2.7 Nathan Fletcher And The Evolution Of Surfing

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V2N7, Nathan Fletcher

Nathan Fletcher And The Evolution Of Surfing[IMAGE 1] Every once in a while in the surf world, a certain individual comes along who rises above adversity to meet challenges bestowed upon them. Nathan Fletcher is one such individual. He’s been through a lot in his life¿more than most people get to experience in their whole lifetime. Growing up in the Fletcher family had a lot to do with it. Both Nathan and his brother/mentor Christian were subjected to a side of life that most kids never have a chance to do: go on surf trips around the world, spend entire winters on the North Shore, own your own clothing companies, snowboard any mountain, skate and hang out with professional skateboarders, ride motocross in the desert, play in a band¿you name it, Nathan’s done it and is damn good at doing it.

Basically, Nathan Fletcher is here to take surfing to the level it needs to be at if it wants to be compared to its counterparts, skateboarding and snowboarding.¿A.S. All right, let’s start off with the logistics. What’s your full name, age, and place of birth?

My full name is Nathan Walter Fletcher, and I was born in San Clemente General Hospital in California. I just turned 25 yesterday.

What was it like growing up in such a full-on surf family?

It made me quit surfing. I was burned-out, and I didn’t surf for five years. I just do it ’cause I love it now, and that’s why everything is going nice.

How was it growing up under Christian? He was obviously one of your main influences.

Definitely. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for my brother.

In what direction would you like surfing to go?

I already know. Do you really want me to tell you the honest truth?

Yeah. Let’s hear it.[IMAGE 2]

If you’ve seen anybody or studied anything as far as skateboarding or snowboarding¿skating started as dropping in, to doin’ turns and shit, to skatin’ down the street, to doin’ grinds, to doin’ wheelers, to doin’ airs, or whatever. A pro skater in the 80s named Mike McGill did a McTwist inverted 540 named after Mike on a cement transition.

Snowboarding came along, and they started doin’ airs and all that stuff. Then in the early 90s, snowboarding followed skateboarding when Danny Way did an alley-oop McTwist on a snowboard¿then other people started doing McTwists on snowboards. Next, snowboarders started to do rolling flips off straight jumps. And if you notice¿in snowboarding¿all you see is flips and twists.

Surfing went from going straight, to carving, to barrels, to tailslides, to airs, and now the only thing left is flips and twists. So the evolution, guaranteed, is flips and twists.

What do you think about flip tricks in surfing, like kickflips, heelflips, and varial flips?

I think that’s all good, but I wanna see shit out of the lip. It’s in the evolution, but it’s just gonna take time because your board is so big and light that it’s going to fly away from you with any wind factor or anything like that.

Right now surfing, to me, is at the same level as skateboarding was in the mid to late 80s.

But it’s not because the boards are so different. A skateboard’s so small and heavy, and you’ve got all these different factors¿it’s not the same. We’re as advanced as you could be with what we have to work with. It’s just gonna take time.

If you became allergic to salt water, what other activities would you do?

I would f¿kin’ light myself on fire and watch myself sizzle.

How do you think skateboarding helps surfing?

If it weren’t for Jay Adams, there wouldn’t be anything like what we do today. He is the creator of hardcore surf-skate grind go-to-the-next-level aggression. He grew up as a surfer in Venice Beach, California. That’s who I look up to and respect. If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t be doing the things we do today. Kids don’t even know who he is.

Do you think kids should take up skateboarding to help their surfing out? Of course,’m not talking about bullshit longboard skating.

F¿k yeah! I quit surfing for five years¿I surfed like once every couple months. I know skateboarding helped my surfing 110 percent, because I look at surfing like a transition that’s moving. I don’t look at it the same as everyone else.

What are some of your favorite bands right now?

Well, my all-time favorite, and probably always will be, is Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. I listen to Slayer, Jimi Hendrix, and anything from Deicide, G.B.H., to super-gnarly techno like Prodigy¿anything that’s brutally intense. I’m not part of young, black America¿hip-hop. I totally give them credit and respect, but it’s not my scene. I’m a young, white American who believes in aggression, releasing energy in different sources, and taking it to the next level.That’s just my small, minute opinion.[IMAGE 3]

You and Christian were in a band called Bloodshot in the early 90s. What happened with that?

That was terrible. There’ve been a couple bad times in my life, but playin’ music was definitely one of the worst parts. Mostly because people want to make you do things that are not what you want to do, and then you’re put into positions where you’ll feel stupid. That’s one of the positions where I felt really stupid. Trust me, I don’t regret it. It’s just somethin’ I’m not stoked on, you know?I love music and I always will.

What ever happened to your clothing company Think Fast?

That was all forced on me by my parents. I don’t know, I blew everything off. It all came to an end when they wanted me to go to work, and I got married¿all this bullshit. Basically, I just left and went to Tahiti and blew it all off. I caught two waves in the contest Gotcha Pro and made it to the quarterfinals. I got two tens in like three minutes, and I became a surfer again.

