Julian Wilson once again surprises many with his pure grit and hustle performance in the Final of the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Just when everyone thought the odds were against him as former World Champion Gabriel Medina got him in a combination situation, leaving him needing 18.00 points to bounce back, Julian stood his ground and was able to turn the tables around in the late minutes of the heat to clinch his first ever Billabong Pro Tahiti win and his third World Tour win.
Coming into the final heat, Gabriel Medina jump started with an early lead and built up on it putting Wilson in great trouble. But the Australian did not get shaken. He started his comeback with a late air-drop into a tube ride where he scored an excellent 9.23 and that got him back in the game. Medina, unfortunately, got three straight close outs after that, leaving the door of opportunity open for Wilson and the Australian made the most out of it.
Wilson paddled into a solid set wave with about five minutes remaining in the heat where he dropped into a deep tube and got spitted out beautifully and was rewarded a near-perfect 9.73 wave score. It was more than enough for him to take the lead and ultimately win the 2017 Billabong Pro Tahiti. This win has propelled Julian Wilson up the Jeep Leaderboard rankings to number 5 and within less than 5000 points away from the new World No. 1 Jordy Smith who recently snatched the yellow jersey from Matt Wilkinson.
During a post-heat interview with WSL’s Rosy Hodge, Julian Wilson said “I’m speechless. I’m pretty worn out. I’m ecstatic. There’s nothing left in me. I’m so happy and relieved to finally win an event again. So happy.”
And when asked about contending for the World Title, “I’m so happy to be in the mix now, with so many events left,” Wilson exclaimed. “Really looking forward to it. I was already enjoying myself on Tour, but now even more so,” he added.
Here is a replay of the 2017 Billabong Pro Tahiti Final Heat:
Heading into the Hurley Pro at Trestles, the highly competitive World Title race just gets more exciting with only a few thousand points differences for the World Title contenders. There are only four more events left in the Men’s Championship Tour, and the answer to the question about who will emerge as World Champion is not yet very clear. But one thing is for sure, this season has been the most unpredictable with so many cliff-hangers and change of tides, and everyone can expect more of these to come.
Here is a screenshot of World Surf League 2017 Championship Tour Rankings post-Billabong Pro Tahiti:
Stay on top of current surf news from BlinkSurf. Subscribe here