Teenager dumps world champ Slater, Byron?s Danny Wills
By IAN MONAGHAN and AAP
TEENAGE wildcard Julian Wilson looked calm during a shock win over surfing superstar Kelly Slater yesterday but the Queenslander admits he was a bundle of nerves inside.
Wilson forced eight-time world champion Slater and Suffolk Park's Danny Wills into a sudden-death second-round heat in the WCT season-opening Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.
The Sunshine Coast teenager racked up 14.40pts (from 20) to defeat Slater (11.93) and Wills (8.20).
"I was really nervous," said Wilson after getting the better of the tricky conditions at Snapper Rocks to win their three-man heat and move straight to the third round.
"I thought I'd be relaxed but the butterflies were going. I had nothing to lose."
Tournament sponsor Quiksilver also backs Slater and 18-year-old Sunshine Coast surfer Wilson so the pair have chatted before, most recently on a photo shoot in Mexico last year.
"He's pretty cool," Wilson said of the 35-year-old defending champion.
In the second round Slater will go up against local Aboriginal surfer Dale Richards, who lost his first-round heat to three-time world champion Andy Irons of Hawaii and world No 19 Greg Emslie.
Wills, from Suffolk Park, faces fellow Aussie Adrian Buchan in the sudden-death second round.
In another big upset, Irons was also relegated to the sudden-death heats after being defeated by South Africa's Emslie.
Australia's former world champion Mark Occhilupo and WCT newcomer Luke Munro were also sent packing to the second-round heats.
Carrying the flag for the locals were Dean Morrison, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning and WCT debutant Josh Kerr, who all advanced directly into the third round after notching convincing wins.
Event organisers are worried a cyclone forming in the Coral Sea will rip apart the famed superbank, with strong on-shore winds and massive swell set to pound Snapper Rocks this weekend. ? AAP