Watch: Stab in the Dark, starring Julian Wilson
Now playing here.
Last night in Venice Beach, Stab, Swell.com and Hurley hosted the global premiere for Stab in the Dark. The overriding goal of this project was to see if we could answer the question: Is it possible to call a surfboard the best in the world? Sure, it’s a flawed objective. A board’s performance is subjective. But acknowledging this, we invited 12 of the world’s best shapers to each create a board for an unidentified 6’0”, 80kg CT surfer. Fast-forward some months and Julian Wilson was standing in the garage of a West Oz rental, opening two coffins full of cleanskin boards - no markings, no stickers, no pencil on the stringer, nothing identifiable - one from California, the other direct from Sydney.
What’s notable about Julian is the fact he can analyse a board’s performance in just one wave. He says the ultimate board gives “feedback”. He says that a board gives you time when you stand up. Like in The Matrix, where Neo dodges bullets in slow motion? “Not exactly,” says Jules. “But, it’s close.” For instance, despite the fact that Jules broke the JS board first wave, turns out still he reckons he could tell the board was going to work.
And so, Jules and his blank knife collection settled into West Oz. We had 36 coloured stickers created by artist Paul McNeil and we included surplus colours and numbers just in case Jules was superstitious around any digits or shades. And, Julian’s 10-day game of Who’s Who began. Four photographers, three filmers and one producer were tasked with the story telling. The surfing is a perfect example of the output Julian Wilson could deliver if he ever went without jersey (and his own boards, for that matter). Watch it above.
Directed by: Sam McIntosh
Produced by: Damien Fahrenfort
Art direction: Shinya Dalby
Filmed by: Toby Cregan, Jimmy Lees, Rick Jackovic (water footage)
Edited by: Mike Pagan
Still photography: Ryan Miller, Chris Gurney, Andy Staley
Final Stab in the Dark results (as chosen by Julian Wilson):
1. DHD #99
2. Chilli #01
3. Mayhem/Lost #31
4. JS #23
5. Panda #10
6. Sharp Eye #13
7. Channel Islands #03
8. Dahlberg #16
9. Simon Anderson #00
10. Robo #36
11. Stamps #05 (tied with Robo)
12. Pyzel (Did not arrive)