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Christian Fletcher

All the information you need on Christian Fletcher

Born on Oahu to '70s charger turned longboard revivalist Herbie Fletcher and wife Dibbee, Christian Li Fletcher had little choice but to go surfing. He was a year old when he received his first board, and remembers "going to the beach pretty much every day." The watery roots on the family tree go even deeper, with his grandfather Walter Hoffman (along with brother Flippy) among the first California surfers to brave large Hawaiian surf in the '50s. In addition, Aunt Joyce Hoffman was a 4x female world champ in the '60s and uncle Marty Hoffman was a long time Waimea standout.

After two years in Sun Valley, Idaho, the Fletcher's landed in Capistrano Beach in 1974 and Christian quickly immersed himself in the Pacific. He won his first event at age 5, stealing the 8-and-under title at a San Onofre Surf Club Contest (he would go on to win his division nine of 10 years). He placed second behind David Eggers in the 1982 U.S. Championships and finished the 1985 NSSA Open Season ranked third in juniors. The same year, at age 14, he turned pro.

Even at that early age, he was bored by much of the surfing going on around him.

"I just grew up skateboarding," he recalls, "and it seemed like, you know, I was doing airs on my skateboard and it just seemed natural to do on the surfboard, too. And I just couldn't stand doing what everybody else was doing."

He tried his luck in selected events on the ASP world tour for several years, but failed miserably. If contests could not provide an avenue for his progressive approach, surf videos could. Herbie, who founded Astrodeck traction pads, featured both of his sons (Nathan is a few years younger but at least as talented) prominently in the company's Wave Warriors series, insisting that the next frontier for surfing was in the air.

In 1988, Christian first appeared on the cover of Surfer magazine, boosting an aerial on what the magazine billed as the "Anti-Standard Issue." At the time, Christian Fletcher and his airborne antics seemed decidedly bizarre; any photo depicting a surfer not connected to wave face still drew quizzical looks. The next year, Fletcher's flying mug appeared simultaneously on both Surfer and Surfing, establishing him as a one-man lobby of change. The media blitz set off a backlash by more conventional surfers, including a petition signed by nearly the entire ASP Top 16 questioning the magazines' integrity in ignoring the travelling pros in favor of "a guy who spent his summer at Trestles."

Then came the 1989 Body Glove Surf Bout, a PSAA event at Lowers offering a huge sum for the winner. In preparation, Christian Fletcher hit the skateboard ramp and psyched between heats by playing the video game "Skate or Die." In his backyard, the 18-year-old anarchist torched the competition from Round One of the trials straight through the final, reaping $31,725 for his efforts. By beating what he called a bunch of "weak" surfers, guys "butt-wiggling and riding all the way to the beach," he became the ultimate Anti-hero. Through it all, Christian just wanted to go his own way, even though his parents had a big part in cultivating the look and media perception. but either way, he had started a revolution.

"I don't look to be a leader," he insists, "but I'm not gonna go out and do the same tricks as everyone else. It's like beating a dead horse."

Christian Flecther capitalized on the uninvited attention with a line of surfboards and clothing bearing his name. Nobody was more closely tied to the aerial movement, and in terms of height, innovation and variety he was - and largely remains - untouchable. He got married, had a son (Greyson Thunder) in 1991 and was earning a healthy salary from surfing. He played bass in several death metal bands, including such classics as Bloodshot, Mutilage and Axefukk. He soon tired of the surfing scene and took shelter in a life of drugs. According to Fletcher,

"I was just so fed up with the whole deal and everything. I had a bad marriage and hated the whole surfing community. One thing lead to another and things got ugly."

For several years, he all but quit surfing as he spiralled down the well-trod path of self-destruction.

Having lost everything, he grew to appreciate what he once had.

"I woke up one day and I was like, 'This is a joke. I'm not happy, not having any fun, not surfing and stuff,'" he remembers. "And I knew I still had a chance, you know. I was only 25, so I still had some sort of career left for surfing."

He straightened himself out and jumped aboard the scene. He got on some photo trips, entered and won a couple or air shows and emerged as a more relaxed, contented adult. But in his absence, the wheels he had set in motion were steaming out of control and on beaches around the world kids were launching ugly aerials before they'd learned to do a decent cutback. The clumsy toddler that Fletcher had nurtured into acceptance had grown into a monster.

"Learn how to surf before you start trying to launch airs,” he instructs to the trigger-happy kids he sees hopping around the lineup.

These days, Christian Fletcher is making the rounds as the elder statesman of air, living in Hollywood and pursuing speed in all forms, from surfing to skateboarding to wakeboarding to snowboarding to street luge.

"I don't make money like I used to, but I'm a lot happier," he contends. Unlike his earlier days, he even misses surfing when he stays away from the beach for any length of time. "It's like an addiction, you know, the adrenaline or something. I mean, because if that's what you love to do, it hurts you to know there's waves when you're somewhere and you can't surf. "

Christian Fletcher was a legend back in the day and still is now; I still have many fond memories of Wave Warriors and Tweak Freaks, watching this crazy guy launching over other surfers!

Christian Fletcher showing why he was the innovator of aerial surfing Not sure how old this clip is but it shows Christian To-surfing into waves, way back before To-surfing as the norm, and popping giant airs. He then goes on to don his mask and show that he isn’t just a one trick pony, Christian Fletcher is actually a great all round surfer. Christian Fletcher [...]

My World – Christian Fletcher

December 18th, 2012

A look into the world of Christian Fletcher – “A World You Can’t Imagine” Thanks to Christian Fletcher, surfing has transformed into a liquefied skate park. “When I’m riding down a wave,” he says, “I just see little launch ramps, little pockets, and it just feels comfortable to fly right up into the air and land again.” While never striving to be a leader, he [...]

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