After New Yorkers were captivated by a video of a man surfing the outside of an underground J train last week, Metro spoke to an expert on the secret — and dangerous — form of subterranean travel.

Erik, a 28-year-old Flatbush resident, spent his teen years “surfing” along on the outside of subway cars. “It’s about people reaching outside of themselves,” said Erik, who declined to give his last name. “It’s about chasing adrenaline.”

Erik said the best lines to ride are the F and the B in Brooklyn, because the elevated trains make for brilliant views.

“Older generations used to do it a lot more,” he said. “It went hand-in-hand with graffiti culture. There were crews of people that used to do it.”


He's never surfed trains inside tunnels, he said, for fear of smashing into unseen obstacles.

And Erik is now retired: He stopped his daredevil hobby after one of his friends died while surfing a train in a tunnel.

“He climbed on top of the train and he hit a beam,” he said. “He was in a coma in the hospital and then he passed. I never did it after that.”

He’s worried that the latest video of a man surfing might inspire copycats.

“If there’s one copycat that hurt themselves, I wouldn’t be able to deal with it,” he said. “It’s just stupid.”

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.

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