|ESPN.com: Surfing||[Print without images]|
The best surfers in the past were identified by there style and flow on wave. Style was measured by a surfer's ability to ride a wave, start to finish, with ease. As surfing entered the modern era, wave riding became more focused on the progression of a single maneuver than the completion of an entire ride. For almost a decade, Flynn Novak has surfed his beloved Rocky Point on the North Shore with a single goal in mind. He had a vision to be the first surfer to successfully pull a back flip on a wave.
On a trip to Tahiti 10 years ago, Flynn and his friends began to experiment with flying off the back of the wave. At the end of each ride, he would try different variations of aerials to see what was possible. Eventually Flynn recognized the proper section of a wave that would take him into a vertical rotation where he was centered over his board. Flynn set his sights on completing the back flip and for years practiced the maneuver any opportunity he had.
In 2010, Flynn spent the winter with a single goal to successfully pull and document the very first back flip. On a head high day at Rocky Point, Flynn realized his dream and made the maneuver he had envisioned over ten years prior. Flynn eventually pulled more flips and entered his first couple into online video competitions like Innersection and the Kustom Airstrike. He won $50,000 for his efforts in the Kustom Airstrike and the title of completing the most innovative maneuver the world had ever seen.
This winter Flynn has continued to perfect the maneuver and make the impossible look effortless. Flynn has set new goals to progress the back flip by attempting different variations on bigger and better waves. Flynn visions a day when someone will get spit out of a 10-foot barrel at the world's deadliest wave, Pipeline, and then go immediately into a giant back flip. Flynn has inspired an entire generation of surfers to get out in the lineup and complete their goals. As the surfing world continues to progress, the next generation will look up to Flynn and always take notice of his vision of riding a wave.