Wilson set for tilt at title
SURFING: He's one of the sport's poster boys, with iconic surfer looks and an affable personality.
But don't be fooled, Coolum Beach's Julian Wilson is a true competitor and he's intent on claiming world surfing's biggest prize.
The 27-year-old is due to start his 2016 Championship Tour campaign at the Quiksilver Pro today and he expects to fare well on the Gold Coast
"I feel like Snapper Rocks suits my surfing, for sure," he told the Daily.
"I grew up surfing very similar waves and feel like it's a great event to start the year for me."
Wilson honed many of his skills at Noosa Heads which, like Snapper, boasts right hand point breaks which can be affected by sand bars.
And he's accustomed to adjusting to fickle surf conditions.
"Snapper can throw anything at you, depending on whether you're surfing a low tide or high tide," he said.
"On the low tide there are barrels and the high tide there can be airs but generally you need to be able to link a full wave together to be making (it through) heats and to get a good result," he said.
The natural footer finished second in the corresponding event last year, behind Felipe Toledo, en-route to a career-best sixth place on tour.
Coming into last year's final event at Hawaii, he was still in world title contention.
Now, in his sixth year on the elite circuit, Wilson is eager to claim the number one mantle.
He has learned from his previous experiences, has enjoyed a comforting off-season at home with family and has welcomed ex-professional Jake Paterson as a travelling companion.
Wilson will meet Frenchman Michel Bourez and Australian Adam Melling in the first round.
Meanwhile, fellow Sunshine Coasters Keely Andrew and Isabella Nichols will compete in the first event of this year's women's World Championship Tour.
Andrew is ready for her maiden campaign on the tour.
The 22-year-old is set to compete in the Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks after forging her way through the tough Qualifying Series last year.
Andrew has had some experience on the big stage though, filling in for injured compatriot Stephanie Gilmore on several occasions in 2015. She stunned many onlookers to finish fifth at CT event in Brazil.
She is due to collide with Hawaii's Tatiana Weston-Webb and Gilmore in the first round today.
Meanwhile, Nichols got through the trials yesterday to secure her place in the event. The reigning junior world champion harbours hoped of causing some upsets this week.