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Oh, hey gang!

This is your captain speaking. We’d like to take a moment to introduce the cabin crew. The Kustom Airstrike is back in 2012, with another 50 large ready to be gifted. Flynn Novak won the last instalment with a, uh, backflip. The Airstrike brings out the best in aerial surfers. Sheesh, $50k brings out the best in anyone. But a contest that celebrates futurism and awards just one trick? That’s quite something. It’s an integral part of surfing’s incessant and delightful progression.

Right now, in the Mentawai Islands, there’s five men on a boat. John Florence, Ryan Callinan, Chippa Wilson, Matt Meola and Albee Layer. They’re out there, each trying to nail the trip’s best air. In the weeks following the trip, four webisodes will filter out. At the end, you, the viewer, will vote for the best air. The winner will take $50k. The power is with the people! Below is a little about each surfer currently playing the game.

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Chris ‘Chippa’ Wilson

Chip likes tech. Here he demonstrates the unfortunately-titled "Dog Piss". Sequence: Matt O'Brien

Chris ‘Chippa’ Wilson is from Cabarita and knows much about being above the lip. His mind works in the most analytical way imaginable. Sit him down and ask him to talk you through any aerial move and he’ll break it down to the most finite detail. In fact, we’ve been doing just that for some time now – Chip, y’see, is in-house consultant for Stab‘s Guide to Trick Surfing, which you may’ve seen in the last few print editions. Kid nearly won the Airstrike with a backside big spin last time around. Yes, you read that right. What’ll he throw down this time?

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Albee Layer

The eighth and ninth shots? Now that's how you rotate a backside air-revs.

Victory in the most recent Innersection. The 540 attempts. The wildly-rotated backside air-revs. There’s no doubt that Albee Layer has gained some serious aerial swagger from repeatedly hucking into that Maui trade-wind. Even when he lands laid-back he’s in control, and kinda looks infallible. Almost. Albee and Matt seem to operate in their own world, which oddly enough affords them the talent to think way, way outside the box. If Albee plants a 540 out in the Ments, the $50k is as good as his.

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Matt Meola

Everyone from Josh Kerr to John Florence is trying Matt's inverted frontside spin. He gets way more upside down than this, too.

Matt won Innersection the first time it ran, two years ago. The highlight of his part were his wheelie straight-airs, which had a hesh skate charm about them that Kelly’s are probably missing, especially since Matt finishes his with knee-break landings in the flats. Nearly everything’s fully-rotated and he’s constantly in danger of vertigo. Matt first grabbed Stab‘s attention with a Madonna attempt (a slob, but with the front foot removed and kicked out). So much so, that it ended up on the cover of issue 44. More recently, his corked frontside spins have everyone talking, including aerial wizard Josh Kerr: “I’m gonna start trying whatever those flips that Matt Meola’s been doing are,” he told Stab. “I froth on those.”

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Ryan Callinan

You've seen this before. It's the backside spin/flip that wow'd the surf world last year. Sequence: Tom Carey

Ryan Callinan goes for broke, always. And he’s got two reconstructed ankles (both within the last year) to prove it. “The thing I most love is to see is someone going as big as they can and falling,” he says. “It gets me so amped. That’s what gets me most psyched.” With that in mind, what do you think being on a boat with four of the world’s best aerial surfers will do to Ryno’s froth levels? Also bear in mind that, last year in the Mentawais, he did one of the year’s best tricks, an upside down air-revs on his backside (pictured) that made it into Lost Atlas and Blow Up. Will he pull another gem outta the (bank)vault? He sure has the grit. Let him at it!

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John Florence

Such control, at this height? Next-level, to say the least. Slob in Japan. Sequence: Nate Lawrence

What really needs to be said about this kid? Conductor of Pipeline symphonies and a teen who’s earned the praise of seasoned vets (Mick Fanning told Stab two days ago that John is “so relaxed, he finds the craziest waves and he just doesn’t seem to freak out. He’s really calm. It’s pretty crazy to watch.”) But it ain’t just the braves and serenity John has. It’s also his small wave game, which he proved by winning the Billabong Pro, Rio in waist-high waves. He even opened the final with a full-rote backside air-revs. Capacity to break norms is key to progressive surfing, and John has it in spades.

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There they are. Be sure to check out the Airstrike site for frequent updates. And, check back here tomorrow for a mindblowing gallery of the action so far. Teaser: John Florence will, with one photograph, bend your mind. Again. – Elliot Struck

  • Nick Bryant

    they r all hot…. espesh chippa… tats n muscles… yum yum yum

    add me on fb

    http://www.facebook.com/nick.bryant.965

    xx

  • The Blackbox Recorder

    Did this contest not used to be open to anyone? Didn’t the sponsorless kid down the beach used to have as much chance at winning this if he went big as every hotshot pro on the planet? Nothing against these five guys, but now we have to vote to see which one of these big earners gets another 50K placed in their sweet pockets? Why these 5 in particular?

    Something smells kinda crook around here.

    • wee-bey

      agree, shit be fucked

  • Californicator

    The defending Airstrike champ can’t defend his title, WEAK. Flynns not as “cool” marketable as any of these cats but he is champ.

  • yeah

    meh. will be good to watch.

  • Flynn hasatinydick

    Don`t wanna be negative….. But…. Flynn Novak stinks!

  • Roderick Archer

    Yes! This is going to be amazing!

  • Limp Dick

    Why is there a comments section? All I see every time I check this site is great footage, good photos, poor grammar and things that make my life more interesting. It breaks up the monotony of working and is a welcome respite to the daily ‘grind’. Whether we like it or not, the ethos of this website (other than making $) is to provide a platform for the viewers that transcends our own tiny existence. Through this site we’re living our lives through another’s talent… So, if you can’t do any of the things these guys in the clips can do, just shut up and watch, and if you have an opinion, keep it to yourself. Or, go one better and pick up a camera, build your own website and prove me wrong.

    • William

      RE: Limp D.
      Exactly. If you have an opinion, keep it to yourself.

  • Boggy McRail

    could you imagine watching those guys from the boat, shit would blow your mind. i woulda included marzo and coleborn too

  • joker

    Holly fuk how high are chippa and johns airs crazy.

  • Jack-O

    “The Airstrike brings out the best in aerial surfers. ” where’s daynolds, medina, craig anderson, flyn novak, marzo? joke

  • Annie Layer

    when the last innersection started, albee wasn’t sponsored by anyone. guts guts guts and talent talent talent landed him this spot and will many many more. and props to the rest of the guys too. gotta love someone called john john.

    • Annie Layer

      and p.s. albee doesn’t think outside the box. he does not, in fact, recognize the existence of the box. a family trait.

  • StCalKiddo

    yawn. the bests aerialists are not there.

  • pringled

    If this was to be the best punts of 2012 why wouldnt they have more people on the trip..or at least have a couple groups of the best air guys go out an loft in indo or wherever..not just 1 boat trip full of 3 guys from hawaii an 2 aussies..i know theres a couple guys who can really punt that arent on that rouster..at least have guys from everywhere. nothing against those guys im sure one of them would win it anyway…but why not give the underdogs a shot. guys who arent sponsored from head to toe or already on tour..

  • johno

    Get used of it, this is the way surfing is going, the people with the biggest sponsorship get to go on these trips, pathetic, free surfing is about guy who use what they have got, the dont have the luxury of pursuing the best waves and best spots in the world. Not jealous but getting pretty sick of the pretty boys getting what they want../…

  • ME

    Flynn Novak stinks!

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