COOLUM, Queensland/Australia (Tuesday, June 21, 2011) – A surfer’s rookie year amongst the ASP Top 34 is never an easy thing. There exist battle-hardened veterans, supernatural top seeds, unfamiliar venues and all the glitz, glam and attention that comes with being considered one of the world’s best. Few rookies have come onto the tour with as impressive credentials and the subsequent fanfare they warrant as the Sunshine Coast’s Julian Wilson (AUS), 22. The progressive natural-footer has a banner year in 2010, releasing a highly-acclaimed film (Scratching the Surface), recovering from an ankle injury and qualifying for this season’s ASP Top 34 with some 11th hour heroics in Hawaii. Throw in an industry-rattling sponsorship change to Nike 6.0 and an international mainstream media campaign, and it’s safe to say the interest fever surrounding Julian at the start of the year was near unprecedented.
However, despite some scintillating performances and flashes of brilliance, the rookie Australian has had some hard knocks amidst this season’s ASP World Title events, going down to Taj Burrow (AUS), 31, at Snapper Rocks, Chris Davidson (AUS), 34, at Winkipop and C.J. Hobgood (USA), 31, at Arpoador Beach, finishing 13th, 25th and 25th respectively in the three events thus far this season. Following this summer’s Quiksilver Pro New York, the ASP Top 34 will be rotated (filled in with the Top 32 surfers off the ASP World Rankings as well as two surfer wildcards), and previously seated at No. 28 on the ASP World Rankings, Wilson was in the danger zone to ensure his place amongst the world’s best for the full year. That is, however, he went ballistic at the recent ASP Prime Quiksilver Pro Portugal, logging in some of the most electrifying performances in recent memory, taking out the event and rocketing to No. 15 on the ASP World Rankings. ASP International recently caught up with Wilson following his big win in Portugal to pick the man’s brain. This…is his story…
This is your first big win since SriLanka last year. What contributed to the win in Portugal? Equipment? Training? Waves?
I couldn’t put it down to one thing – it’s really just a combination of working hard, executing my plans and, of course, having a little luck along the way.
Rookie seasons are never easy, and you’ve had some tough draws thus far. Give us a rundown of your transition in 2011:
It’s been a whirlwind start to the year for sure. Obviously I’ve had some tough draws and no really strong results yet, but most of my losses have come with decent performances and heat totals so I haven’t really doubted my ability. I’ve learned a ton this year and a lot of things need to come together in order to challenge at these WT events…I feel like you need to think about everything, and then forget about everything and just surf well!
You’ve had a solid support team with you at ASP World Title events this season, but you went to Portugal by yourself. What was the motivation behind this decision?
I’m lucky in that I am able to mix it up. I have a great team around me and have loved having them at some events this year. I just wanted to change it up for Portugal and had success there so I’ll take each event as it comes, looking forward to having my brother Seb with me for the South Africa leg.
The win bolts you from No. 28 on the ASP World Rankings into the mid-teens, well within the Top 32 for August’s mid-year rotation. Were you feeling the pressure to perform heading into Portugal? Do you think this win will help relax you as we head into Jeffreys Bay, Tahiti and New York?
I put pressure on myself to perform every time I enter a contest. Then obviously there has been pressure slowly building a little more on top of that externally but that isn’t what fires me up, I want to win just as bad if I’m first or last on the ratings. Really looking forward to the rest of the year and knowing my place on the WT is solid will make it sweeter.
Wilson is currently en route from Portugal to Bali to recharge and prepare for the upcoming Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay from July 14 – 24, 2011.
For more on JULIAN WILSON, check out his ASP WORLD TOUR PROFILE