Nate Fletcher Explains The Acid Drop
“Jumping off a 15-foot platform proves that a straight air or rotation that big is feasible.”
The acid-drop is a trip into the depths of psychosis, where a surfer jumps from a higher obstacle (building, rock, helicopter) into a wave and rides it down the line.
The drop was initially attempted in 2006 by a guy crazy enough to think he should descend off a cliff with a surfboard underfoot: Nathan Fletcher. That morning in Santa Cruz, he plunged 15 times, ultimately leaving without the make. Two days later, he drove 10 miles north to Davenport Beach, where he scaled the massive spire and leapt into the history books with his iconic “40-Foot Bomb Drops!” Transworld Surf cover, captured beautifully by Dave “Nelly” Nelson.
Nathan Fletcher took the acid drop idea from his juvenile years of skateboarding.
“Back in the day, Danny Way acid-dropped off a helicopter onto the mega wall, and Christain Hosoi did it off roofs,” Nathan said. “It was a time when people just went big, and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Nathan Fletcher has inspired multiple interpretations of surfing’s acid drop.
In 2018, Oliver Kurtz landed a puddle jump in Los Angeles before the cops called his bluff.
In the 2016 Kai Neville film Cluster, Noa Dean put his ACL to the test and stomped one.
Even Olympic Gold Medalist and current World #3, Italo Ferreira, has dabbled in the game.
We felt compelled to ask Nathan Fletcher: What exactly qualifies as an acid-drop?
Nate runs with a loose definition: “In skateboarding, when you roll off a platform onto the pool — it’s considered a proper acid drop.”
He continued, “Jumping off a ski and landing forward can be difficult to stomp in surfing. The drop is about seeing what the body can withstand. Jumping that 10 or 15-foot platform proves that a straight air or rotation that big is feasible.”
In 2019, Stab took a literal approach to the feat. Nathan Fletcher hosted Stab High’s Acid-Drop challenge as a pre-final intermission. Of the hand-selected contestents — Mason Ho, Harry Bryant, Noah Beschen, and wavemaker Cheyne Magnusson included — not one was able to stick the 12-foot-plus wall drop and ride out clean.
So, how do you land one of these things?
Nathan Fletcher explained: “You come from behind the wave and maintain your inertia towards the beach to stick it — that’s why the cliff at Steamer Lane is one of the best places.”
Yesterday, Stab Highway California presented by Monster Energy released episode 2, where all four teams reported to the Lane for the daunting acid drop location challenge. Among the descendants were Kuio Young, Jacob Szekely, Eithan Osborne, and Micky Clarke. After a brief run-down from Coach Fletcher, the boys cracked both fiberglass and face in a series of courageous flights.
“The acid drop can be a losing situation,” Nathan Fletcher said. “The Highway showed both the difficulty and common-senselessness of the trick. I enjoyed watching those guys anchor their consciousness and throw their hearts into it.”
So should we wave the white flag on this one?
“Nah, it’ll happen — you just need the right conditions and good knees,” Nathan Fletcher concluded, optimistically.
Watch Episode 2 of Stab Highway, presented by Monster HERE now. And keep in mind we’ve got a free 7-day trial for Stab Premium — all reward, no risk!
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