IN ACTION: Julian Wilson pictured in action during the final of the Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupo'o, Tahiti, last year.
IN ACTION: Julian Wilson pictured in action during the final of the Billabong Pro Tahiti at Teahupo'o, Tahiti, last year. Kelly Cestari

Wilson shapes up for key world tour event at Tahiti

SURFING: The iconic barrels of Teahupo'o loom large in the race for the world title, with pundits suggesting the event shapes as a pivotal one for Sunshine Coast's Julian Wilson.

The 29-year-old is second on the Championship Tour, behind Brazilian Filipe Toledo, after six of 11 stops on the circuit.

A winner of the Billabong Pro last year, Wilson has proved his wares in the famed waves of the reef break before.

And he's excited by the prospect of surfing there again.

"To say we're pumped to be back in Tahiti would be an understatement," he said via social media.

Keen observers expect this event to be a crucial one for the natural footer.

"If he can make it back-to-back wins in Teahupo'o then clearly his title odds will be crunched," Roger Oldridge, a spokesman for bookmaker Ladbrokes, said.

"But as it stands Filipe Toledo might take some catching."

Wilson is rated a $2.75 chance to claim the world title, behind Toledo ($1.74).

The Coolum Beach product has been on the world tour since 2011 but this season represents probably his best opportunity yet to finish atop the standings, following his third placing overall last year.

"He's certainly in a good spot to make a run (at the world title)," Oldridge said.

The competition is expected to be fierce at 'Chopes', where the action is scheduled to get under way in the early hours of Saturday morning (AEST).

The Sunshine Coaster should be in the thick of the action.

"No doubt Wilson has been one of the dominant performers on the tour this season and when you get to an event like Teahupo'o that form and also past performances on those iconic waves count for plenty," Oldridge said.

But Gabriel Medina is favourite to win there. He's in form and was runner-up there last time, after an epic final against Wilson.

Owen Wright, Jordy Smith and Italo Ferreira should also be threats in Tahiti.