25 Questions With Chippa Wilson

Chippa Wilson

Chippa Wilson shows off his rail game. Photo: Humphries

This is sort of a ridiculous question since you had a massive 2012 and established yourself as one of the most high profile guys in the world, but as things dragged on did any thoughts ever creep into your mind about the possibility of fading back into surfing at home, and getting out of the pro game?
It’s not even a bad thing if that happens. I’ve worked before so I know what it takes. All my friends work, so we’d be on the same page. I’d surf after work and on the weekends. It’d be hard to swallow for a little while, but you gotta live, it’s not bad man.

Did having Bruce Irons on the Fox team help your decision to go there?
We were talking before I signed and they were like, “We’re going to bring someone huge on, you’re going to be stoked.” I wondered who it was going to be. Bruce is a badass, he’s been one of my favorites since I was young, so that was a big kick.

You seem to always have new stuff up your sleeve. How do you go about working on a new maneuver?
When I was growing up I would do those backside shuvits or whatever, and then one day I’d do one a little bit further. I was thinking, “Shit if I went one more bit further it’d be a big spin.” So you try a little bit harder and spin a bit farther, and do a big spin. This year there’s been about four times that I’ve come super close to a 540 frontside spin, but flat. So a full rotation and that extra bit more, which started to make my brain tick into 540 mode. My goal is to hopefully get one of them by the end of the year. Sometimes a little mistake will trigger something new in my head.

I don’t see you doing stock airs. Is there any maneuver you see being done out there that makes you cringe?
Hmm, the good old chop hop alley oops are f—king annoying. A real alley oop is sick, but those fake ones are shitty. Most airs are fun, if you’re in the air you’re having a great time. I was watching a surfer in the Brazil contest, and I won’t name any names, but he was doing the same air reverse every time, which gets super old.

So it’s more about being overly repetitive?
Yeah, they were even saying it in the comp, it’s more about variety. You can always do an air reverse.

Right, like when people are skating a line they’d never do the same trick over and over.
Yeah, kick flip, kick flip, kick flip. That’d be so whack, people would beat you down.

Your surfing has improved a lot in the last few years, how consciously have you worked on that?
A lot. I don’t do contests, so my main focus is trying to get better and trying to improve my turns. I was never that good at them growing up, they were forgotten about. It used to be about doing one maneuver per wave in my head, and now it’s more about combos. It looks so much better if you do a combo, like a big turn then a huge air, that looks insane. So yeah, I try super hard. I know some guys train really hard, but I feel like more time in the water is going to make you better.

Do you ever want to break away from having the air label attached to you?
I did, but I love it, it’s the funnest shit ever. I don’t want to be known as Joe Crimo or something like that.

Have you ever talked to Josh Kerr about that? He’s done really well at moving beyond a one-dimensional label.
Yeah he’s done well. I’ve looked up to Kerrzy my whole life. I haven’t talked to him about it, but I’ve been watching him and copying. I don’t know where surfing is going to go in the next 10 years, but I just got off that Nixon Surf Challenge, and that was really cool. It was a comp, but you’re surfing on your own time and every wave is filmed, and at the end there’s an overall winner, and best trick, and I like that, that shits cool. I couldn’t imagine myself down in Brazil, that looked trippy.

You’re consistent as hell, which lends itself to doing well in traditional comps. On the talent and consistency side it seems like you have what it takes to do well there, are you just not interested at all in that?
Not really, no. At least not right now. If you’re at a comp and you’re not in a heat then you’re surfing with tons of pros in the water. I guess I’d rather be in the tropics with four people on a boat, bettering my surfing, and getting some mental clips, and hopefully doing something new. That’s me right now, maybe in the future…I don’t know.

And of course you’d have to do the whole WQS to get there.
Yeah that’s a whole different story, that’s miserable.

For someone that’s successful enough not doing comps, I think it’s a hard argument as to why you would.
That’s exactly right, why?

So in terms of comps going on right now we’ve been working with you on the Flight To The Flats thing. You got a big break from an online video comp, was that part of the motivation when you were coming up with this?
Yeah, online comps are really good for semi unknown people. Even the known people, really. They’re insane, they get a lot of views, and no one has to be there at the comp to watch. That’s why I chose to do it online, and that’s kinda how I got started. So I wanted my comp to be different, more head to head like skating. So everyone gets to see it, and then the finalists at the end go to Bali to do a whole little video section, so you get it all in one. You get to see the head to head battles, which is mental, and then see the overall performance of the finalists, which is going to be cool.

Okay, so tell me to f—k off if I’m wrong, but I feel like you held back a little bit in submitting your own clips.
I didn’t hold back, but I don’t want to win my own comp.

Stay tuned to transworldsurf.com to see who won Chippa’s contest, Flight To The Flats, a winner will be announced July 24 after a special premiere at Fox Headquarters!

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