspective when I’m skating. Whether I’m skating a bank or a pool, I imagine myself on a wave. I think it has a natural tendency to smooth out one’s style. Having a surf style when you skate is one of many ways of expression on a skateboard. There are plenty of people that don’t surf or don’t surf well that have great style and do all sorts of innovative ridiculous things. At the end of the day, you can’t fake style. Either you have it or cultivate it authentically, or you don’t, whether you surf or not.

Oster gnarls through an ollie to frontside grinder in this classic Venice beach shot from the 80s. Photo © Katz


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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