SLIDE AWAY AND GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT
FANCY BUMPING A RAIL?
As totally pointless endeavours go rail surfing is right up there. Putting an obstacle in the surf which is going to ding your board, snap your fins off and possibly put you in hospital is a concept that hasn’t taken off for a good reason. Californian Josh Sleigh and lanky West Oz ripper James Catto were early pioneers in the late ‘90s and if memory serves Ozzie Wright attempted sea pool grinds in his epic 156 Tricks movie.
It was Chris Cote and the sadly defunct Transworld Surf magazine crew that nailed it first with their ‘Rail of Death’. Ricky Whitlock then Cote himself successfully slid their oceanic rail which was fastened to the seabed.
The variables in getting it right without ending up in A&E are many. Even with the controllable scenario of a wave pool, it was still mega tricky for Julian to slide his floating rail.
The problem was trying to get the make-up of the rail and its weight in the water just right so he could actually slide across it in time and safely without it moving too much in every set of waves.
As Wilson said: “It’s been about as challenging as it could be. As much as I thought there’d be so many controllable elements in the pool, there ended up being so many challenges too.”
After his close shave with the flying rail as he surfed past it, he admitted to himself: “This is maybe not going to work. It’s super dangerous. I nearly got my head taken off. With an hour to go [of the allotted session time], I thought maybe I was going to be dead in the water.”
But with an hour to go, he cracked it and successfully rode the rail, again and again, and again. Of the experience, he said: “It was super fun. That’s the feeling I wanted to create with the wave.”
Will Bristol be putting one in?
Will there be another attempt?
Maybe in another ten years.
Will anyone ever kickflip on to or off of one?
Best ask Zoltan Torkos…