In a few days’ time, 32-year-old Julian Wilson will proudly don the green and gold for Australia, joined by Owen Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, and Sally Fitzgibbons. We caught up with Jules to see how the preparation is going.
For just a moment think about the enormity of competing for your country. For the most part surfing as an individual sport, the wins, the loses, it’s all on you. Surfing as part of a national team is something else entirely. The camaraderie holds added incentive, but it can also add pressure.
“I’m in a really good head place right now. I recently freed myself from a lot of burden and my decision not to compete in the WSL wave pool event gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate and really focus on this special event”
The Olympic Surfing Festival will take place at Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya, a small town in Chiba Prefecture facing the Pacific Ocean. Julian has surfed there before and likens the conditions to waves he regularly rides at home on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He’s not-so-secretly hoping for some cyclone swell.
“It’s the start of the typhoon season so there’s a chance we could get some nice waves,” Julian explains. “We have a 10-day waiting period, and they need four days to complete the surfing, so we have some days to play with if the conditions are really poor.”
Sure, it’s cliché but it’s true. Healthy body, healthy mind. Over the past few months Jules has ramped up his training in preparation for what is likely going to be highly athletic small wave surf event. What a lot of surfers don’t realise is that it takes a huge output of energy to surf fast in small waves.
“I’m probably fitter than I’ve ever been in my whole career, and I simply put that down to hard work. Right now, I’ve found a good balance between the gym work and the time I’m putting in surfing, and I feel like the results are paying off”.
Confidence in your equipment is everything. When you know the kit is dialled in, you’re free to concentrate on the wave and what you need to do. This goes for all surfers, not just the pros.
“The boards are feeling amazing. I’ve been working on some new tech with JS in EPS technology. We’re basically trying to take the best attributes of PU, like that predictable feel, and combine it with that liveliness and spark that you get to with EPS”.
“My quiver will be made up mostly of epoxy construction boards, which is a lot lighter and a lot more exciting to ride in the softer conditions we’ll get over there. I’ll use my signature FCS II AirCore fins too. I’ve been practising with my fins in these new boards, it feels really good, and it might just prove to be the key success”.
SurFebruary is a fun annual event in February, where participants raise money for cancer research by catching a wave or getting in the water every day – rain, hail or shine.