Wilson eager to pile on the pressure in world title decider
SURFING: Coolum Beach's Julian Wilson is relishing the prospect of being the 'hunter' at the world tour's season-ending event at Pipeline next month.
The 30-year-old is second in the rankings heading into the 11th and final stop of the circuit and he's determined to pile on the pressure at Hawaii.
Brazilian Gabriel Medina is in his sights.
"I'm the hunter and he's going to be the hunted," he said.
"It's good to go into Pipe with a very fiery mindset and ... to know that it's not mine to lose, it's mine to win.
"That's a good way to be, going into a pretty daunting event."
And he's in season-best shape, after steadily improving from a shoulder injury sustained in January.
"I'm in the best condition I've been in all year," he said.
"I started the year a bit broken and now, since the wave pool event (in September), I've really been able to focus on my performances and forget about the injury."
He said his shoulder was still not 100 percent and he was heading to a break which could produce heavy waves - but he's a proven performer at the iconic surfing location, having won there in 2014.
"It is such a beautiful place to finish the year and with that added excitement of being that bit closer to achieving a dream it definitely feels a bit different," he said.
Wilson said he was eager to stake a claim for the world title as a Sunshine Coaster.
"It's something I'm very proud of, making the tour from the Sunshine Coast, not moving to the Gold Coast," he said.
"So many world titles have been won from the Gold Coast.
"To be living here, to be representing the Sunshine Coast that I'm so proud of, that's huge for me.
"If I can put that flag in the sand here, that would be pretty special."
He said he never imagined being a potential world title contender when he was younger, given his family were more accustomed to longboards.
But a win against one of the sport's icons changed that.
"Ever since I was 17 and I beat (Kelly) Slater on the Gold Coast it opened up a door of possibility and I saw that if I chased it there was an opportunity to be world champion," he said. "That kind of lit the fire."
"I'm now flat out chasing it and enjoying the chase and the opportunity is there. There's one event left and it would be a very rewarding, fulfilling experience if I can get there."
Wilson last week bought a house at Coolum, near his parents and brother, having recently sold a house at Peregian Beach.
He and his wife Ashley, with eight-month old daughter Olivia, also have a residence in her hometown of Newcastle.
If Medina reaches the two-man final at the Pipe Masters, the Brazilian will win his second world title.
If he finishes third or worse, Wilson and Filipe Toledo have a chance.
If Medina finishes third, one of them needs to win the contest to win the title. If Medina finishes fifth or worse, Wilson or Toledo needs to feature in the final to win the title.