COOLUM Beach’s Julian Wilson came close to winning the world title last season. This time around, he’s intent on making it happen.
The 27-year-old will next month start his 2016 Championship Tour campaign on the Gold Coast.
Bolstered by a refreshing off-season at home with family, he is eager to build on a career-best effort in 2015, when he finished sixth overall after bowing out of title contention in the last event of the season.
“That (winning the world crown) is what I’m aiming for, 100%,” he said.
“I’ll take what I learned from last year and every other year I’ve been on tour and will try and have a stronger, better year.”
“Last year had some great moments. I’ll try and have more of those this year and put myself into a stronger position coming into (season-ending) Pipe (Masters).”
Now in his sixth season, the natural footer says he is “ready for the unexpected”.
“It’s surfing, an ever-changing environment we’re competing in. You never know what’s around the corner.”
Midway through last season, Wilson was certainly caught by surprise in the waters of Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.
It was there, in a two-man final, that Gold Coast’s Mick Fanning encountered a shark.
Wilson paddled towards his mate to help, despite the danger.
It was a harrowing experience, streamed live online.
“I really wasn’t prepared for something like that to happen and it (also) came with a lot of (post-event) attention,” he said.
“It was a bit difficult to process and get my head around it. I probably struggled to find the same form after that. It was a learning experience.”
Wilson will this year welcome the assistance of ex-world tour surfer Jake Paterson.
It’s hoped the presence of the Western Australian can provide Wilson with a winning edge.
“In years prior I haven’t really had that (type of support) so I will have somebody I will be consistently travelling with and working with. I think it’s what I’m looking for,” he said.
“Jake is a man with a lot of experience. He is well travelled, had a great career and he has a lot of knowledge to bounce off at events.”
Like Wilson, Paterson is a former winner at Pipeline. He is renowned for his big wave prowess and was a top-five surfer on tour. The 32-year-old was also a straight-talking announcer on tour webcasts.
Wilson was scheduled to compete in his first event of the year, a Qualifying Series competition at Merewether, next week. But yesterday he withdrew from the 6000-point event.
His manager and brother Bart said he will instead continue training on the Sunshine Coast.
“He is having a great pre-season and with more waves on the way for the south-east he’s got the perfect preparation right on his doorstep,” Bart said.
However, a handful of fellow Sunshine Coasters will compete at Newcastle.
Source – Sunshine Coast Daily