Eric Bitz is a 21-year old skimboarder from Clearwater, Florida who has been skimboarding for 13 years now. Eric has a unique story since he is a U.S. Marine serving with 2nd Battalion 8th Marines as an infantry machine gunner and has been on one combat tour to Afghanistan. He normally skims anywhere along the east coast of North Carolina due to being stationed in the area, but his main spot is Emerald Isle and a secret spot that won’t be mentioned.
Q. Who do you skim with?
A. My best friend and roommate Justin Daniels and Martin Downs.
Q. What is your favorite skim spot?
A. That’s a tough one…where ever the waves are firing.
Q. Where have you traveled to skimboard?
A. I’ve been all up and down the east coast of the United States and all over florida.
Q. Where do you want to travel to skim?
A. I’d like to get out to Cabo. Hopefully, next year I will.
Q. What was your time spent in Afghanistan like?
A. It was extremely different and extremely hot one day it got up to 138 degrees fahrenheit. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe I was on earth. Everything is extremely different, but the people over there are extremely hard workers, but mainly I spent my fine conduct patrols around the local area, working out, standing post (security) or watching skim movies on my DVD player as well as the thousand other movies and TV series I watched and cleaning my machine gun.
Q. When you were serving with the 2nd Battalion did you think about skimboarding very often?
A. In simpler terms just put 2/8 and yes everyday. Where I’m currently stationed I actually skim everyday in North Carolina, but while I was deployed it was on my mind a lot.
Q. What board(s) do you ride?
A. Zap. I have two Boomhowers, but one just broke and a Rocket Fish.
Q. Do you wave skim? Flatland? Both?
A. Wave 95% of the time flat 5%. LOL. When it is flat I skim flat.
Q. Do you compete?
A. I do.
Q. If so, what competitions have you competed in?
A. Outerbanks skimjam and zap am pro world championships.
Q. And what are some of your contest highlights?
A. Getting a textbook wrap with a huge spray to a barrel.
Q. Do you have any sponsors?
A. Yes. Kowasa Clothing, they are one of the most reliable sponsors I’ve ever had. They’re a new clothing brand based out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and they have some really sick products I encourage everyone to go check them out.
Q. What other board sports do you partake in?
A. Surfing, longboarding, skating, wake surfing.
Q. Where do you see the skimboarding going in the future?
A. I believe skimboarding will be as big or even bigger than surfing in the next 5 years, face it we’re not as big as surfing, but with big names and faces changing how people view skimboarding such as Brad Domke, Austin Keen, Morgan Just and Blair Conklin the sport will sky rocket and I hope to join those names in the next few years. At my local spot for the longest time I never really saw young groms skimming and all of a sudden everytime I go out I see new groms with boards trying to rip. Everywhere I go no matter what beach tourists ask what is that and I explain skimboarding to them and I ask them to please go on the internet and watch videos and look up specific people.
Q. What riders influenced your skimboarding?
A. Mostly my best friend Justin Daniels, but a lot of pros have such as Shawn Kenny, Tim Fulton, Monster and Max Smetts.
Q. What riders are pushing the sport right now?
A. Pretty much every rider I know.
Q. If you were stranded on a desert island that already has a plentiful resource of skimboards what three things would you bring?
A. Well, it doesn’t look like I’ll need my boards if there’s many boards there, but I’d bring my wife, my daughter and my board. Even if there is plenty of boards I’d still want mine.
Q. When you got back from Afghanistan what was the first thing you did when you were home?
A. Besides hugging my family, friends and my wife my bestfriend handed me a beer, that was the best damn beer I’ve ever had also there we’re so many pictures being taken. Later that day I went down on the beach and sat down and listened to the waves.
Q. What was your first skimboarding session like after you got back from Afghanistan?
A. I was extremely rusty, but I was still able to keep my skills. It was one of the funniest sessions I had. The waves were prefect and there was no wind at all it’s like the ocean knew I was home…
Q. Where was that first skimboaridng session?
A. It was in Emerald Isle, NC it’s a local beach not to far from where I live, this pic below was from that first session.
Q. What makes you happy?
A. Well there’s a lot that does but mainly good waves, having a good laugh with my friends, my wife, seeing my daughter smile and skimboarding in general.
Q. If everyone rode a skimboard would the world be a better place?
A. It be a nice dream if it was, right?
Q. What skimboarding goals do you have?
A. Many, my main goal is within the next 3 years I plan to be on the pro tour I’ve been busting my ass this past year.
Q. What is your favorite skimboarding trick?
A. I love doing airs.
Q. Last words? Shout outs?
A. Well, I really appreciate you guys doing this interview on me it’s an awesome thing what you guys are doing. Thanks to Shawn Kenney for supporting the military. A huge shoutout to my sponsors Kowasa Clothing! Everyone check them out Kowasaclothingco.com also give them a follow on Instagram/Facebook. Also, my wife for supporting me and taking all of my pictures and my best friend Justin for pushing me to the level I’m at now. Without him I wouldn’t be where I’m at to this very day so thanks bro!