Julian Wilson Puts A Skate Ramp In Surf Line-Up, Changing Surfing Forever | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Julian Wilson Just Reinvented Surfing. Or Skateboarding. We’re Still Not Sure

The launch of URBNSURF wave pool in Melbourne this past summer seemed to be peak innovation in the sport of surfing. The promise of consistent, uncrowded barrels hundreds of miles from the nearest beach sent orgasmic chills down the spines of surfers everywhere, and the collective sounds of wax hitting fibreglass was the soundtrack to our January. And yet while we spent the summer content with the stoke-inducing promise of the new park and what it meant for our sport, little did we know that surfing still had some tantalising tricks up her rubbery wetsuit sleeve.

Specifically, Australia’s top surfer, Julian Wilson was plotting a game changing move, that would see the combination of his 2 passions; surfing and skateboarding.

Unveiling his new Rail Project in partnership with Red Bull this morning, Wilson has effectively upped the ante of surfing forever. With a notoriously technical and aerial style during competitions, the incorporation of a rail suits his surfing to a tee and will provide a welcome challenge to the surfing elite.

Andy Green

Andy Green

Two years in the making, the Rail Project essentially sees a floating rail tethered in the line up, requiring the surfer to complete a rail slide or equivalent manoeuvre before continuing along the face of the wave to complete the ride. And don’t be worried about falling, as fall you will, as the rail is constructed with the same materials used to create typical surf boards. 

“I would skate to the beach with my surfboard under my arm. If the waves were fun, I’d surf, if the waves were no good, I’d skate,” Wilson told GQ Australia on the eve of the launch, describing how the project came to be. 

Andy Green

Andy Green

And thanks to an innovative partnership with Red Bull, and in the true spirit of ‘porque no los dos’, young surf-skate hybrid groms of the future don’t have to choose. 

If the innovative move seems genius and timely, then you’d be correct. Both surfing and skateboarding are joining rock climbing as new additions to the hopefully upcoming Tokyo Olympics, so interest in all three is sure reach feverish heights come July (good luck adding climbing into the mix Jay Dub).

The Rail Project is just the beginning of what is sure to be an exciting year for Julian, who will have extra time on his hands to create further novel ideas in the coming months due to the delayed start of the WSL season. He’s a new father for the second time, a future Olympian, and of course there’s always his day job, competing on the World Tour once it recommences.

Andy Green

Andy Green

The boy who grew up in a tight-knit family of surfers on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is now 31 and has already done great things on many of the world’s most famous breaks, even if outside of the surfing fraternity few could put a name to the handsome face. Perhaps that’s partly because Wilson lacks the outrageous flair of some of the great local pros of yesteryear – Occhilupo, Fanning, Parkinson. However this new move should see him edge ever so slightly closer to the ranks of great innovators in board sports like Slater and Hawk (Kelly and Tony for the uninitiated).

“Hopefully it’s just the start of a fun new chapter in wave pools, and a surfing and skateboarding correlation.”

Wilson’s latest success in the surfing arena, including this new innovation, is undoubtedly what wider sport needs at this time, however don’t expect a modest Wilson to take the credit, with an underlying unease with praise being traced to two things. One, he’s modest. And two, he doesn’t need it.

“Believe in yourself rather than worrying about someone else having to believe in you,” he told Men’s Health last year. “That’s the biggest thing for me. Take all the advice and information you can get – that’s great – but at the end of the day you’ve got to believe in yourself to achieve anything.”


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