Question Authority: Karl Watson

Question Authority

Karl Watson

Dear, Karl,
I always hear a lot about style, and you seem to have a lot of it. Sometimes I have a hard time defining what style is. In your opinion, what is style and what makes good versus bad style? Is it something you’re born with or do you have to work on it? Whose style did you like when you started skating? Is there anyone’s style you’ve always tried to copy? I’ve been skating for a few years, and every time I film and look at the footage, I’m not too stoked on my stee-lo. What can I do to improve it?
Jimmy Hildenbrook
Phoenix, AZ

What’s up, Jimmy?
Thank you for the nice words. To me, style can be expressed in many different ways. You can be a skater who wears the tightest pants and a ripped shirt or one who wears big pants and no shoelaces and have amazing style either way. When I see somebody with good style, I’m not afraid to let them know. I’ll say, "Man, you’ve got a tight style," then go about my business.
It’s hard to define good or bad style. I myself am very open-minded about it. I like when people have original styles that aren’t copied from anyone else. When I was a young lad, I was highly influenced by the styles and skating of Tommy Geurerro and Ray Barbee and would always try to mimic them. I wouldn’t say I copied them; I was more influenced by them. It was the feeling I got when I thought about them and how much fun they looked like they were having on their boards. They would just skate down the street and do tricks with so much style; it really stoked me out. Even today when I watch some of those classic videos with those two legends in it, I get the same feeling.
Basically, the best style comes from not worrying about how you look and just concentrating on the task at hand--being one with your skateboard. When I was a kid, growing up with the EMB crew, I knew I had a funny style, but I just kept skating and practicing. I honestly didn’t like the way I skated. If somebody came from the future and told me I would be a pro skater, I would have thought they were crazy. But I grew out of that self-doubt and realized that we are all children of the universe, and like every snowflake we each are unique in our own way. My advice to you is to keep skating and have fun. Good style comes from constantly skating, so be patient and keep on ripping it up, my friend. --Karl