Julian Wilson wins Pipeline prize after snapping fin
JULIAN Wilson credited a snapped fin for allowing him to "re-set" and get the mindset required to take out yesterday's Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii.
The 26-year-old put on a clinic of tube riding at the famed Pipeline break to end his year on a high after struggling at different stages of 2014.
Wilson's opponent in the final was Gabriel Medina, who earlier in the day was named as world champion.
With that title in his pocket, the 20-year-old Brazilian had momentum on his side but could not halt the Coolum surfer's assault.
The win also secured Wilson the Hawaiian Triple Crown.
"It is the best day of my life, a 100%," Wilson said.
"I never gave up and I had some opportunities in some amazing waves in the final.
"We both had good scores and we weren't hassling each other.
"He went left and I went right.
"He got a good one and I got a better one.
"I am speechless and it doesn't feel real."
Wilson hit the beach in the latter stages of the final after a mishap with his board.
He said the small break from the ocean gave him just enough time to gather himself before closing out proceedings with his outstanding barrel-riding abilities.
"I broke my board in the final and the fin snapped out," he said.
"I felt like that was a good thing and I could re-set because I hadn't touched the sand for an hour."
The Pipe Masters was held in honour of three-time world champion Andy Irons, who passed away in 2010.
Wilson said he was almost moved to tears when Irons' wife, Lyndy, who gave birth to Andy Axel two months after his father's passing, congratulated him on the shore.
"I nearly started crying when I saw Lyndy and I am lost for words," he said.
"Andy is like a little brother to me."