Wilson snares Huntington victory
COOLUM'S Julian Wilson has put Australian surfing back on top at the US Open at Huntington Beach becoming the first Aussie to win since the 80s halcyon days of Mark Occhilupo.
After a week of upsets when Australian surfers Fanning, Parkinson, Kerr and Gilmore fell early, Julian grabbed the gold to take out the 2012 final from Brazil's Migel Pupo.
Defending US champion and 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater knows how to perform in front of the thousands of parochial fans lapping it up in close range and crammed in at one of surfing's greatest stadium events.
But even the King had no answer to the new aerial surfers like Brazil's Miguel Pupo who took to the air to defeat Slater in the semis.
It's a huge confidence booster for 24-year-old Wilson who is rated 10th on the ASP World Title tour.
Huntington is a far cry from the exotic events of Fiji and Tahiti and is not a world championship event that counts towards the men's world title.
Talking of which the world title contenders will have a couple of weeks to lick their wounds from the California carnage and then ready themselves for the real deal coming up next, the annual Billabong Pro Teahupoo at Tahiti from August 16-27.
It's been almost two months since the last WCT at Fiji won in devastating form by Kelly Slater.
Like so many other events, Slater rules at Teahupoo and is the defending champion.
This year's world title although led narrowly by Mick Fanning from Slater will be defined by this Tahitian result.
Everybody knows that and the Australian contenders Fanning, Parkinson, Kerr, Burrow and Wright will be hoping to get on a roll and knock off the King early otherwise Slater's 12th world title will be only a mathematical matter of formality.
Well done to Joel Parkinson and his trainer Wes Berg, finishing third in the 50km Molokai to Oahu paddle race.
It's the first time Parko had ventured into an ironman event as such and only really trained for three months beforehand according to mentor Luke Egan.
"It's an awesome result for Joel," said Egan who travelled with Parkinson all last year during the ASP World Tour and added, "He was understandably feeling a bit sore after the race. It's such an amazing effort."
Egan is the contest director for the Billabong Pro Teahupoo and is expecting some solid surf as so far this year Chopes has not generated the epic swells of 2011.
"There's been one excellent 6-8ft swell but so far nothing like last year," he said.
Of course last year presented one of the biggest swells yet ridden when the competition was put on hold leaving it to the fearless big wave tow in patrollers.
The big wave guys were fully ready for the 20ft day in Fiji and when the competition was called off in what has now turned into a talking point of should or shouldn't have gone ahead, rest assured the ASP Top 32 will be ready for anything this time around giving added impetus to what can only be described as the most exciting event coming up next on the ASP World TitleTour.