By Hishan Welmilla
Australian surfing star Julian Wilson’s impressive victory at the SriLankan Airlines Pro seems to have re-stoked the competitive fire within. After outclassing Californian Nat Young in the final in his first competitive hit-out since a serious ankle injury, the Coolum surfer warned his rivals he has regained a thirst for victory.
Before his injury Wilson, 21, had taken about a year off the tour to film surfing movies backed by the legendary Andy and Bruce Irons’ production company. He showed he had not lost any tactical onus by dominating the six-star event from start to finish.
Wilson, who won $22,800, was a deserving winner after posting the highest two-wave total in four of the previous rounds he contested, and will approach the prestigious US Open of Surfing in early August with plenty of confidence. Nat Young finished runner at the SriLankan Airlines Pro behind Australian favourite Julian Wilson in a hard-fought final at Arugam Bay.
The result catapults the North America Pro Junior Series Champion to 69 on the world ranking, and also establishes him as the frontrunner for qualification for the World Junior Championships due to his performance on the men’s Star Ratings as the top-rated American of ASP Pro Junior age. The national carrier SriLankan Airlines played a major role in bringing this international event to Sri Lanka with a view of promoting the homeland as one of the best surfing places in the world.
“ We wanted to make Arugam Bay world famous and one of the best surfing destinations in the world. As the national carrier, we only derive some publicity as the main sponsor, but the real benefit goes to the Arugam Bay community at large” said, CEO SriLankan Airlines , Manoj Gunewardena. “We want to see this as an annual event in the global surfing calendar over the next three years” he added. Results:
SEMIS: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.10 d Drew Courtney (AUS) 14.3; Nat Young (USA) 16.20 d Jayke Sharpe (14.27).
FINAL: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.33 d Nat Young (USA) 8.83.