Aussie ASP World Tour rookie Julian Wilson brought his A game from France to Peniche as he topped compatriot Kai Otton’s near-perfect ride in the Supertubos at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
‘Otto’ posted a near perfect 9.97 out of a possible 10 on his opening ride and then an excellent 8.43. Wilson had to dig deep, scoring 9.43 early in the heat before pulling into a cavernous bomb for a 9.70 and take the heat.
“That was an amazing heat,” Wilson said. “My hat goes off to Otto as he was getting some ridiculous barrels and really put the pressure on me early. I’ve been watching the conditions all day long and have been trying not to froth out too hard, but they’re just so perfect. It’s Dream Tour stuff out there today.”
The Aussie star comes to Portugal riding a wave of success: he finished joint third at Lower Trestles, California, and runner-up in his first final at La Graviere, France.
“I’ve been very confident in my surfing the past few events and I really feel like I belong at this level of competition,” Wilson said. “I felt like I was right there at the last event in France and I’m really keen to put up another result. The win is always the goal.”
But he’ll have his work cut out besting Kelly Slater. There’s apparently no stopping the reigning 10-time ASP World Champion who is leading the world tour. The American came through to Round Four despite challenging high tide afternoon conditions ahead of an in-form Daniel Ross (Aus).
“There are still a lot of fun waves out there but the tide is definitely changing things up,” Slater said. “My plan was to go out and catch a lot of waves and I actually made a little priority mistake in there. Dan (Ross) is one of those underrated guys. He’s a big guy so I knew he wouldn’t be taking the smaller waves and I knew he was capable of getting big scores.”
That result edges Slater one step closer to ASP World Title number 11, but the Floridian remains typically unfazed.
“There are still three events left and a lot of points so it’s far from over,” Slater said. “Obviously another result here would long ways towards it but there’re still quite a few guys in the hunt.”
- Watch highlights of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal
- Official ASP World Tour website
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