Our 2018 Quiksilver Pro champion and new world number one, Julian Wilson. All photos Ryan Miller and Scotty Hammonds
Last year, Owen's miraculous comeback win at Snapper was beyond a fairytale finish. It wasn't on anyone's radar, especially Owen's. But strange and brilliant things often come to athletes who's focus comes off their performance and onto the more important things in life - which is what we've seen again in 2018.
After the off-season Julian had, no one could've blamed him for staying home until at least the West Aus CT event in April. Six weeks before Snapper was due to kick-off, he sustained a potentially serious shoulder injury after coming off his mountain bike in a national park on Australia Day. Then, while still juggling a lot of uncertainity around rehab and recovery timelines, Jules and his wife Ashley became parents for the first time just 10 days before the CT season opener.
With surfing now taking a rightful backseat to the health of his growing family, Julian only managed to get back in the water just prior to the Quiksilver Pro weekend. On Friday the 9th, his new batch of boards were finished, comlete with the signature pink breast cancer spray. Saturday the 10th, we got them up to the Sunshine Coast so he could at least surf a few of them once before round one. Sunday the 11th, Jules got up pre-dawn to make it down to the Gold Coast in time to win his first heat.
It continued like this through to finals day, between tough heats and obvious injury-induced pain, to moments of sheer brilliance. Then, at pumping Kirra, Jules met Ace in the decider - one of his best friends and mentors on tour, who he said has helped more than just about anyone in recent months with advice on family, kids, and the whole balancing act that his life will now become.
Whoever ended on top, you could tell the runner-up would be genuinely happy to see their good mate victorious. Plus, with both able to share the whole experience relatively close to home with their families, it definitely felt like a win/win from the start. Congratulations Jules, congratulations Ace - we can't wait to see what the rest of 2018 has in store for you!
The perfect end to a very memorable day.
Before it became a tube-riding contest, Jules polished his progressive act at Snapper. Riding his signature AIR 17 - 6'0" x 18 3/4" x 2 3/8" x 28.2L (6'0" / 80kg).
Late drops, heaving half-sand barrels , and the occasional need to backdoor multiple heaving sections in a row. Here's Jules, showing some of the preternatural tube-riding talent that took him to wins at both Pipeline and Teahupo'o. Same board, very different day.
Just like Jules, Ace kept the same new favourite board as his go-to throughout the contest. From running 2-3ft Snapper, to dredging 6ft bombs at Kirra, having a solid all-rounder proved crucial. Ace has ridden our HYFI epoxy tech more than anyone on the Traktor Team, and his latest batch is all based off the board he rode to his two best results of 2017 - a final in Brazil, and semi-final at Trestles. For Snapper, Ace rode a HYFI MONSTA 8 at 5'10" x 18 5/8" x 2 5/16" x 25.5L (he's 5'9" / 73kg).
Bucho, in his element on the way to the final.
Even in hollow, freight train rights, Ace's backhand hook still found its time to shine.
As good as it gets.
JULIAN'S AIR 17
6'0" x 18 3/4" x 2 3/8" x 28.2L
ACE'S HYFI MONSTA 8
5'10" x 18 5/8" x 2 5/16" x 25.5L