"What motivates me? Bede Durbidge motivates me!" That was Julian Wilson after his Round Three win over Jack Freestone at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Wilson and Durbidge have been staying together in Portugal, and while they're different in terms of personalities and surfing styles, they have forged a decade-long friendship based around life on Tour.
Despite Durbidge's upcoming retirement, it has been he who has been kicking Julian out of bed in the cold Portuguese mornings over the last week. The two have been the first in the water each day, paddling out in every type of condition well before the sun has even put on the kettle.
"Right now Bede is the most excited frother I've ever hung with," said Wilson. "It's the end of his career, but he is so fired up, it's ridiculous. His attitude is positive and infectious and has been so good to be around."
Mind you, Bede may have taken his enthusiasm just a bit too far today. Having already logged a 8.60 on a draining left, he paddled straight back out and rifled into another right. Unfortunately his opponent Conner Coffin had the same idea, but was sitting deeper, with priority. It was a blatant interference, as you will see.
"He told me he didn't even look, it was just a brain explosion," said Coffin afterwards. "He put the blinkers on, but the waves are firing, so it's easy to do."
"I was emotional, seeing Bede walk up after that heat," Wilson said. "After all these years, all those heats and all those good times, it just seems strange to think Bede won't be on Tour. But he rode about six tubes in heat today and showed what a great surfer he is."
Wilson, however, will take any extra motivation, anywhere he can find it. After winning yesterday with a heat total below five points, today he looked calm and in control, posting an easy victory. As the other contenders lost their heads, and with it their slim chances of a World Title, Julian kept his hopes alive and set up a tasty Round Four matchup with Sebastian Zietz and Leo Fioravanti.
Now Bede might be packing his bags and heading home for the birth of his second child, but Julian will take the veteran's attitude and apply it to keeping himself right in the World Title conversation. "I am so fired up right now," Wilson said at the end of his interview. "I am so happy to be here and can't wait for the next heat. Anything is possible."