Exposure Shits on Image — Part 2

posted by / News / August 25, 2010

Massive, innovative airs + massive, frightening waves — an odd pairing. Flynn Novak makes it work. Photo: Flindt

Massive, innovative airs + massive, frightening waves — an odd pairing. Flynn Novak makes it work. Photo: Flindt


This is Part 2 in a three-part interview, broken up for online attention spans.

Flynn Novak finished fifth at Pipe this year. Kelly Slater gave him huge props on his Innersection. And he’s the only surfer in the world currently pulling legitimate backflips.

He also has no proper sponsor. No travel budget. No savings. And no emo art-guy surf blog marketability plan. He has really spiky hair.

He’s a 27-year-old pro surfing lifer who never quite made it big.

But he landed another backflip at Padang today. He may just land one tomorrow, too. The Kustom Airstrike practically owes him $50,000. And this just might be his big shot.

If there’s any brand out there who needs a hardworking, Pipe surfing, North Shore team rider with too-spiky hair who can do backflips into the barrel — please call 808-555-FLIP. Operators are standing by. —Nathan Myers



SURFING Magazine: When was the first time you pulled a flip?
FLYNN NOVAK: I figured out that rotation eight or nine years ago in Tahiti when I was 19. Basically I just kept doing it and my friends were saying, “You’re blowing so many waves.” A few years ago I landed two. I was in Mokoli’i surfing by myself. So I knew I could do it. I’ve come so close so many times. Now a lot of people are almost hating on it, saying Timmy Curran was the first. It’s like, Dude, he wasn’t.

I remember when SURFING Magazine first ran Timmy’s flip. No one had heard about you doing one. If there’s no proof, who’s to say you really pulled it?
It wasn’t even about proof, because Timmy Curran never did a legit backflip. He’s doing an air 360. I’m not even worried, because he hasn’t done what I’ve done. When they ran a spread in SURFING I was like, Brah, I have Aaron Chang photos of me doing the exact same thing bigger.

Where were they?
They all get sent to the same magazines. I didn’t have any sponsors and Timmy was riding for Hurley, so you know how that goes. Hurley’s buying ads in the magazine. I know how that is. I’m not bitter, but I’m not afraid to say it. Ask Tim who he first saw doing it.

And this year was the first year you got it on film.
Just this last March. I was all excited about Innersection, and I basically bribed a friend — $500 and two surfboards — to film me. So he agreed to it, and we just started filming. I nailed two backflips in two weeks.

How many did you try?
A lot. You can’t do it every wave ‘cause the section’s not there, but I was trying a lot of them every day.

Is it dangerous?
I’ve broken so many boards. If you look at my quiver, there’s front and back heel prints in every board. But I’ve reached the point where I know where I need to be — it’s just a matter of finding the right section. It’s such a functional maneuver if you do it perfect. I have the one clip where it’s the best thing I could have done on that section: backflip straight into the barrel.

Do you like doing them?
I love it. It’s been going on for years. Even doing a huge one knowing I’m not gonna land it just feels cool, like jumping off a diving board. I love doing airs. You feel like you’re flying.

Did you name it the “Flynnstone Flip”?
I was given that name when I was 17. My friend’s three-year-old daughter called me Flynnstone and it stuck. It’s a nickname — you don’t choose that.

Part 1 of the Flynn Novak interview can be seen here. Part 3 will be posted tomorrow.


Submissions for the 2010 Kustom Airstrike must be in by August 31. Here again is Flynn Novak’s entry:

Flynn Novak – Airstrike entry 2010 from Kustom Airstrike on Vimeo.

Related Articles:

Exposure Shits On Image — Part 3
August 26, 2010

The final chapter in the Flynn Novak Interview more >

Exposure Shits On Image — Part 1
August 24, 2010

The Flynn Novak Interview more >

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  • Mike G

    I thought this was really cool, Check out what I found on the Kustom Air Stike website:

    Pual Polendey said (9 hours ago)
    It blew my mind to find an of Surfing issue March 2004. Flynn’s on the cover. And on page 133 doing a FlynnStone in an ad, YEARS prior to any other documented attempts. He truly is the originator.

  • Eric B.

    Let it be known, Flynn is the OG backflip innovator! And one of the most well rounded surfers in the world. Besides being under rated, he’s a really good role model for the future as well.

    Anyone who says otherwise is nothing but an ignorant internet hater!

    One of the most exciting surfers to witness in his element of riding anything and doing everything!

  • Mike G.

    I thought this was really cool, check what I found on the Kustom Air Strike website:

    Pual Polendey said (9 hours ago)
    It blew my mind to find an of Surfing issue March 2004. Flynn’s on the cover. And on page 133 doing a FlynnStone in an ad, YEARS prior to any other documented attempts. He truly is the originator.

  • wiggy

    you got robbed at pipe against slater. the judges should be shot!

  • Summer Ford

    The proof is in the pudding…Good job Mike G!

  • RogerT

    Flynn charges like no other. Give the man credit.

  • ISLAND SILVERhawaii.com

    i seen it with my own eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • stay home??/

    youll never sing better than timmy (if that gay whining is singing) sorry flynn, its time to give up the cry me a river routine.

    do you know how many people are unemployed and losing homes ????

