Standing Starts & Moving Targets by Matt Griggs

photos: Timo

Where do we start with this one? Perhaps an innate magneticism toward danger is what’s needed? Maybe a creative tendency toward madness that mimics masochism, or just a healthy set of balls? Either way, this recipe reeks of disaster, so let’s try and get it right, so we don’t have to put a release form at the end of this page. If you have a history with skateboarding or snowboarding, or your name is Julian Wilson, this trick probably looks like a walk in the park – and it could be. As always, with highly technical or difficult turns like this, we need to strip it down to the basics, start with what you can achieve – and move forward from there. Let’s start with the first thing you need: a surfboard and a jump-off.

A short wide board would work better, giving you plenty of surface area to land on. Once you find a venue that offers this kind of lunacy, you can begin your practice. You may want to practise this in your backyard pool, or from a boat or wharf. It will give you the feel of what it takes without having to worry about a wave. Julian has a background in wakeboarding and skating, so it shows how each sport can compliment each other, lending creative ideas or inspiration. This in part is why he thought of it – and was confident in pulling it off.

A lot of the pros do these sister sports on flat days. Start by doing your homework. You almost need to approach it like big waves and look at the danger assessment. Obviously here, it’s the hard concrete that could split your head like a watermelon. So you need to jump far enough away from it. It might pay to do a couple of practice runs without your board, just to get the feel for the height and timing involved. The next danger is the landing. If you miss time it, you will land on flat, hard water. The whitewater is your cushion. Without it, somewhere between your hips and your surfboard, something would probably break.

What you are working on here is your timing mand technique. When do you need to compress? When do you let go of the rail? Do it in a way that feels comfortable for you and the way you surf…or jump off cement slabs in the surf. Whenever you’re learning a new skill, think of the easiest way to do it, so you don’t cloud your confidence with complications. It’s too hard to think of the several things you need to get right, so pick one that you can associate with… one that feels good for you. Pick the one thing you can do right and let everything revolve around that.

I would say timing is top priority here for Julian. You can see how closely Julian is looking at the landing spot here. All other distractions are out of his mind. He has narrowed his focus to the highest priority – getting the timing of the landing right. He trusts his technique and knows that if he gets the timing right, everything else will revolve around that anyway. Mental rehearsal would also help a lot. Picture not just what this would look like, but more importantly, what it would feel like. Do it over and over until you can feel it. I’m sure Julian felt comfortable with what this would feel like before he jumped.

It is important here not to think about your balls! Very important! If you think about your balls, you may lose control of your board so that the board flips between your legs and meets your balls. Wait till you have the feeling of success before you jump. Then you won’t have the feeling of your balls in your stomach. Imagine yourself light. Compress as you land to take some of the impact. Then, when it’s done and your thirst for danger has been quenched… put the tick in your diary, let your curiosity be satisfied and never ever do it again… unless your name is Julian Wilson of course!