That’s how you became visible again to the public.

Yeah. I went there to Tahiti on Japanese yen. I was totally broke, bailed on my wife, went there, and with those two waves¿my whole life was changed, and it’s never been the same since.

Have you made a clean rodeo flip back into the tranny yet, or what?

I can honestly say, “Yes.” You can ask Matt Archbold. He’s the only person in the world who saw me do it, but I’m not gonna claim it. It’s not documented on film because Art Brewer was driving away in a boat. It was a twisting spin landed like a frontside off-the-lip on the barrel and then I shot down onto the flat. After I landed, I put my arms up and fell off the back of my board¿Archy was right there. That’s where the future of surfing is going in my little world.

With the upside-down moves, how do you see board shapes changing?

It’s gonna take a little while, but boards are changing slowly. They’re gonna be flatter, shorter, and a little bit thicker, but the same width so you can still turn. More like a Boogie board so you get on top of the water without the rocker, and with the narrowness so you can still turn tight in critical parts of the wave. You don’t lose any of your turning, but you can also get above the water to project yourself. It’s what I ride right now, I call it the “hockey puck.”

What about for going backward fakie?

I’m not real into going backward. I like to do either a full rotation or not make it, because backward on a surfboard is kinda goofy¿I don’t see people pumping down the line full-speed backward. I can see doing manuvers and landing backward and maybe riding it for a little ways, or doing a varial, or something. That’s all like flatland stuff. For me, I want to make it so people wanna go up high and stick it. Backward is kinda half-ass of going all the way around. That’s just my personal opinion.

Who’re some of your heroes now and when you were growing up?

I grew up on Thrasher and Craig Stecyk legendary artist/photographer. He’s a knowledge master. He’s so gnarly. He’s one of my mentors, for sure. My favorites would be Christian Hosoi, Matt Archbold, always my brother Christian and my family, Danny Way, Marvin Foster, Gator, Gonz, Jason Jessee, Duane Peters, Jay Adams, G.G. Allin, and Ozzy Osbourne¿he speaks the truth, and if you lay down and listen to him, he’ll tell you where to go.

What do look forward to happening to yourself in the next few years to come?

I wanna take art, music, and photography, and make it all into one collaboration of mixed media¿f¿kin’ outta control, my own personal style, stuff that nobody’s ever done, like robotic art, music, and photos. Like visual new-age theater. Everything combined with action sports. My life goal is to put all of it together. I wanna be part of the progression of flips in surfing. My brother was part of the aerial movement¿I want to take that, use it, and take it to another level. Be able to show people that you can go upside-down. The way a wave throws you, it’s all possible to go upside-down and backward, land back in the transition, and ride away from it. People are just now starting to figure out that it’s possible because Kelly Slater did it. Now people are starting to acknowledge it.

Anyone out there you want to thank?

I’d like to thank, obviously, my parents, Quiksilver and Oakley, Black Sabbath and Slayer for making me who I am, Max Cavalera from Soulfly and Igor Cavalera from Sepultura and their whole tribe, my grandparents, and my uncle Marty. All the people who are against society and the way formats are¿anybody who’s against conformity¿I’d like to thank them because I’m right there with them, and anybody who makes a good impression on the kids to be individualists¿no matter what it is or who it is.Hosoi, Matt Archbold, always my brother Christian and my family, Danny Way, Marvin Foster, Gator, Gonz, Jason Jessee, Duane Peters, Jay Adams, G.G. Allin, and Ozzy Osbourne¿he speaks the truth, and if you lay down and listen to him, he’ll tell you where to go.

What do look forward to happening to yourself in the next few years to come?

I wanna take art, music, and photography, and make it all into one collaboration of mixed media¿f¿kin’ outta control, my own personal style, stuff that nobody’s ever done, like robotic art, music, and photos. Like visual new-age theater. Everything combined with action sports. My life goal is to put all of it together. I wanna be part of the progression of flips in surfing. My brother was part of the aerial movement¿I want to take that, use it, and take it to another level. Be able to show people that you can go upside-down. The way a wave throws you, it’s all possible to go upside-down and backward, land back in the transition, and ride away from it. People are just now starting to figure out that it’s possible because Kelly Slater did it. Now people are starting to acknowledge it.

Anyone out there you want to thank?

I’d like to thank, obviously, my parents, Quiksilver and Oakley, Black Sabbath and Slayer for making me who I am, Max Cavalera from Soulfly and Igor Cavalera from Sepultura and their whole tribe, my grandparents, and my uncle Marty. All the people who are against society and the way formats are¿anybody who’s against conformity¿I’d like to thank them because I’m right there with them, and anybody who makes a good impression on the kids to be individualists¿no matter what it is or who it is.