When the world first saw Julian Wilson as a Quiksilver Young Gun, the question wasn't so much if he would make the ASP World Tour, but when. Well the answer is now. He's on. After the first two rounds of surfing at the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the fates of several tour hopefuls has been sealed. Alejo Muniz, Josh Kerr, Raoni Monteiro and Wilson are all headed to the big leagues.
Wilson collected the ISA World Junior title in 2006 and when he graduated the junior ranks, he took 2009 off to make his film "Scratching the Surface." But it wasn't a full year out of a jersey. He got a wildcard into the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro and axed Kelly Slater in the third round. Then he aced the 6-star Sri Lanka Airlines Pro this past June, to get an instant push up the new ASP rankings ladder. He's made the finals of both stops of the Vans Triple Crown, and even though he just trailed Joel Parkinson after the second event (8557 to 8531), he didn't have a slot into the Pipe Masters to claim that title.
So, how does he feel about that? On a lighter note, how will the 21-year-old from the Sunshine Coast handle the celebration? And the tour next year?
We found out.
ESPN.com: So, you just qualified for the 2011 ASP Tour. What kind of celebration is waiting for you back home in Australia?
Julian Wilson: I will be celebrating with a good old fashioned BBQ in the back yard at my parents' house. Get my mates over for a few, cricket in the driveway, and a bit of ping pong.
ESPN.com: What has the general reaction been like with your family and friends?
Julian Wilson: Of course my family and friends are really happy for me. It's funny because even I was surprised with how things went for me in the last few events, so to end the year qualifying for the World Tour was definitely a surprise for friends and family as well.
Do you think the 2010 restructure of the ASP favored someone in your situation?
No, not at all. If anything I would say it made qualifying a lot harder. If it was like last year, I would have qualified after Haleiwa. Not saying I am not opposed to change, but this definitely was a "learning" year for everyone.
Coming in as a rookie, you could be pitted against Kelly Slater a lot, if he's competing. Would you welcome that after killing the giant at Cooly in 2009?
I have a feeling I won't be seeing Kelly very much on tour next year. However, if I do, of course I would look forward to it. That's always a fun challenge.
Now the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Do you think the format is a little skewed for you to not get a crack at Pipe to try to claim the Triple Crown title being as you were such a close second to Parko after the O'Neill World Cup?
I don't think I am alone when I say it is a little unfair for someone to be so much in the running for Triple Crown and not get a shot at Pipe, and I really hope my experience will make it easier for somebody in that position down the track. Congrats to Parko if he wins the Triple Crown again, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't have liked to see him have to make a couple more heats at Pipe before wrapping it up.
Those are fair points. What venue on the 2011 tour best suits your surfing?
I am looking forward to all of them. If I had to name locations that might suit me best I would say Snapper, Bells, J-Bay, Trestles, Brazil or France.
Are there any spots on tour that you haven't surfed that you're particularly stoked on?
I'm really interested to see where the Search event will take us!