I’m sure it helps a bit for him being tall but let’s all break down to the physics a bit eh. He has a really great verticle. One can only pull up the wheel so far before the body will stop the uni. Now, you can also tweak on to the object a bit too. So those are two part of form. Which he obviously has completely down. However no way could anyone get up that height only having a verticle of 20". If Joe had a 45" vert like some basketball players, with Joe’s form, I bet 130-140cm would happen pretty easily.
not that i hop that high (still waiting for spring to come in order to get out and continue pushing my own limits…around 100cm so far), but i’ll reiterate what zack baldwin always said, it’s about timing and tuck. i’ll stress the importance of good timing. good timing helps you to make the most of your pre-hop. practice, practice, practice is the only way to be able to judge your sense of timing and how to perfect it.
another vital part of timing is obviously the tuck, as i said above. when the rebound starts immediately after the pre-hop, does joe pull the unicycle up slowly? i don’t think so. when you jump into the air you’re only up for a limited amount of time. joe has learned to make the most of this limit. he pulls/tucks the unicycle under him quickly, and also tweaks the wheel a bit sideways to get that extra couple cm’s if need be.
the distance you are away from the object is mainly to do with the height of that object, yes, but it’s also a matter of personal preference. the distance you use with a prehop is also what’s comfortable for you in terms of timing. practice on smaller things first. things that you know you can do without a pre-hop. try pre-hopping onto them, and that’ll help boost your sense of judgement as to how far to be away from the object you’re going to hop on. it’ll also give you a better understanding of the timing involved in order to do a good pre-hop. the smaller things will also help boost your confidence for when you try something bigger.
so learn to tuck quickly. in the end it will make your hops higher and save energy.
most of trials is a big mental game. more so than technique. because the mental aspect of trials can influence your technique a great deal. relax, keep your mind clear and focused, and have fun!