Julian Wilson (AUS) claimed victory today at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Stop No. 7 of 11 on the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), after defeating Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Final.
A full day of competition witnessed intense action from the remaining competitors as they battled through 15 heats in six-to-seven foot (1.8 – 2 metre) surf at Teahupo’o.
Today’s win marks Wilson’s third CT victory and best result at the Billabong Pro Tahiti. The Australian is always a serious WSL Title contender and his first place finish moves him up from 8th to 5th place on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into the Hurley Pro at Trestles.
“It has been a few years,” said Wilson. “It is so special to win. I am ecstatic and I have nothing left in me. I am just so happy and relieved to finally win an event again. It took so many good waves to win this event and I was lucky enough to get those. I felt like I was trending in the right direction. I’ve had a pretty steady start to the year and I am so happy to be in the mix now. With so many events left, I am really looking forward to it. I was already enjoying myself on tour and even more so now. I cannot wait for the rest of the year.”
Wilson had a slow start to this season on the Australian leg but has been building momentum throughout the 2017 season, with improved results at each event, specifically his 3rd place finish in J-Bay, 5th in Fiji and 9th in Rio. The contender’s win now puts him just 2,150 points behind World No. 4 Owen Wright (AUS).
The exciting Final saw an all-out battle between Medina and Wilson. The Brazilian got the lead over the Australian with an incredible 17.87 combined score (out of a possible 20), with a near-perfect 9.20 (out of a possible 10) and excellent 8.67. Wilson was stuck in a combination situation and needed two new scores with time running out. Wilson fought back with a critical 8.10 and outstanding 9.23, but still trailed by 1.09 points. Under pressure but with priority, Wilson found his way out of a deep tube to earn a near-perfect 9.73 for the win in the dying minutes of the Final.
“It was an awesome Final,” continued Wilson. “With that 9, it was such a good wave and I was a little bit far in, but it was so nice that I wanted to make something special happen. I had plenty of time to get that 8.6. It really turned on for us in the Final and we had some great opportunities, so I am just glad to get that special one. Thank you to Gabby (Gabriel Medina) for an awesome Final. We seem to have these amazing match-ups in the Final and we didn’t disappoint. It has been such a special few days and I think we finished in the best conditions. We had a good battle and I am just so happy.”
The runner-up finish for Medina is his best result this season. The 2014 WSL Champion and event winner has struggled to excel past the Semifinals in 2017, but the Final appearance today proves that Medina is back in the game heading into the second-half of the season. The Brazilian superstar will improve two places to 7th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I am stoked to make another Final against Julian (Wilson),” said Medina. “He has been surfing really well the whole event and I think it is a little harder on your backhand, so good job to him. I am stoked. It feels good to be back in the game and now I am thinking about Trestles. I am happy. It is Father’s Day in Brazil and my dad is here, so that was a good present.”
The next stop on the 2017 World Surf League Championship Tour will be the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles. The heated WSL Title race will continue in San Clemente, California as the world’s best surfers will take on Lower Trestles from September 6 through September 17, 2017.
Highlights from the Billabong Pro Tahiti can be found atWorldSurfLeague.com.
For more information, check outWorldSurfLeague.com.
Billabong Pro Tahiti Final Results:
1 –Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.96
2 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.87
Billabong Pro Tahiti Semifinal Results:
SF 1:Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.16 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.90
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.26 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.33
Billabong Pro Tahiti Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.23 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 13.94
QF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.33 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 7.67
QF 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.50 def. John John Florence (HAW) 13.10
QF 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.16 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 9.00
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.37 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.66
Heat 2: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 15.50 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.00
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.93 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.40
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.24 def Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.60
Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.50, Connor O’Leary (AUS 13.40), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.40
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.37, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.50, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6.00
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 15.76, Conner Coffin (USA) 7.90, Julian Wilson (AUS) 4.00
Heat 4: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.33, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.43, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.40
2017 WSL Men’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Billabong Pro Tahiti ):
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 37,850 pts
2 – John John Florence (HAW) 36,900 pts
3 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 35,950 pts
4 – Owen Wright (AUS) 35,350 pts
5 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 33,200 pts