HEAT ONE WINNER: Julian Wilson advanced directly to round three of the Outerknown Fiji Pro after winning heat nine of round one in excellent Cloudbreak conditions.
HEAT ONE WINNER: Julian Wilson advanced directly to round three of the Outerknown Fiji Pro after winning heat nine of round one in excellent Cloudbreak conditions. Kelly Cestari

Wilson stands out on opening day of world tour event

SURFING: Julian Wilson starred on the opening day of the world Championship Tour event at Fiji's iconic Cloudbreak on Sunday, to suggest he's not out of the world title race just yet.

The 28-year-old claimed the best two-wave total (16.33) and the top single wave score (9.50) among 13 three-man heats to ease into round three.

It was his startling barrel ride which really caught the judges' eyes, and he accounted for American Conner Coffin (15.27) and Australian Stuart Kennedy (8.90).

"That was a really nice wave," he said.

"Stuey had priority and it was one of those kind of capping waves. He was a little bit deeper and I knew it would be hard to take if you had priority just in case you didn't make it...and I just rolled the dice and got to my feet.

"I knew there was just so much water and energy down the line in that wave that it didn't matter how choppy it was going to be it was still going to heave on me so I was pretty excited when I got that wave."

After finishing sixth overall on the standings last season, he's won all five of his round one heats this campaign. But he hasn't made the most of it yet and is hovering at 13th on the ratings almost halfway through the season.

So Wilson will relish the opportunity to get things going at the Fiji Pro, which was set to resume on Monday morning.

In the women's final, American Courtney Conlogue beat Tatiana Weston-Webb 8.74 to 5.33 to claim her seventh event title on tour.

"This event has always had a really special spot in my heart," she said. "There's been so many amazing winners and this is one of the best left-hand reef breaks in the world."

She moved to fourth in the rankings, behind the leader, Australian Tyler Wright.


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