Julian Wilson Is Still Scratching

When Julian Wilson arrived on the Championship Tour in 2011, he did so with a great dose of fanfare. The kid from Coolum Beach, Queensland, spent the better part of the previous year filming Scratching the Surface before chasing his Championship Tour dreams. It was a calculated career move designed to mark him as part of surfing's creative class before jumping full tilt into the competitive arena. The project earned high praise, and placed Wilson squarely in the leadership category of the sport's progressive movement. The move worked. Wilson won the men's Rookie of the Year honor in 2011.

Julian Wilson (AUS)  placed 3rd in Heat 4 of Round Four at OI RIO PRO 2017 Julian Wilson finished with another 9th at the Oi Rio Pro. WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot

His name has been in the "contender" conversation every since. Peers, pundits and fans believe he has all the ingredients of a World Champ...Yet after six full years on the CT, despite being a juggernaut in the mind's eye, he has yet to finish a single season in the Top 5.

Granted, he's been knocking. He's finished No. 6 on the Jeep Leaderboard twice, and nailed Top 10 finishes every year except one, 2014. But he ended that lackluster season on a high note by winning the Billabong Pipe Masters.

Julian Wilson (AUS), the winner of the 2014 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Wilson's career high came on the tail end of his worst season on Tour, which is one reason why his fellow competitors will never count him out. WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

In 2017, Wilson still seems to be scratching the surface when it comes to making a World Title bid. He's endured a few early exits this year, and is sitting No. 13 heading into the Outerknown Fiji Pro. But Wilson's not the kind who gives in. Matter of fact, when things get tough he's more likely to dig in, which is how winners typically react to adversity. While the tangible results have been slow to come, he's been busy gathering strength building on the intangibles, settling into a process of self improvement. "I know that it's within me," he says. "As long as I believe in myself, and it gets me up in the morning and keeps me fired up, that's all I need."

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