A Seven Minute Conversation With Julian Wilson
Mostly regarding Teahupoo.
Julian Wilson’s year on tour has been anything but dull; He’s mixed seconds and thirds with 25ths, offering some of the year’s most exciting webcast viewing in the process. Most recently he competed in the US Open, and while his performance wasn’t what he’d hoped for, especially at an event he won in 2012, he did enjoy his time in the US, navigating the sweaty dust storm of Huntington by day, and listening to cops chase illegal street racers down the PCH from his room at the Shorebreak hotel by night. The tour now looks to the Pacific, to the end of the road, and Stab wished to acquire a preview of Tahiti through Julian’s lens…
Stab: So, Chopes next.
Julian Wilson: I love Chopes, it’s one of my favourites, for sure. Especially if we can get some good swell. It’d be so sick. You need it there, it gets a little tedious if there’s no waves. It’s one of those waves like Pipe or in Fiji, you just want a nice swell to come through and it makes the whole trip. It’s really reliant on a swell showing up, otherwise it’s just not satisfying.
Who are the danger men there? There aren’t any weak links on tour anymore, I don’t think. But, there’s definitely some standouts. There’s some strong guys that perform every time at certain waves. Obviously Kelly always navigates Teahupoo really well. Owen’s not going to be there, that’s usually a strong on for him. John John, obviously that place is his strength. Medina does well there.
Jules’ backside finner is a work of art. All the more impressive for a gent who grew up dining on the soft right points of Noosa. Rio, 2016.
He picks the deep runners, right? Like, you won’t really see him in a big left bowl. Yeah, he knows the waves he wants. He doesn’t really like to take too big of a risk, he’s always on the right one to get the score.
So diplomatic! What are your favourite waves out there? My favourites are when it’s solid and south. Once you get into them, if you make the takeoff, you know you’ve got it. They’re the sick ones. Six to eight foot, south. That’s sick.
What do you ride when it’s like that? I don’t really ride over 6’10” out there.
You need something shorter but with more volume, right? Seems like a longer board would catch easily. You can ride anything really. All that amazing stuff of Andy and CJ from a while back, they’re riding like 7’0” or maybe even 7’2”s. It’s not that it’s not possible to ride something longer, it’s just maybe a little easier if you go a little shorter so you have less board to catch, but with more volume for paddle power. But, you can still totally get away with riding bigger boards. It’s just easier travelling without taking as many different sizes.
Do you base your quiver on the forecast, or do you just make sure you’re just covered for every kinda condition? Every time, I look at the forecast. You know, at least the first 10 days of the waiting period, if something big is possible or not. I’ll always look at the forecast before I start packing my bag.
The oop is another of Julian’s most dialled swings (remember the Rip Curl Pro, Portugal one?). But really, there’s not a whole lot he hasn’t polished. This particular jumper was in West Oz when the tour rolled into town for Margarets.
That’s so you can take more of what you’ll need, right? Yeah, for sure. There, and Fiji, they’re those places where you’ve gotta take what you’re gonna ride, and bring it back home cause you don’t have boards there to fall back on if you break the stuff you took.
Where do you leave boards? Hawaii is a place where most guys would have a fair bit of back up, a pretty solid quiver. That’s a bigger zone with more consequences, and somewhere you’re gonna go through more boards.
What do you look forward to about Tahiti, other than that big, scary left at the end of the road? Uh, the people there are just super nice. It’s the only event on tour where we stay with families. It’s relaxing, there’s no distractions out there. It’s just a beautiful place with a really gnarly wave that we get to surf the contest at. The people are beautiful, the food is really good, and you kinda turn into an islander, you do everything on the water. I love poisson cru, you eat so much raw fish there.
Interesting that it’s the only stop where you stay with a family. Where do you stay? I stay with the Riou family, Alain Riou’s parents. That’s always fun. And his dad always comes out on his boat in the channel when the contest is on. It’s really good to have a boat to cruise on, having that little piece of familiarity in the channel.
Those little things must really help the headspace. For sure. It can get pretty frantic in the channel at Chopes, especially if it’s big. And trying to get from boat to boat, or trying to find somewhere to prepare for your heat, it definitely helps.
How to enhance an overcast Brazilian beachbreak: Add Mr Wilson slinging a varial over the end section.
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