Remember the opening scene in Speed where Keanu Reeves rescues a group of people moments before the bad guy cuts the cables? Reeves pulled everyone to safety by climbing on top of the elevator and getting them out through the hatch at the top. Elevator surfing is sort of like that scene, but there's no evil Dennis Hopper character to run from.
Elevator surfing first became popular in the mid-1980s, and is most common among teens and college students [source: Kruszelnicki]. Surfers usually work as duos, with one person operating the elevator manually while the other person "surfs" on top of the car. To access the top, kids either climb through the hatch at the top, Keanu-style, or force elevator doors open while the car is between floors and jump on that way [source: Tom].
Elevator surfing is extremely dangerous, and people have died doing it. Some surfers try to jump between side-by-side elevators once in the shaft and fall, and others have been crushed to death when misjudging when to get out or when their partners couldn't stop the elevator in time [source: Kruszelnicki]. Because it's such a dangerous sport, many cities have banned it. At many colleges, like Mississippi State, elevator surfing is explicitly forbidden in the school's code of conduct, and can result in eviction from the dorms [source: Department of Student Housing].