The first time I saw Christian in real life he was racing toward me on a little left at Newport Beach during an aerial competition. He came straight at me and ollied right over the top of me, and when I turned to see if he’d made it, I saw the demon face tattoo he has on the back of his head looking straight into my eyes as he continued to cruise down the line. I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s one hell of a Christian!”
Some years later I got to meet him. Again, I was in California, this time on tour with the Goons of Doom. We ran into Christian at a gig and he ended up coming back to our makeshift residence to party. The room of doom was the shed out the back of the Volcom skate team house in Costa Mesa, and we’d been drawing on the walls all night for weeks, so the place was becoming rather foul—even by our shanty-town standards. Christian seemed right at home and he ended up staying a few days and sharing lots of stories about his life, as well as hours and hours worth of dirty jokes.
Christian struck me as a real modern-day cowboy and the California he lives in is still certainly the Wild West. People have criticized his wide stance, saying he could be riding a horse. That does strengthen my cowboy theory, but f-ck them anyway. Haters. If they can’t accept him, then they should go back to studying Curren and trying to clone him like everyone else.
Christian is definitely one of surfing’s great innovators and without question one of our wildest characters. I love how much attitude he displays in his surfing. He is on a wave who he is in life. Hell, he even managed to get arrested surfing at The Wedge. He’s been launching giant airs since the ’80s and he still nails them today. His skate-inspired influence on modern surfing is massive.
I think as long as he continues to surf, he’ll continue to experiment. I heard he was doing “The Zombie” in the barrel at Desert Point just last year. That’s when you put both feet forward like you’re skiing, then extend your arms out in front of you with your hands hanging limp and your eyes rolled back in your head while moaning like the undead. Cool.—Ozzie Wright