Julian Wilson’s world title Pipe dream alive
HE has done it before and if he does it again Julian Wilson could be Australia's first men's world surfing champion since Mick Fanning in 2015.
A win at the Pipe Masters in Hawaii and his major rival Gabriel Medina failing to make the final would deliver Wilson an extraordinary maiden world crown in a year almost derailed by injury.
Wilson, who ruptured his AC joint in a bike accident pre-season, won the Pipe Masters back in 2014, beating Brazilian Medina for one of the most sought-after surfing titles on the world tour.
Now, if he wins in Hawaii in December and Medina finishes third or worse, he will be Australia's latest world champion.
Surfing's world title race was sent to the finale of the season when the only three men with a chance of claiming the crown - Wilson, Medina and Brazilian Filipe Toledo - all suffered upsets before the final of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal at Supertubos.
Wilson was eliminated by French surfer Joan Dura in the quarter-finals to finish fifth at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Eventual winner, Brazilian Italo Ferreira who beat Duru for the Rip Curl Pro Trophy, beat Medina in their semi-final match-up.
"I'm happy with my performance and Pipe is a wave that I like so now I'll focus on that," Medina said.
The results in Portugal created the following world title scenarios;
#If Medina finishes first or second at the Billabong Pipe Masters, he is world champion.
#If Medina finishes third Julian Wilson or Filipe Toledo need to win to claim the world title.
#If Medina finishes fifth to 25th, Wilson or Toledo will need a second or win at Pipeline to claim the crown.
The season decider on the North Shore of Oahu is scheduled to begin from December 8.
WORLD TITLE RANKINGS
Gabriel Medina (Bra) 56,190.
Julian Wilson (Aus) 51,450
Filipe Toledo (Bra) 51,450
Italo Ferreira (Bra) 43,070
Owen Wright (Aus) 35,570