Julian Wilson’s bid to land a first World Surf League tour win on home soil has just fallen short.
The Sunshine Coast product was beaten at the death by America’s Sebastian Zietz in Saturday’s final of the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia.
Wilson, a two-time tour event winner but never in Australia, held the lead for the majority of the final before Zietz scored an eight-point ride with less than three minutes remaining.
That lifted the Hawaiian to a two-wave total of 17.40 out of 20 while Wilson finished the event on 16.67 to lose by less than a point.
Wilson, who had earlier eliminated former world champion Joel Parkinson in the semi-finals, was focusing on the big picture after his narrow defeat.
“There was just a four-wave set and he was able to get one of those sets and that was kind of the end of the final,” Wilson said.
“I’m happy to get a good result here and Bells was a better result than last year … just looking forward to the rest of the year, carry a bit of momentum and take that fire into Brazil.”
The victory is Zietz’s first tour win of his career.
An injury replacement wildcard, the 27-year-old had never been past a quarter-final at a world tour event until Saturday.
“I’m stoked, yeah, pressure was on and I pulled that last wave in the white water,” said Zietz, who is attempting to regain his full-time spot on the tour after dropping out at the end of last year.
“Epic to win a CT, against all the top guys.”
NSW surfer Matt Wilkinson, the winner of the preceding two tour events, retains the rankings lead despite being eliminated on Friday in the quarter-finals.
The women’s event was won by Australia’s Tyler Wright on Friday, her second tour win of the year in three events.
The championship heads away from Australia, with the next event to be the Rio Pro from May 10 in Brazil.