Stab Magazine | Julian Wilson will be rookie of the year
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Julian Wilson will be rookie of the year

“At present, general consensus at the ASP is that Rookie of the Year will be determined as the surfer who’s had the best full year on tour,” says the ASP’s Dave Prodan. “And that a surfer won’t be considered a rookie until they’ve completed their first full year on tour.” So, Jules Wilson, a just-turned-23 […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

“At present, general consensus at the ASP is that Rookie of the Year will be determined as the surfer who’s had the best full year on tour,” says the ASP’s Dave Prodan. “And that a surfer won’t be considered a rookie until they’ve completed their first full year on tour.” So, Jules Wilson, a just-turned-23 from Coolum on Oz’s Sunny Coast, is gonna be 2011’s rookie of the year. Jules is an Australian torch-carrier, handsome, strong, clean and concise, the guy who’s heats-on-demand we look forward to more than any other. Worn down by three months straight on the road, Jules opted to do only the Billabong Pro, Pipeline this year (not the entire Triple Crown) and instead headed home to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast for another week, which is where Stab found him…

So, your rookie year on the Dream Tour is drawing to a close. What was the highlight of your year?Even though I didn’t get a good result there, I’d have to say Tahiti. It was breathtaking to watch the waves those guys were riding. To be there and witness that in person when it got enormous was a huge highlight of my year. I mean, there was those three events in a row, Chopes, New York, Trestles… Trestles and France were two events where I kinda felt like I was in contention to win the whole event, and that was a pretty cool feeling. It feels good to be getting some results on the WT. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s felt good to start putting the pieces together after a slow start. It’s been a fun year. But I’ve found my stride a little bit and become a lot more comfortable being able to mix it up with those guys.

It felt like there was a point when you absolutely came into your own. Did you feel that? When do you think it was? The thing this year was trying to figure out what worked best as far as a support crew is concerned, and what would get me in the best frame of mind to compete. I think it just took a few events to figure out what worked, and what didn’t. I think the turning point was going to Portugal solo, just to do the event (a Quiksilver Prime, in June). And I won that event and it kinda just showed that I’ve gotta put in the work on my own and just have one or two people for support, like my brothers. At the start of the year I think I had too many distractions and a fair bit of pressure on myself. So I learnt from all those mistakes I was making at the start of the year and turned it around for the second half.

Bruce Irons said that one of the biggest pieces of advice Andy gave Joel Parkinson about winning the title, was that Parko was travelling with too many people and that he just needed to do it himself. For sure. I mean, when you have too many people around, you start worrying about everyone else, not yourself and what you’re there to do. I found myself trying to make everyone happy and forgetting about the task at hand. And, for sure, if you’re on your own, you’ve only got one thing on your mind and that’s winning. 

 

Especially in your rookie year, it’d probs be very easy to get caught up in the whole experience and forget why you’re there? Definitely. Especially through the first part of the year, at Snapper, Bells, Brazil… I kinda found myself going out a lot. Not drinking or anything, but going out to almost try and take the pressure off a little bit, and not be, like, at home thinking about the event too much and getting too worked up. But really, that’s what I needed to be doing. I needed to be concentrating on the event and getting my stuff together, not going out and playing into all those distractions that come with the world tour. But it was fun learning, I had a good time. That’s how it is in your rookie year, you make mistakes and you learn from them.

What do you think are the biggest things you’ve learnt this year? The biggest thing is probably equipment. I mean, from the ‘QS to the WT, it’s such a big difference. On the WT, you’re surfing much better waves and everything you do has to be bigger and more polished. Equipment can play such a big key. If you don’t have a really good board under your feet, you can’t expect to match it with the best guys in the world. All those guys, Mick, Joel, Kelly, they all put so much time into their equipment and making sure their boards are doing what they want them to do. Making sure they’re on top of their game.

 

You took a year off to do your film and didn’t dive straight into competition. Do you still feel that was the right thing? For sure. You only get to be a kid once. I was so lucky that I had really good sponsors that didn’t put pressure on me to go straight into the ‘QS. It was so cool to go and travel the world and make a movie. Other than competing on the world tour and winning events, making a movie has always been my dream. It just felt like that was the only real time I was gonna be able to do it. Now that I’m on tour, so much of my focus is on that. Especially the way it is now, there’s no time to go out and film and make a movie. It worked out perfectly. I’m definitely not second-guessing the position I’m in – I know that I’ve had the chance to go out and make a movie, now I can focus on competing and not be stressed about doing trips in between contests, getting the sickest clips and doing too much.

 

What surprised you most about being on tour, as far as your preconceptions vs the reality of it? It kinda is everything you expect it to be. At the start of the year it was kinda overwhelming that I had a spot with those guys that I’ve been watching for my whole life and dreaming about surfing against. It was almost like I was trying really hard to accept that I deserved a spot there. But once you get comfortable with it and start enjoying yourself, it’s a pretty cool place to be. Being able to surf with those guys in the world’s best waves. And it really is everything I kinda thought it would be. – Elliot Struck

 

 

 

 

 

 

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