The Surfboard That Broke Gabriel Medina's Heart
Julian Wilson's Chopes breadwinner.
Nobody does barefoot sprints across the reef at Teahupoo quite like Julian Wilson. Juicing every last hundredth of a point out of his rides during the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Jules was all about grinding his fins and dry-docking his board if it meant making a heat. The effort paid off with his third tour victory—and his third finals win over Gabs Medina.
From the take-off to the lagoon, Jules’ equipment was dialled this year. While a lot of surfers were experimenting with something a little different—John John on a 6’0” Pyzel-shaped Ghost model with a bit of extra volume under the chest, Wilko on a 6’2” to help him “get into some nugs”- Julian was riding a comp-tested design by JS. It was a round pin version of the Forget Me Not model, the exact dimensions were 6’1/2" x 18 3/4” x 2 7/16” x 28.6L.
“Jules usually gets his good-wave boards as quad or thruster only, and after mostly opting for the quad in Fiji, he went with the thruster in Tahiti to help him slow down in the barrel more,” says Sam Zubevich at JS Industries. “He’s been doing a lot of work on that board.”
During the first two marathon days of the contest Jules went with the thruster, but with conditions cleaning up and kind of pulsing on the morning of the final, he picked up a quad.
“That was the first heat I rode a quad in,” he said after round four. “I think it really, really helped me on that first long wave I had. I don’t think I would have made it if I was on my thruster. The conditions were perfect for that kind of board.”
Sliding into fifth on the leader board with a serious shot of jumping into the world title conversation if he can post a result at the Hurley Pro, our guess is that Jules will be opening up the tail a bit and sticking to the thruster at Lowers. It’s a spot he’s long overdue for a victory at. It’s also a spot he could meet Gabs, again, in the final at.
“My gear has been feeling great all year, and especially at a wave like Chopes, where you’re putting extra force on your board and fins and you really need to feel like you’re in total control,” added Jules after the comp. “It’s all those little things that add up and give you confidence.”