Just when you thought surfing couldn’t get any more extraordinary, you spot two Adrenalists riding the same board, narrowly making it out of the pit. This is tandem surfing, and this type of surfing requires a different skill set entirely. If big wave surfing, motorized surfboards and man-made wave pool surfing spots just aren’t enough for you, these tandem surfing videos might just be the push you need.
Tandem surfing puts acrobatics and strength to the test. Tandem surfing athletes usually a man and a woman, ride the same surfboard while the man hoists the woman the in air and contorts her body into breathtaking shapes and forms. The holder has to both support her in the air, making sure she isn’t about to fall into the water, as well as keep the surfboard, which is carrying both of them, headed in the right direction and level. It’s a pretty tall task, as you can probably imagine, but the truly skilled tandem surfers operate with perfect form, to the point where it looks like they’re just as good on the surfboard as they would be on land. Maybe even better.
As tempting as it is to refer to one move as “that one where the girl stands on the guy’s shoulders,” and another as “that one where he just holds her up in the air with one hand, how does he do that,” all of the moves actually have names. In this video, we see moves like “swans,” some “stags,” some “French backpacks,” and a variety of other tricks, all seeming more impossible than the one before.
Of course, where there is tandem surfing, there will also be big waves, and here we see a couple cutting through the surf like they’re one seamlessly integrated human. Watch them shift their weight to accommodate the movements of the water and the board. A wipeout is never a factor here, due to the skill, concentration and technique of the surfers.
There’s no better way to truly appreciate how amazing this is than to get on the board with the surfers. Watching both operate from the perspective of the board, it’s insane to see how smoothly and easily all of the movements appear to be made; there’s a fluidity to the lifts and adjustments that has to come with years of steady practice, not to mention a familiarity with your tandem surfing partner that would take months or years to develop. And the flexibility involved in just about every aspect of the sport is insane — it’s like watching gymnasts suspended in space. If you want to really take up a challenging new hobby, tandem surfing may be the choice for you this summer.