Big Air to Big Waves: In the Line Up with Judd Henkes

As one of the Southern California-bred pro snowboarders on the competitive slopestyle circuit, Judd Henkes is no stranger to surfing. He has been in the water since he was born, and has always dropped heavy surf clips during his time off from training while spending summers at home. But this off season has been a bit different. Traveling with friend and filmer Spencer Whiting, AKA Gimbal God, Judd has gone cinematic with his downtime and has found himself currently filming for a surf/snow project that he hopes to drop in a year or so. With no real rush, but plenty of waves and plans in his future, we caught up with Judd after a month-long trip to Chile to see how he is doing. – Mark Clavin

Judd on the bus in Beijing. p: Clavin

M: You finally at home? 
J: Yeah, I’m home ’til Friday

Then where do you go? 
New Zealand.

Surf and snow? 
Yeah, I’ll be going there for around three weeks and staying through Jossi’s event.

You making a surf/snow project is the rumor? 
That’s the plan with Spenny [Gimbal God]. The project originally was just going to be filmed this summer, but when we were in Indonesia, Monster told us we had a year to finish this thing if we wanted. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to do a whole surf and snow project right now, but it’s been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. I’m stoked for the opportunity. I hope that everything is up to standard.

You’ve been on the road filming surf clips like three months now? Where all have you been since the end of winter? 
Yeah, so I started out my summer about a week after Hell Week ended. First I went to Indonesia for two months, stopped in Fiji to meet my parents for a family trip, and then I just got back from Chile. That whole time besides Fiji, I’ve been trying to get surf clips. 

How is traveling for surf compared to traveling for snow? 
With surf there is a bunch of little random stuff that I am still figuring out. Board repair stuff, or wet suit repair if you are going somewhere cold. I’ve been doing the snowboarding packing so long it’s dialed, so surf is actually harder to pack for. 

What was the best wave you’ve gone to so far? 
Lance’s right. 

How are the snowboarding clips coming? 
Nothing yet, but we are about to start in New Zealand. Since it just came about this summer, I’ve got some work to do. Get a mix of both. I want to do a proper freesurf section, as well as the snowboarding side. 

Not many people know you were the BTS MVP at the Olympics. What was it like being an alternate in Beijing?
Beijing was a crazy experience. I had been to China multiple times before, but it was way different this time. The whole scene surrounding the Olympics and seeing how much infrastructure was put up in a short time was wild. It was cool to be able to support the team from up close. My favorite part was just hanging with you and Kai, haha. 

The restaurant routine/hotel bar was pretty nice. You going to try and go back to compete in 2026?
That’s the plan. Definitely want to actually compete, as long as everything doesn’t get too crazy–like, if the level of spins maybe slows down a bit. 

How was the snow in Chile? 
The snow in Chile was sick. It was cool to get on some winter snow during the summer. 

And the waves?
The waves were good, but not anything as insane as Indo. Maybe it is because I just got back, but Chile is probably my favorite place to be able to do both. 

You grew up surfing in Southern California? You ever compete in the water like Brock [Crouch]? 
Yeah I grew up surfing in La Jolla. I never really competed past the age of twelve. I just wasn’t as into the competition side of surfing as I was in snowboarding. 

Who’s the best pro snowboarder that also surfs? 
Brock is the best for now, haha. 

What’s scarier, a massive jump or massive wave? 
A massive wave is definitely scarier, but a massive big mountain run is the scariest. 

What’s more enjoyable? 
I enjoy both of them. It’s hard for me to choose one or the other.

Are wave pools kind of like airbags for training? 
Wave pools are exactly like airbags, but they are more fun. 

Do you have any waves on your bucket list that you want to film on?
There’s a lot of waves I want to surf, but probably Skeleton Bay. 

You got any surf/snow projects that you remember as a kid that you were hyped on? 
Can’t recall any right now. Just some parts that had it mixed in. Do you?

Johnny Tsunami.
The Disney Channel one? Haha. Yup. 

Mathieu Crépel also had Shaka a few years ago? He surfed Jaws in that one.
Oh yeah! I don’t think I will be surfing Jaws, ha. That is a pretty different skillset. I definitely want to get some big barrels, though.
 
When is the project dropping?
Awhile from now. 
 

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