COOLUM'S Julian Wilson is through to the quarter-finals of the Oakley Bali Pro, but concedes he is surfing below his best.
Wilson won a thrilling fourth-round contest yesterday, posting a two-wave total of 14.00 out of 20 to defeat American Nat Young (13.86) and former world champion Mick Fanning (12.50).
The 24-year-old seemingly emerged from his slump to record his equal-best result of the World Championship Tour season.
Wilson has failed to make it past the third round in his past three WCT events.
Bali has delivered him his first appearance in the round of eight since the season-opening Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.
While relieved to have moved through to the quarter-finals, Wilson said he was not yet feeling back to his best.
"That was a slow heat - it wasn't a confidence-builder because there wasn't much time on the board," he said.
"But any opportunity to surf these waves (helps)."
Wilson controlled yesterday's heat, sitting in first spot for most of the contest, but had to fight off a late charge from Young.
With seconds left on the clock, Young landed what looked like the winning wave, but Wilson came home with a late reply.
The pair faced several nervous minutes in the clubhouse before it was revealed Wilson had sneaked home.
Sets were frustratingly few and far between for most of the contest despite Keramas turning on some huge barrels for the previous heat, which produced some of the highest scores of the event - Josh Kerr (19.67), Kelly Slater (18.60) and John John Florence (17.10).
Wilson is scheduled to meet Young in the quarter-finals today. Eleven-time world champion Slater was knocked out in round five yesterday by CJ Hopgood.
Joel Parkinson established himself as the man to beat after posting a perfect 20 in his round-five heat against Florence.
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