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Matt cashes in with big year on professional tour

BIG YEAR: Matt Wilkinson on his way to winning his first-round heat in the Billabong Pipe Masters at Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii.
BIG YEAR: Matt Wilkinson on his way to winning his first-round heat in the Billabong Pipe Masters at Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii. Damien Poullenot

BYRON BAY surfer Matt Wilkinson has earned the most money behind world champion John John Florence on the World Championship Tour this year.

Despite dropping to fourth in the world rankings, Wilkinson has already earned $321,500 while Florence has made $389,500 after winning the world championship in October.

World No2 Gabriel Medina is currently sitting on $271,250 with third-placed Jordy Smith on $256,000.

Wilkinson has already advanced to the third round of the Billabong Pipe Masters, which is the final WCT event of the season.

Competition was on hold at the weekend with Lennox Head surfers Stu Kennedy and Adam Melling set to surf in the sudden-death elimination round.

Wilkinson looked unstoppable at the start of the year with back-to-back wins in the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast and the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria.

He went on to finish runner-up at the Fiji Pro before his season was tarnished by repeated second and third round exits in the last four events.

Wilkinson moved to Byron Bay ahead of this season and trains with former Lennox Head surfer and women's world champion Tyler Wright.

"There's still the one event remaining so hopefully I can put another massive result on the board and I'd love to do well at Pipe,” Wilkinson said.

"I've had the best year of my career by far and I'm excited to keep it going over the next few years and hopefully find myself a world title along the way.

"I've been sore and in pain (lately) so I've been resting but I'm here for one reason so I'll deal with being in pain for 30 minutes.

"It's painful but when you're on a wave it goes away so I'll be fine.”