After the success of the Red Bull Airborne specialty event in France last year, the World Surf League’s new Red Bull Airborne Series launches at the Gold Coast from April 3-9.
Creator Josh Kerr retired at the end of last season and will guide the new format from Australia through to the other 2019 events at Keramas in Bali from May 13-19 and Hossegor in France from October 3-9.
Here is what the Australian legend has to say about his brainchild:
Can you tell us about Red Bull Airborne and the thinking behind the concept?
After many years on tour and seeing the direction of surfing becoming a bit more ‘sport’ like and mechanical, I felt there was a need to bring back something that is more based around creative progression and fun. Airborne is that. It is more for those that want to show their creative approach to surfing above the lip and support that progression side moving forward.
Is it arguably the best way/format for a surfer to properly express themselves in the water?
I think the format we have come up with where guys get to surf two heats looking to land only one or two major airs makes for a very exciting format for them to feed off each other. More like freesurfing.
Who are the surfers we should watch out for this year at the various Red Bull Airborne events?
There is a solid crop of guys! We have Chippa Wilson‘s super tech surfing to Kalani David’s skate/surf approach and big power airs from the likes of Noa Deane and Mikey Wright. This will also uncover major underground talent that don’t suit the regular format of competing and just love to go huge.
The debut in France was a big success, so do you hope more events will be added in 2020 and beyond?
I would love to see it grow and have its own following. It’s fun to watch an event start and finish within four hours, and I believe we could take it to some amazing places.
You retired at the end of last season. How hard was it to come to that decision?
It wasn’t too hard as it just felt right. I’m really excited where my surfing is going and excited to be a part of things like Airborne to give to the next generations.
What does surfing mean to you and what has it brought to your life?
Surfing is life to me. It has given me amazing family, financial support and many other opportunities, and also taken me around the world many times over!