EMBOLDENED by his first elite tour win and a career trajectory going to plan, a hungry Julian Wilson will not be totally satisfied unless he wins next year's world title.
Back home at Coolum after a breakthrough year, the winner of this year's Rip Curl Pro Portugal believes he is ready to summit surfing.
"I feel like next year I'll have a much better chance at it after having a couple of years of experience on tour and winning one of those events and feeling confident at the locations on tour now," he said yesterday.
Wilson, 24, equalled his 2011 rookie-year season finish by ending 2012 ranked No.9 in the world, though he scored slightly less points this year.
He reached a season high ranking of No.6 after the Portugal win, but had a poor end to the season.
In the four events after the Rip Curl Pro, the natural-footer did not finish higher than 13th.
He insisted he had not been surfing poorly, but admitted he needed to improve his consistency.
"I didn't really feel like I was lacking form. Heats didn't really go my way," he said.
Wilson described his debut tour win as a massive pressure reliever.
"It was just like a huge weight off my shoulders," he said. "It was a big achievement … on the way to bigger and better goals you've got to win that first world tour event to get that confidence and belief in yourself that you can do it."
The aerial master also won two Prime events in 2012, including the prestigious US Open of Surfing at California's Huntington Beach in July.
SPECTATOR wise, that event is regarded as surfing's best-attended contest.
"I had two really big highs this year (the win in Portugal and California)," Wilson said.
"I achieved my goals, so I can't complain.
"I would have liked to finish with a higher rating, but top 10 in my first two years on tour is good."
In October, former world champion Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew said he would not be surprised to see Wilson seriously challenge for the world championship next year.
Along with young American star John John Florence, Bartholomew considers Wilson the sport's future.
America's 11-time world champion Kelly Slater has been the sport's dominate force for the best part of two decades, but there is plenty of speculation he will retire.
Wilson suspects Slater will continue if he feels that is what the public wants.
The Sunshine Coast ace said: "I think he thrives off the attention … if people aren't going to be interested, I don't think he's going to be interested.
"I think he's surfing as good as he ever has.
"I'd be happy for him to keep going. You want to beat the best guys, and he's still one of the very best and still surfing at his best.
"I think it would be silly if he didn't (keep going)."
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