Westside pro surfer Zoltan Torkos, who comes from a long line of magicians, has a new trick up his sleeve: a surfing kickflip.
Torkos and filmmaker Casey Panudy of Santa Cruz circulated an online video clip in recent days that shows one of the closest attempts yet of a kickflip on a surfboard, an elusive trick that no surfer worldwide has caught on film.
In 2007, a global contest from the surf company Volcom offered $10,000 to the first surfer to submit footage of a surfing kickflip — where the surfer flips the board underfoot like a skateboard. The rules are strict though: No Jet Ski assists, no grabs, and the aerial must be above the lip of the wave, landed and “ridden out.” No one has yet claimed the money, but Torkos said it’s not the money that motivates him. It’s just an expression of fun and a desire to entertain, he said.
“I’m not claiming I won Volcom, but it’s the first ridden-out kickflip,” Torkos said Wednesday. “There’s no right way to surf. … It’s about expression.”
Torkos’ latest clip shows two attempts that are below the lip but are ridden out, and that’s enough for many surfers to take notice. The clip and much of his footage was shot at The Slot at Steamer Lane, and it’s been shown and scrutinized online this week on sites such as TransworldSurf.com.
On two waves, the goofy-foot Torkos pumps down the line backside on a small right, flips the board and stays with it.
Westsider Shawn “Barney” Barron, no stranger to new and bizarre surfing tricks, said Wednesday that the clip was “a great attempt.”
“That’s crazy what he’s doing,” Barron said. “Once he goes more off the lip with it, the more legit it is. He’s definitely one of about five people in the world who’s even attempting kickflips.”
Barron, by the way, is not one of them.
“I can’t even do them on a skateboard. Why would I try them on a surfboard?” Barron asked with a laugh.
Barron, who lives on the same street as Torkos, has known the 29-year-old for years.
Torkos, who has been attempting the move for 18 months, said he has made two kickflips that were not filmed because he doesn’t have a full-time shooter. Now, he and Panudy plan to nail it.