Stab Magazine | Why Kickflips Just Won't Work In Surfing (A Belated Look)

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Why Kickflips Just Won’t Work In Surfing (A Belated Look)

You have to be able to drive a car before you can reinvent the wheel.

style // Jun 10, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

I have a confession to make: I once thought about sincerely pursuing Volcom’s Kickflip Challenge.

Figured I had enough fancy footwork to nut-rail myself all the way to that 20K win. I was right into tricks when I was younger. We’re talking supermans, rodeos, passion pops, varials, all that shit. Consider that another confession.

I even know the fella who owns SoloShot, which meant I wouldn’t have to take every fibre of respect in my relationship and tear them all into irreconcilable pieces by suggesting that my wife, a fully grown woman, spend her time filming me, a fully grown man attempting kickflips on an encased piece of foam in the ocean.

Never pursued it though — not because I didn’t want to. But because I talked to a friend at Volcom and heard they’d called it off.

Zoltan Torkos, apparently, has no friends at Volcom.

They paid him $10K for an under the lip kicky 15 years ago in 2011, but it seems as though he lost touch with the company as soon as the check hit his mailbox. So, a few weeks back, he introduced this above the lip one with a plea for $20K.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-9qrLind8y8

Zoltan will never get that money — as I said, Volcom cancelled the contest. All he’ll ever get for landing surfer’s first proper kickflip is a couple hundred thousand views on this video and his name in somewhere in the inexplicable darkness of the back of your mind. Fair enough.

Some might wonder why the first person to ever kickflip a surfboard wouldn’t receive any real support from the surf industry. Those same individuals might also wonder what, exactly, a groundswell is. In other words, they’ve got a lot of shit to figure out.

Surfing has a core that it refuses to stray from. This creates a shield that protects us from gimmicks. For every Mick Fanning 7.87 at Bells, there’s a guy doing 360 chop-hops whose professional surf career will culminate with a product-based sponsorship by a heinous energy drink brand called LIGHTNING JOLT. You have to be able to surf before you can reinvent surfing. We’re fortunate for this.

That said, I think we need to go all in on people like Zoltan. It has nothing to do with kickflips. It has everything to do with the fact that he boldly defies the laws that govern our universe using only small strands of rubber [see: the start of his clip]. And after all, his name is fucking Zoltan!

Surfing is in desperate need of personality. There should be no formula. People should just be whoever they think they are. With a few exceptional exceptions, it feels like most people select one out of like five different moulds and gel into it. It’s conformity disguised as style.

Right now, surfing does not need kickflips. But it does need character.

“Anything is possible. -Zoltan Torkos” -Brendan Buckley

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