If you’re unfamiliar with Zoltan Torkos, you’re missing one of the most innovative, outstanding athletes in all of surfing. His nickname, “The Magician,” is part hereditary: he’s a 4th generation magician and has made magic part of his ethos on a surfboard. Torkos doesn’t surf the way most of us envision: when he’s on the surf board, he surfs like most people skate.
In March of 2011 during a Volcon Surf Contest, Torkos was the first person to video his kickflip on his surfboard. A kickflip is when you flip your board 360 degrees along the longer, x-axis of the board, and then land after its rotation. It’s normally done on a skateboard, but Torkos was the first to record it on a surf board. The kickflip on a surfboard is not his only first, either.
The next month, his “darkslide” was successfully caught on camera (see video above). A darkslide is flipping the board around again, but this time, instead of flipping it a full 360 degrees, he just goes 180 degrees and lands on the underside of the board. Torkos rides the wave on his upside-down board from there. Since surfboards aren’t waxed on the fin side, it’s extremely hard to pull off and stay on your feet. Rodney Mullen invented the trick on the skateboard, but Torkos is the first to complete the trick in swirling surf.
If you think Torkos’ tricks are just examples of surfing hubris, you don’t know the real reason he’s attacking the waves with such ingenuity. He is commemorating his friend, Carl Reiner, who died as a victim of gang warfare, and trying to helps others in similar situations. By incorporating skateboard tricks into surfing, he’s hoping to inspire other youngsters to forgo life in the street and focus on more positive pursuits like surfing and skating. His motto is: “Pull tricks, not triggers.”
A true Adrenalist fosters a positive outlet within their community while also entertaining anyone lucky enough to be watching. There aren’t many athletes achieving this goal better than Zoltan Torkos.