Anyone who’s tried to surf (or wind-surf or wakeboard) knows that keeping your footing as you canvas shape-shifting seas is a feat in and of itself. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, one unexpected water ripple could be enough to send you toppling off your board into the big blue abyss. That’s why we’re so amazed when we catch surfers performing stunts we expect from skateboarders, snowboarders and BMX riders, all of whom operate on solid ground. Doing a 360 in a skate park is awesome, sure, but doing one off a ten-foot swell? That’s a whole other level.
Summer’s over, but that doesn’t mean we have to put a hold on our appreciation of some of the most extreme surf stunts to hit the Internet. Pretend the sun’s beating down on your shoulders, the sand’s filling up the spaces in between your toes (except for the video that takes place on the streets of St. Petersburg) and you’re watching each one of these fantastic maneuvers first hand, in the flesh.
Here are five extreme surfing tricks.
Backside Air Reverse
We thought he was going down as soon as he started his first turn and with every subsequent movement he made, the probability of his landing such a spectacular trick seemed all the more thin. But then, almost as soon as the trick commenced, it was completed pretty darn flawlessly. We’ve never seen a more applause-worthy display of on-the-water precision. Oh, and it isn’t easy to surf with a backwards board (see 0:16 for a visual), despite how effortless this pro makes it look.
South African-born pro surfer Jordy Smith is one of the best in the business, and this video shows us exactly why that’s the case. Just when we think we’re watching a run-of-the-mill traverse through a white-capped Hawaiian wave, Jordy pulls a move that would be difficult to accomplish on a trampoline, let alone on a surfboard in the middle of the raging ocean. Maybe the most amazing part about the whole process is: he lands it. Yes, he eventually takes a tumble but the necessary two seconds of post-trick stasis are indisuptably present in the shot.
540 Alley Oop
This one’s for all you big-air lovers out there. While the first two selections kept a bit of a lower profile, Julian Wilson’s Bali-based 540 (really almost a 720) should give you your fill of high-flying aqua-batics. The momentum he works up prior to the jump is incredible and, at least in our minds, excuses the fact that he didn’t stick the landing. Some tricks are so difficult that the up-in-the-air poster shot is the best anyone could hope for. And oh what a poster shot this was. Wilson even had a little audience to cheer him on and congratulate him on a job well done after he came back up for air.
Russian Street Surf
Not every sensational surf occurs on the high seas. As we saw in our August coverage of the best wakeboarding videos, plenty of surfing (or, in this case, wakeboarding) fun can be had on the concrete streets of St. Petersburg, Russia (provided, of course, that they’re covered in water). Watch as one fearless daredevil battles traffic and takes on the prospect of some seriously scraped knees and elbows all in an effort to achieve one of the most unconventional surfs we’ve ever seen.
Tropical Storm Wind Surf
Is no wave ever big enough for you? Are you completely fearless? Do you think that getting swept up in the racing-fast winds of a tropical storm sounds like a lot of fun? Well then you might want to coordinate your next kitesurfing adventure with this man who used near-hurricane force winds to clear a Florida pier as hoards of camera-clenching spectators watched in awe of the horror that could have been, and the amazing, lucky jump that was. As we intimated in our initial coverage of kite surfing during tropical storm Debby, relying on the violent gusts of a tropical storm to quench your thirst for heart-pounding excitement is probably not the best idea. Just our two cents.