Ethan Fowler saved skateboarding. Well, he may not have saved it, but he certainly helped bring it back to Earth during the late-pressure-flip days of the early 1990s. Around 1993, when cut-off size-48 pants and 37 millimeter wheels ruled skateboarding, Ethan’s part in the first Stereo video (back before Jason Lee was a famous actor) was like a breath of fresh air. Filled with styling ollies, turns, and 180s, it was a distinct departure from the (at times ridiculous) norm. Whether consciously or not, Ethan shifty ollied his way into the spotlight at a mere sixteen years old and delivered a message: it’s okay to be different. A message he’s based a career on.
What was your favorite year in skating and why?
That’s a hard one, because it’s hard to remember all the years. How about 1989.
What did you like about 1989?
That I didn’t know anything about skateboarding.
Who’s been an inspiration for you?
All kinds of people – Dave Ogborn, Aaron Pillar, these are friends from growing up. And Ed Templeton. Those are the formidable years. Mike Vallely, too.
What’s the stupidest trend you’ve seen skateboarding go through?
Every single one of them.
What was the most stupid?
They’re all just as bad. Spandex shorts are just as bad as little tiny wheels and raver pants, which are just as bad as camouflage outfits.
What would you consider your biggest contribution to skateboarding as being?
My reluctance to do what’s expected.
How do you think that’s contributed?
I don’t know if that’s contributed, but it makes me happy. I don’t know if I’ve ever really contributed.
What do you think about the current state of skateboarding?
I don’t know, I can’t really say. It just is what it is.
Do you find it pleasurable?
Sure. Well, except for the contests in Europe.
How does skateboarding differ now from when you started to get involved in it?
I put more pressure on myself now.
As a product of thinking other people expect more of you?
No, just wanting to do good for myself. I expect certain things of myself, and if I can’t deliver I pay the price, and it’s no fun.
Do you have any predictions for the future of skateboarding?
Man, I really don’t know. Like all the stuff I thought was impossible to do, isn’t. You know?