Emmanuel Guzman on Why Pro Skateboarding is Like Steelheading

I can in no way pretend to be a skateboarder, though I did have one when I was little. I won it at a carnival and it had a ninja on it...sweet!. But I can tell you I've always appreciated surf and skate culture even though I've never been daring or coordinated enough to participate in either sport. So when legendary board makers Santa Cruz unveiled a new "Gone Fishin" series, I had to know why. Turns out, some of their pros happen to appreciate fishing culture, too.

The skateboard decks above were designed for pro skaters Justin Strubing (right), who is a largemouth fanatic, and Emmanuel "Eman" Guzman, who enjoys chasing steelhead when he's not shredding in someone's empty swimming pool. There is also a catfish deck inspired by pro Sid Melvin, and a freshwater Amazonian barracuda deck designed for Nilton Neves. "Eman" was kind enough to get in touch and tell me a little more about what inspired his deck. He even put together a little video for us (below).

JC: How long have you been flyfishing for steelhead?
EG: I have only been flyfishing for steelhead a few times, but have been flyfishing for trout and other fish since i was twelve or thirteen.

JC: Where did you get your start?
EG: A friend of mine had fly rods and a fly tying kit. We would make a bunch of various flies and go test them, usually in local Santa Cruz waters.

JC: What is your favorite steelhead river?
EG: I love all the local California rivers. There's something about discovering that the little swimming holes and creek areas you grew up knowing can hold ten, twelve pound fish. It's still exciting to me!

JC: What about the fish makes it your favorite, hence it ending up on your deck?
EG: I love steelhead for several reasons, one being that they're just beautiful. They also embody a resemblance and combination of two of my other favorite fish, trout and salmon. They also have sentimental value. When Lucas [Musgrave, Santa Cruz's brand manager and art director] told me about the Gone Fishin' series, I knew right away what I wanted.

JC: If you had to pick a second favorite fish, what would it be?
EG: Either a trout or a native salt water species like halibut or leopard shark. I love all forms of saltwater fishing and marine life.

JC: If you had to peg similarities between skateboarding and steelhead fishing, what would they be?
EG: There are definitely similarities between the two! The main one would be patience. There are times when steelhead fishing that you won't catch anything, and times when skating you won't land the trick you're trying out. Both can be slightly disappointing, but never enough to take away from the true enjoyment of what you're doing. They both teach patience, persistence, and commitment.

You can order any Gone Fishin' deck directly from Santa Cruz for $52, which is pretty cheap for a wicked piece of wall art or for that special skater/angler in your life. Maybe down the road Eman and I can get together on a steelhead river and I'll teach him a few fly tricks. Then he can teach me how to face-plant on concrete with dignity. I bet you'd all love to see that.