Wilson finds his feet in opening heat at Bells Beach
SURFING: The Sunshine Coast's Julian Wilson is primed to go deep into the rounds of the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach after his convincing round one victory.
Wilson sent a clear message to his rivals that he meant business by dominating his heat against John John Florence and Mitch Crews.
The Coolum Beach ace, 25, struggled in the opening two rounds of the World Championship Tour, failing to move past the third round at Snapper Rocks and Margaret River.
Wilson went some way to making up for his third-round Gold Coast exit at the hands of Crews by blowing the WCT rookie out of the water yesterday.
"Mitch got me earlier at Snapper," he said. "I also have a lot of respect for John John.
"The tide was high and was tricky, but I was in the zone."
Wilson looked refreshed and determined as he carved the 2m Victorian break to shreds with a string of solid manoeuvres.
The inconsistent swell made wave selection paramount and Wilson could not have chosen better as he posted the highest first-round wave score of 8.33 (out of 10). He played smart from there, knowing he needed only a medium-range score to close out the heat and move straight into round three. His second-wave score was 5.50.
"There weren't a lot of opportunities out there and when they came it wasn't easy to turn them into scores," he said.
"THERE was a set that came through halfway through the heat and I waited for the second wave of the set and it was a smooth one and was one of the better waves that came through.
"It is just a matter of getting anything that has a manoeuvre at the start and then two turns and you will get a six, and you are pretty happy out there with a six right now."
Wilson finished sixth in the race for the world title last year. He sits in 17th place in the race for this year's edition. Honest about his desire to claim this year's world title, Wilson may find that out of reach if he fails to progress to the latter rounds of this week's competition.
BUDERIM'S Dimity Stoyle may take to the water for her round three heat today, following her win over reigning world champion Carissa Moore in the opening round.