Floods Mean Surf’s Up in Venice, Italy

Dutch wakeboarder Duncan Zuur took to the waters of Venice the other day.

Not Venice Beach California, but Italy’s famed La Serenissima. Zuur made a blink-and-you-missed it four turns around the city’s famed St. Marks square before calling it a day.

How did Zuur pull it off? With the help of a sponsor, naturally.

Once in Venice, Zuur’s team waited for the waters to reach about 4 1/2 feet (1.35 m), then sprang into action. They pulled a 20 horsepower motor winch from a hiding place, setting it up under the square’s arcade.

One team member, appropriately clad in rubber boots, pulled the winch cable across the square, then handed one end to Zuur.

Zuur, who in the meantime had suited up, surfed across the square. Four elegant turns later, Zuur’s feat was applauded with a standing ovation from surprised, waterlogged tourists.

Speed was key: the stunt was up and over so fast that police patrolling the square didn’t take notice.

Floods, known as acqua alta in Italian, have long been a problem in Venice prompting solutions such as the Moses floodgate project and text-message alerts. This year, the flooding reached over five feet, the worst it’s been in 20 years.