Happy Ending: Christian Fletcher’s Parallel Stance

posted by / Blogs, Happy Ending, Photos / October 18, 2013

Christian Fletcher's happy ending. Photo: Ricardo Borghi
Christian Fletcher’s happy ending. Photo: Ricardo Borghi

Many years ago, Christian Fletcher was a rebel with a very noble cause. In a day and age when neon was normalcy, change was somehow never met with open arms. If you wanted to be a professional surfer, you had to cut back, float, 360 (on the face, of course) and then cut back once more. All other tricks were voodoo and airs were flagrant witchcraft. But Christian couldn’t be bothered with any of that. He paved a path of his own, tearing down Bud Tour shrubs along the way. He borrowed from the tricky bank of skateboarding and invested it all into doing shit nobody had ever seen on a surfboard before. His efforts were noted. Who is this maniac wearing studded wetsuits and trying to ollie over people at Lowers? Tom Curren, conventional and humble, was so much easier to love. Fletcher was just too wild to relate.

It took years, or even a decade, but people eventually starting getting on board with Christian Fletcher. Airs became more and more common and guys began to tread on his path. Fast forward to modern times and 12-year-olds are landing stalefish air reverses without even glancing in at the beach to make sure Mom was filming. And praise be to Christian, the godfather.

But now, closing in on his 43rd birthday, we see Christian borrow from the bank of Alpine skiing. Your knee jerk reaction might be to ask why. On a wave that most of us would sacrifice a great deal of things to surf, why is Christian Fletcher riding parallel stance? Is he crazy? Confused? Bored? Well, according to Christian “You get going way faster that way.”

Is this a foolish stunt or is this sly dog ahead of the curve yet again? Only 10 years will tell. –Brendan Buckley

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  • Schoon Dogg

    Yeah Christian! Christian likes to surf just like you do. What did Phil Edwards say about the best surfer in the world?

  • DHynd

    You’re kidding, right? Get an act with your words and your history. The photo simply shows good barrel technique for the board ala Tom Carroll. Also cut the bullshit about any difficulty he had through his career. It is plainly rewriting history to give him nore than he deserved. He was as big back then as he deserved to be.
    No more, no less.
    Christian WAS big.
    His direct influence in the moment WAS acknowledged.
    But, Curren, and a bevvy of others led by Pottz and Ock WAS way better.
    Christian was at the level of Arch, pure and simple, which was localized by lifestyle and the waves they chose to surf.
    The levels of these two guys was huge – and thought of as such by peers on Tour.
    To the writer, stop the revisionism when none is required.
    With respect.

  • Kaipo Gomes

    Brendan you might have it a bit wrong with the Bud Tour. He WON the 1989 Body Glove Surf Bout at Trestles with “airs” and carves. He won over $31,000.00 at that contest that had a unique format. The heat winners prize pool awarded $$$ to heat winners. The amount went up as you neared the final. Christian won several heats with “airs”. The judges awarded his “airs” and were ahead of the ASP at that time. For further proof look to Jeff Booth, Top 16 World Tour contender at the time, and the letter he wrote to Surfing and Surfer magazines after hearing about the contest win by Fletcher. The amount of money Christian won for that contest almost doubled what a win on the World Tour was worth at that time. Who won the Body Glove Surf Bout at Lowers the next year in flawless conditions? A Floridian regular foot in his first contest as a Professional. His name is Kelly Slater. Long live the Bud Tour.

  • dgb

    It’s about time the romanticization of Christian Fletcher’s persecution at the hands of the competitive surfing came to an end. Yes, he was a pioneer and surfing is more interesting for it. But the bottom line is his airs were squat in and squat out ugliness. One off tricks, as they are for the most part still today. Good surfing has always been about flow… Christian was bringing something from skateboarding to surfing (Surf company marketing departments should worship him like a god); however, it lacked then as it does now, the flow that marks good surfing. He wasn’t persecuted because he was doing something new, he wasn’t getting scores in competitive surfing because it was ugly. He brought the airs from skateboarding and still now surfers are trying with sporadic and varied success to bring the flow that is inherent in skateboarding.

  • Mike A

    Do you really go faster in a parallel “way faster” in a parallel stance? My 4 year old dose better in the pool with a parallel stance that’s for sure..

  • Rongo Taketake

    Christian Fletcher meet Andy Irons, natural carves, carves, carves.

  • dontneednochokebrain

    “I hate hold outs.” And sand between his toes. Nathan kills it, though. And is that THE Derek Hynd responding?!?! Awesome if so.

  • shani

    The look on his face says it all.

  • Surfahnui

    Parallel Stance is not new… They do Parallel stance in Hawaii all the time. Especially at Buffalo’s contest and the Makaha guys do it all the time playing around for many years.

  • JR

    Christian Fletcher’s surfing was pure ugly, no style, no flow, couldn’t perform a smooth powerful roundhouse cutback to save his life. His airs were ugly too. You can’t even put his name in the same sentence with Tom Curren if you are going to compare the two as surfers.

    I would like to see what happens next on this wave. If you look closely it appears that his heals are lifted off of the board and not in full control. What a stupid article.

  • your mom

    agreed he pushed the air movement, but not once in his whole life has he done a turn worth a second look. He has the grace of a drunken homeless man having a seizure


    Comments are funny – Fletcher ripped then and rips now; just a little older. Nice balance and barrel!

  • dick swinggin

    he didnt invent airs just pushed em further…speaking of airs surfing airs are nothing anyone would look at on a snowboard, no one would care about a 3ft 360 stalefish…but what he did do was stick a massive middlefinger up the ass of the scrubbed clean preppie fucks that country clubbed surfing

  • be real

    If you watch the 89 final Joey Jenkins should have won it!!
    Christian would probably agree

  • chris

    What ever that guy and his family does is radical and ok in my book. One of the coolest surf skate snow families in the world. Keep ripping everything!