About 100 years ago, or so it feels, Zoltan Torkos did a kick flip on a surfboard. He’d been working towards it for a long time, just messing around in Santa Cruz, landing on his fins a million times and stabbing himself with the nose of his board on the regular. Then, in 2007, Volcom announced they were firing up a contest that would award $10,000 to the first person to land one, and Zoltan’s desire had a new kick in the butt. Volcom stated that the contest would run until there was a winner. And importantly, the fine print said that 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.
On March 4, 2011, Zoltan submitted this video:
Without reading the rules, it looked to be a clear win. Zoltan completed a kickflip – but it was definitely not above the lip. Volcom announced that they wouldn’t pony up the 10 gees, and soon faced the wrath of surfing’s most vile place: the internet. Some people loved it. Some people hated it. After a few days of condemnation, Volcom changed course, padded the Magician’s bank account, and upped the ante. Now the award was up to $20,000. I spoke with him four days later, and he was excited, to say the least.
And now, all these years later, Red Bull’s In Plain Sight — a five-part series that “creatively unveils subjects and personalities shaped by surfing” — is aiming its cameras at Torkos. He’s an interesting man, to say the least.
He comes from a family of magicians, which is not exactly something that most would pair with a surfer, but if Zoltan is anything, he is unabashedly himself. Which is just about the coolest thing a person can be.