Motivation shuffle for in-form Julian Wilson
JULIAN Wilson is back where he belongs - but a fear of again putting his career in jeopardy is driving the Coolum surfer to work harder than ever ahead of next week's Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
The 26-year-old is in career-best form and ranked second in the world after making the final of the series-opening Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
But last year's struggles continue to serve as motivation. "I'm definitely working harder than I have before to make sure I don't get into that position and putting in a lot of hard work away from the events to set myself up and be ready for the events," he said.
Wilson (pictured) put his career at risk when he dropped to the bottom half of the World Championship Tour rankings midway through last year but clinched his spot on the 2015 tour with a sensational end-of-season run.
The former WCT rookie of the year hit career peaks when he won surfing's Triple Crown and the Billabong Pipe Masters in the final event of the season.
He continued that form on the Gold Coast earlier this month, winning every heat before falling to a near-faultless performance by Brazilian Filipe Toledo in the final.
The former Coast junior has been living on the Coast between events and although the swell has not compared to the conditions expected at Bells, he believes benefits of staying on the Coast will bring out the best in his surfing.
"I've been living in Sydney the last two years so I've been able to move back up the Coast with my girlfriend," he said.
"I love it up here. It's my favourite place in the world and I think it's something I will always be proud of."
Wilson's family life was thrown into turmoil early last year when his mother, a breast cancer survivor, was again diagnosed with breast cancer and his dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Their health took a toll on Wilson, who is a National Breast Cancer Foundation ambassador, and he was unable to recapture his best form until after they were given the all-clear last October.
"My family is always going to be the major priority over surfing and over everything else," he said.
"I love surfing and it's a dream of mine and I give everything towards it but when things aren't sitting right at home, it's really hard to prioritise surfing over family."