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Monday, March 14, 2011
Torkos to collect $10k for kickflip

By Jon Coen
ESPN Action Sports

Think you've had a weird week? Zoltan Torkos, of Santa Cruz, Calif. has you beat. Back in November of 2007, Volcom put $10,000 on the line for whoever could be the first to provide video evidence of a kickflip on a surfboard. On March 4, Torkos produced what clearly seemed to be that video at Steamer Lane, CA. Like most of the world, he assumed he would be collecting the money as winner of the Volcom Stone Great Kickflip-Off. Volcom saw it differently and encouraged him to keep trying. Then, a week later, they reversed course and announced he was indeed the winner.

Initially, Volcom cited Rule #3 of their Kickflip-Off: "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."

Debate proceeded to rage in online forums and chat threads about whether or not Volcom's reasoning was sound. Torkos' maneuver was not off the backwash. It's open to debate whether or not it was a chop hop. And whether or not it was above the lip wasn't that easy to determine, being as the footage was shot from a bluff above the wave. Still, the majority of the online sentiment seemed clearly behind Torkos.

"C'mon Volcom!" one commenter on the thread that developed below the YouTube video posted. "Give Zoltan the money!"

"It's a make, the first ever on film, but not a proper air or above the lip, as he popped it from the middle of the face," Volcom's Director of Surfing, Mike Guarino told ESPN last week, "Stoked on Zoltan and his efforts, though. Dude is pushing it for sure."

Volcom Stone's Great Kickflip-off

On Friday, March 10, Volcom reversed its decision and decided that Torkos would receive the $10k. "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," Guarino said of Volcom's change of heart.

In an interview with Surfline.com's Marcus Sanders, Guarino elaborated: "You can do a chop hop that technically goes above the lip. But we now want to make sure the air is projected off the lip, not from the flats."

And therein lies the basis for the new Kickflip-Off: the Above and Off the Lip Kickflip-Off. The new bounty is $20,000. Voclom plans to release a video this week explaining the new criteria.