Wilson’s surfing for injured mate
DEFENDING Pipe Masters champion Julian Wilson had barely dried off after his round two win when his mind turned to friend Owen Wright.
Wilson was nearby when a sickening wipe-out put an end to the world No.5's Pipe campaign and shot at a world title.
"I'm carrying him on my shoulders out there," the 27-year-old Wilson said in a post-heat interview.
Such selfless sentiments and displays have brought the Coolum local praise from all sections of the community this year, and the Spirit of Sport gong at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Awards.
With the full support of the Coast behind him, Wilson was able to put his worries aside yesterday and move through to round three.
It is expected to start later this week.
After a slow start to his round one heat against Aussie Kai Otton, Wilson wasted no time getting to work against New South Wales' Wade Carmichael.
Seconds into the heat, the judges gave Wilson a 5.00 and he quickly followed that up with a 7.38. Carmichael could manage a total of only 6.00 for the heat and Wilson cruised to victory with 12.38.
"The conditions are a lot more contestable today," Wilson said.
"The waves were fun - there's more opportunity and I was able to get the rhythm going again."
Wilson was the talk of Melbourne radio station SEN earlier this week for his actions in South Africa in July - when he paddled back to help Mick Fanning, who was being attacked by a shark.
In an annual awards segment the station drew comparisons between Wilson and Australian athletics icon John Landy, who stunned sporting fans in 1956 when he stopped racing in the 1500m final at the Australian National Championships to check on fallen runner Ron Clarke - before going on to win the race.
Ironically, Wilson's mother, Nola, grew up in Geelong, the same town as Landy, and they attended the same athletics club.
She said Landy was a hero to everyone in town and she was extremely proud to have her son mentioned in the same breath.
"I was so thrilled when I heard it," Mrs Wilson said. "I don't really go for all that hero thing. He's won the other two awards ... but it's so nice to have that depth.
"He (Landy) was an amazing man ... Mum and Dad idolised him."
Mrs Wilson said she would to see surfers better protected at dangerous reef breaks such as Pipe.
"I'm starting to think they should wear helmets, which they'll hate, but how much can your head take?" she said.
"Owen didn't even hit the reef - it was just the force of the wave.
"I think maybe at Fiji, Tahiti and Pipeline it should be mandatory."
The swell on Hawaii's North Shore has dropped considerably and is not expected to pick up until Tuesday or Wednesday, when Wilson will take on Aussie Adam Melling in heat 10 of round three.