With a new film dropping at the U.S. Open this summer, Fletcher talks about how important family and community are to him
By Jake Howard
“Family is everything,” explains Walter Hoffman.
Along with his brother, Philip, more commonly known as “Flippy,” the Hoffman brothers stand as the patriarchs of one of the most radical and innovative surf families to ever do it. A couple generations down the track, and great-grandson Greyson Fletcher is keeping the family tradition going strong.
This summer, Fletcher is starring in the new film Convergence, directed by filmmaker Perry Gershkow and produced by 805 Beer. Also starring some of California’s finest surf talent including Conner Coffin and Nate Tyler, the film looks at the importance and value of family in the wild world of surfing and skateboarding.
The premiere of Convergence will take place at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach on Aug. 3, with the film becoming available to view on YouTube on Aug. 4.
“My grandpa (Herbie Fletcher) helped start the tow-in surfing scene and was one of the first people documented skating in a backyard pool,” explains Fletcher. “My grandma (Dibi Fletcher) still runs the family business, Astrodeck, out of our warehouse in San Clemente. The pads are so good, everybody had to rip them off.”
“My uncle (Nathan Fletcher) is the heaviest charger I know. He surfs the biggest waves like they’re tiny and surfs the smallest waves like they’re big … if that makes sense,” continues Fletcher. “My cousins, my uncle’s two sons, are coming into their own already, and it’s really cool to watch. My dad (Christian Fletcher) is just a wacky, wild guy on and off the board, but he’s insane on a motorcycle. He’s always got crazy tricks for me to try skating.”
The legacy is not confined to Fletcher’s immediate family. Walter’s daughter, Joyce Hoffman, was a pioneer in her own right. In the late ’60s, when the surf scene was largely a boys’ club, Joyce had her own signature surfboard model from Hobie and was one of the winningest competitors of the era.
Meanwhile, Flippy’s son, Marty Hoffman, was instrumental in pioneering big waves and outer reefs in Hawaii. Most recently, he’s produced a documentary on North Shore lifeguards entitled Big Wave Guardians. And on the other end of the spectrum are up-and-comers such as Indie and Rex Hoffman, who are both ensuring the family legacy lives on.
Icons of the San Clemente area, the family compound is still on Beach Road, and when Fletcher’s not traveling, you can probably find him doing laps at the San Clemente skatepark.
“Growing up in San Clemente has been really cool,” Fletcher testifies. “I got to surf and skate all the time. You got Lowers, T-Street, all the beach breaks and the pier. We have a cool skatepark close by.”
“I skated it the first day it opened 22 years ago, I think,” Fletcher continues. “The park is so fun and good for beginners. We’re ready for No. 2; we have lots of talented skaters and surfers that would love one. Maybe build something by the pier? Maybe a big one for a pro contest?”
“My favorite thing about San Clemente is it doesn’t get really too hot or too cold,” he adds. “You can skate and surf in the same day, no problem. The mountains are close if you want to snowboard. It’s been a blast living here. It’s perfect for what I want to do.”
When asked about where he sees the future taking him, Fletcher reiterates the value in building another skatepark in town.
“Like I said up top, let’s get a Dreamland skatepark at the pier. We have a lot of pro surfers and skaters and up-and-coming kids that would be stoked,” he says. “Skate and surf contests would be sick. It’s been overdue for a long time.”
Jake Howard is a local surfer and freelance writer who lives in San Clemente. A former editor at Surfer magazine, The Surfer’s Journal and ESPN, today he writes for several publications, including Picket Fence Media, Surfline and the World Surf League. He also works with philanthropic organizations such as the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.