One of the most dangerous, talented competitors on the Championship Tour for the last ten years, Julian Wilson has announced that he will be hanging up the jersey and starting the next chapter of his life.
"I would like to take this time to let you all know I'm taking a break indefinitely from the WSL world tour for my own well-being and that of my family," Wilson said on Instagram.
"By no means am I calling it a retirement from professional surfing and the decision I have made is in line with what I value most in my life and that is my family," he continued. "The inability to travel internationally with them now and for the foreseeable future is enough for me to take a step back and be there for my wife and children."
"This is not over for me but just the beginning of a new chapter," he adds.
Growing up jumping between his shortboard, longboard and skateboard on Australia's wave-rich Sunshine Coast, very early on Wilson's abundant talents were recognized. He was one of the rising stars of Quiksilver's Young Guns program, which was led by Kelly Slater and featured the likes of Dane Reynolds, Jeremy Flores and Clay Marzo. Wilson was then recruited to be the face of Nike's start-up surf program. One of the most technically savvy aerialists, Wilson also featured prominently in filmmaker Kai Neville's generational defining movie projects.
And now, after all that time in the spotlight, "I'm returning to my roots," Wilson told the WSL.
"I'll be found surfing the points at Noosa on my longboard and I will also be found chasing some fun high-performance waves around Australia," he continued. "I have a few projects coming to life that I'm really excited about and I'm just really looking forward to take a step back for a little while.
Wilson joined the Championship Tour full-time in 2011. His presence was felt immediately. As a rookie, he made the Quarterfinals in J-Bay, New York and Portugal, scored a third-place finish at Trestles and a runner-up result in France. He finished the season ranked ninth in the world and earned Rookie Of The Year honors.
The next time Wilson stood atop the podium it was in 2014, where he once again handed Medina a stinging defeat at the Billabong Pipe Masters in one of the best Finals of their respective careers. With a 10-point ride and a 9.20 backup for a heat total of 19.20 out of 20, Medina had victory in his hands, but Wilson, showing the grit he's justly renowned for, dug deep and posted a 19.63 to snatch victory away. Wilson also earned the Vans Triple Crown title for the effort.
Ironically, for being such an aerial pioneer, Wilson's two biggest career wins came in shallow, heavy barrels. In 2017, Wilson took out the Billabong Pro Tahiti, beating, you guessed it, Medina, in another toe-to-toe, down-to-the-wire Final.
By 2018, Wilson was in the best form of his career. Starting the season with a win on the Gold Coast, he earned another win later in the season in France. Heading into the Billabong Pipe Masters, Wilson was in contention to win his first World Title. But finally, in the Final at Pipe, Medina got him back. Wilson, was forced to accept a disappointing second in the event and second on the WSL Leaderboard as Medina ran the table.
"To win the Pipe Masters and then to come runner-up at the Pipe Masters and World Title in 2018 with all of our family there aside from Dad -- who's never taken an international flight -- was possibly the pinnacle moment for me in my career," Wilson told the WSL. "To travel that year in 2018 with my new-born daughter and make four Finals traveling together as a family, was the most fulfilling year of my life."
"Massive thank you to my sponsors for their unwavering backing and for everyone's love and support on my journey," Wilson continues.
Stay tuned as we continue to celebrate the indelible career and legacy of Wilson in the days and weeks ahead.