Surfer reaffirms world spot
AFTER promising so much, Coolum Beach's Julian Wilson is starting to deliver.
Of course, there was never any doubting the 22-year-old's ability leading into his debut season on the ASP World Tour.
He's beaten many of the big names in the sport before, including 10-time world champion Kelly Slater.
Wilson was also a stand-out performer in the famous Triple Crown of Surfing last year and is also one of the highest paid surfers on the planet, attracting a rumoured multi-million dollar deal from sports marketing giant Nike.
But the relative rookie struggled to find his groove during the opening few rounds of this year's tour, failing to progress past round three and coming under pressure to retain his place in the top 34 rankings and to make the mid-season cut.
However, Wilson rediscovered his flair with a recent victory at a Prime event, the Quicksilver Pro Portugal, and continued his red-hot run of form at another Prime competition, the Mr Price Pro Ballito in South Africa, on the weekend.
Wilson notched a third place finish and consolidated his spot in the world rankings by earning enough points to surge to 16th place on the list.
“I'm definitely happy with my result,” Wilson said.
“That little bit of wind came up and it was hard to come out of the barrel. John John was by far the standout of this whole contest and that was pretty much like surfing a final.”
Wilson's effort was perfect preparation for the next stop on the ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, due to start on Thursday.
And as 16th seed, he'll be anticipating a more favourable draw than at the three previous world tour events, when he was hindered by a lower ranking.
South African Jordy Smith is likely to be favourite to win the event on his own territory.
Among the main contenders are Slater, former Caloundra surfer Joel Parkinson and fellow Australians Taj Burrow and Mick Fanning.
Slater, Parkinson and world rankings leader Adriano De Souza claimed victories in the opening three rounds of the ASP World Tour.
DEBUT season on the tour
Julian Wilson's results so far
Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast: round three
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: round two
Billabong Rio Pro Rio De Janeiro: round two