The Kickflip That Was

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Zoltan at one of his local spots, Steamer Lane.

Volcom changes minds and gives Zoltan the $10Gs

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Zoltan Torkos’ recent kickflip has created strong controversy over whether or not it was legitimately above the lip according to rule #3 of the competition. However there is no denying that this is the first functional kickflip caught on video and a milestone in futuristic surfing.

After further review Volcom has decided to reward Zoltan the $10K for his groundbreaking maneuver, and at the same time redefine the rules and double the prize money on the elusive “above and off the lip kickflip” now worth $20,000.

“We really want to celebrate Zoltan’s successful kickflip, and continue to push the concept of futuristic surfing. Zoltan was the first and we feel shouldn’t be the last,” said Volcom’s Director of Surfing, Mike Guarino.

“This is a dream come true, better than any lottery win,” said Zoltan Torkos. “This has been the most amazing four months of my life and I can’t thank you enough! If you were here you’d be on my shoulders and I’d be running through the neighborhood!”

A video explaining the new $20,000 Kickflip-off competition with redefined rules will be released this week. Volcom is stoked that Zoltan’s kickflip has been etched in the history books and are looking forward to seeing new attempts and rewarding $20,000 for the first surfer who nails it above and off the lip.

The Kickflip That Almost Was

Tuesday March 8th, 2011

Before January most of the world’s only knowledge of a person named Zoltan was that of Dude Where’s My Car? Then in January Zoltan Torkos posted a clip of himself attempting the kickflip. And just a few days ago Zoltan posted what we called the first kickflip ever landed on film, which is true. Though rule number three of Volcom’s Kickflip Off would be in question for whether Zoltan received the $10Gs: “The kickflip must be a real air ‘above the lip’ – No backwash, No chop hops, or anything in the flats or below the lip of the wave.” Things were really in their court. With the decision made, we caught up with the professional butcher who works a 40-hour work week and has a wife and kid, Zoltan.—Ryan Brower

TransWorld SURF: The Volcom contest has been around for nearly three years now. How long have you been attempting this?
Zoltan Torkos:
I actually tried it before that but didn’t take it all that serious. It took my buddy Carl Reimer’s last day on Earth to really go for it. He did his first 360 air that morning and I went and tried a kickflip and landed out the back and he was like, “You can do it, you can definitely land that.” I just laughed it off and we went back to my house and he was like, “Dude you need to land that.” That was the last time I ever saw him. He got ambushed later that day in the middle of a gang shooting, just wrong place wrong time. That’s what has pushed me to do it—it’s all dedicated to him. I just want kids to know to pull tricks not triggers. I’m trying to show kids that you can prove you’re a man without hurting people. Do something positive, not negative.

What’s the hardest part about trying these?
Falling and getting nailed with the board every which way. Everyone’s laughing in the water, but no one had ever done it. I did those two other ones and those were like when you’re a kid first you’ve gotta crawl, then walk, then you can run. Right now this one I just landed was running. I was just real blown away about how far-reaching it’s been. Tony Hawk tweeted about it, Steve Caballero put it on his Facebook, Skip Engblom [of Dogtown notoriety] is trippin’ on it.

So what did Volcom say?
They decided to give me a $1,000 because it’s sick and the first successful one ever, but it’s not off the lip. I sent the video out as the canary in the coalmine to see if it would die. It got major responses. Tons of people were saying I deserved the money. It really blew my mind that they weren’t going to give me the $10-grand. I guess if you film from a 100-foot cliff, 300-feet away it’s going to look like a chop hop. The angle just didn’t do it justice, but it was still done.

I told Skip I didn’t get the $10-grand from Volcom he was trippin’, he was already asking me what I was doing with the money. But it’s nothing against Volcom, because they’ve progressed this thing completely. I want to make it high-fives and not be weird, but I have to stand by my artwork. It’s got to start somewhere. Airs weren’t judged in contests for years, and this is just another push like that. By Volcom not crowning me with this it’s almost holding surfing progression back—I could be working on a heelflip, but instead I’ve got to work on this kickflip for them. Not for the world or surfing, but for Volcom. I don’t want to argue with them because I want to revolutionize surfing, so I’m going to try kickflips every which way. I’m really stoked that the people are sticking up for me though.

You’ve just gotta fit it into their criteria now kind of thing, huh?
Yeah, it’s subjective and I just want to make it fun. I really just want to make it positive. We’re butting heads, but in the way of progression. It’s not a negative thing on any level—it’s just what it is. I just want to progress it and do this for Carl.

Zoltan doing kickflips.

Zoltan doing kickflips.

You got a lot of internet hate for your last video with the belly flops, but this one is ringing in a different tune.
I think a lot of people just don’t know what to make of it. I heard one hater saying it’s like all the ‘lame’ stuff Rodney Mullen did, but Rodney Mullen completely changed skateboarding. I just want to get kids to push surfing, or skating, or art, or any positive outlets. Do things like that instead of joining a gang. It’s left me in limbo in a lot of weird ways. It’s a real diverse moment in time. Everywhere I go people are screaming at me that I should have the money. I’m a pretty mellow dude and everyone wants to get into an emotional discussion about it, it’s funny.

In my mind it’s just a matter of time till you get the right one on film.
Exactly. And I’m stoked that they gave me the $1,000. I’m not looking on the bad side of it—the good side is I was the first one to do the kickflip, that’s good enough for me.

Completely. It’s the first one. Got to start somewhere.
I like that. It’s truly what it is. It’s like cavemen. We were once monkeys, now we can land kickflips on surfboards.