Wilson likes his chances
HARDENED by a full year on the ASP World Tour, Coast prodigy Julian Wilson has descended on Bells Beach for today's start of the Rip Curl Pro determined to re-affirm his love for the legendary Victorian break.
As a tour rookie, Wilson was a second-round casualty at last year's event.
But a lot has changed since that sobering defeat, with Wilson shaking off a sluggish start to 2011 to finish the season in ninth place on the standings - good enough for rookie of the year honours.
The 23-year-old, who is scheduled to meet dangerous Frenchman Jeremy Flores and fellow Australian Yadin Nicol in round one, said he was feeling good about his chances at the tour's second stop for 2012.
"I love Bells. It's one of my favourite places to visit for the waves, and I have had some good success in the juniors out here," he said.
"I just want to get back to the success I had in the juniors. Bring that to this event.
"There is no reason why I can't (do well here) … I feel really comfortable with the waves (and) the forecast looks good, so everyone's itching to get it going."
A lot is expected of Wilson this year, although the Coolum Beach pin-up is used to dealing with those high expectations of others and himself.
Once he adjusted to tour life last season, he strung together some impressive results - headlined by a runner-up finish at the Quiksilver Pro France in October.
His goal this year is to win an event and improve his ranking.
At the year's first stop, last month's Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, Wilson finished ninth.
"I felt a lot better at Snapper than I did last year," he said.
"I felt like my surfing was better."