  • Steph L.

    Flynn, I’ve never heard u so fired up and I love it. Speak the truth homey and brush these donkey haters off. Heeeeehaaaaw. You’re a super solid guy, a hard worker and waaaay past due on getting the credit you deserve.

  • ez96712

    image is a buunch of queeer shit…….flynn is badasss

  • Pingback: Exposure Shits On Image — Part 1 | JAQ News

  • thetruth

    Alright. There are certainly internet haters, and there are also people (i.e. Rick Novak) that are so blinded by what they think Flynn deserves they are single handedly sabotaging any career he has left. Listen to this song.

    “surf like flynn” http://www.myspace.com/buckyburro

    He calls out three major surf brands, and says surfing magazine has there “heads up their ass.” Is this guy for real? And he says he has no chip on his shoulder? And Flynn isn’t the best unsponsored surfer. Not even the best from hawaii. Hank Gaskell shits on him. So does Gavin Gillette. So does Ola Eleogram. That is the truth.

  • Steve

    “thetruth” is dead right.

    Rick, your enthusiasm for your nephew is touching, but purely destructive. It’s like having your mom jump in and help out in a schoolyard fight. Sure, she might kick the other kid’s ass, but in the end, it makes you look like even more of a pussy. And in the midst of it all, you’re trying to hype your own music career (I was ashamed to be the 18th person to listen to that song). It’s like, after the fight, your mom says, “Yeah, bitch, who else wants a piece of this!”

    Kustom must be so bummed that Flynn should win the Airstrike. I think the judges are all at Kerr’s house helping him with his 720. Anything but that double-grab, stink-bug, loopty-loo thing. But as of now, if Kustom doesn’t give him the $50k, well, they probably shouldn’t even run the thing next year. Or just call it the Kustom Air-Reverse-Strike Challenge.

    I’m not trying to be a hater. Flynn’s a great surfer deserves more support. He also deserves LESS support from certain people. And probably $25k of the Airstrike money.

    Unfortunately, none of this is gonna happen…and I’m bracing myself for Rick’s response…cause this is all he does.

  • Mike G.

    Keep dreaming “theTruth” ,,, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, Rick Novak or who even “theTruth”, but your name has false meaning ’cause you don’t know what you’re talking about… so like I said buddy, keep dreaming because Flynn Novak is the real deal!!!

  • Rach

    Thats right Flynn Novak is the real deal! And if you don’t know that then you don’t know him!!! And if you don’t know him you shouldn’t be talking smack about him.

  • Rick Novak

    I’m not going to get into it with the haters, or truthers, or birthers or whatever, but I will say that everyone knows that Flynny doesn’t need ANYONE to cover his back. But he’s got a huge crew, including myself AND his Mom, who are happy to do it, simply because we like and respect the guy. No blindness necessary.
    As for the song, there’s a long-standing tradition of surfers giving other surfers friendly shit. I’m sure Surfing Mag, RipCurl, O’Neill, and Quiksilver get it. If you don’t, maybe you need to buy yourself a sense of humor.
    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  • Doug

    Guys get sponsored because they help a company increase both it’s profile and brand perception. A guy can be getting photos in the magazines, doing well in contests and pulling flips, but if the public opinion of him is a dickhead then he’s pretty much worthless to a sponsor. Who is going to think a brand is cool because a guy that surfs well but is a jerk wears their trunks?

    Unfortunately for Flynn in the marketability stakes it seems he takes 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Pull a flip, then throw public tantrums and push blame onto the rest of the world and industry as to why he got DQ’d from Innersection and doesn’t have some cushy sponsorship deal.

  • Steve Briggs

    Non of this is about whether you “know” Flynn or not. It is simply to judge his “air” and determine if he should win or not. When you compare his move to the others his looks more like a circus trick. That wave would be called 2 feet in Hawaii also so what were the consequences for Flynn if he didn’t make the move. How high did he get? Not very high about the lip. Reminds me of the airs Liam used to do on the lefts at Rocky’s when it was really windy.
    If you don’t know why Flynn is not sponsored then you will probably never understand the reasons. There is way more to it than doing a circus flip on a two foot wave. Hank Gaskell deserves a big sponsor before Flynn. The truth hurts so suck it up and make yourself a better person and maybe things will start to go your way.

  • mandingo

    Flynn’s air is a winner. Chipa’s whatever you call that, is insane though not an air more like trick kick flip reverse that had some air under his board.. All the entries are nutz anyways.
    Hank Gaskell does not deserve a sponsor before flynn. Hank’s style is horribe and his name sounds like some nascar hick fanclub manager from missouri. Whateva

  • Damon Meade

    I read in the latest Transworld that Flynn wrote “a good friend of mine from NZ told me that Damon Meade done the digging”. What a load of rubbish Flynn, did you make that statement up? For the record myself or Luke had nothing to do with it, and we don’t know where the DQ came from. Who was your good friend from NZ who said that?

    It’s about time you stopped trying to bring other people down and take responsibility for your own mistakes. It’s pretty hard for anybody to give you credibility when all you do is publicly write people off. I haven’t said a single bad word about you. I actually had you in my top 5 for that round. Go figure