Outside magazine, July 1999
The Diving Dig | The Cartwheel | The Figure Four | Take the Stairs | The Crossover Dribble | The Righteous Gitis | The Rock-a-Copter | Hang Ten | The Twisting Somersault | The Wheelie
"The dynamics seem impossible because there's nothing holding the back of the board down," says 36-year-old Izzy Paskowitz, director of his family's renowned surf camp in San Clemente, California, musing on the mechanics of what remains the coolest of longboard stunts: walking to the front of your stick, perching yourself improbably on the unsupported nose, and then rubbing it in Poseidon's face by wrapping all ten toes over the front edge. "It's weird, but your board just melds with the wave." Which is to say, it works.
Leave your ankle leash on the beach, paddle out maybe 30 feet beyond the break, and look for a wave between one and ten feet tall and with a long shoulder. Catch it and pop up into a crouch with your feet perpendicular to the board. Once you're cruising, delicately cross your back leg over the front and then take several quick steps to the front. And if you're in it for full bragging rights, don't shuffle. "It counts," says Paskowitz. "It's just not cool." Out at the nose, place a hang five, cross your fingers, and then place your hang ten. Be careful, in your excitement, not to overshoot that final stride—a common misstep. Ride it until you feel the tail rising and the nose diving, and then, if you haven't yet pearled, step back to the middle. "Two seconds would be an accomplishment," says Paskowitz. "Three seconds and getting back without falling would be awesome."
WHAT IT TAKES
About 500 attempts, meaning you'll need strong shoulders to paddle out to each of those waves. Otherwise, the matter of physique is...largely immaterial. "Long-boarders like to have that second and third beer on Sunday afternoons," says Paskowitz. "You can do this with a belly of splendor."