Australian surf star Julian Wilson says he was simply burnt out during his disappointing 2019 campaign, but he’s fresh and ready to compete for the world title in 2021.
Wilson finished third in the World Surf League title race in 2017 and runner-up in 2018, but he dropped to 11th in 2019 and failed to make a final on the main tour.
The 32-year-old’s hopes of a quick rebound in 2020 was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 2021 campaign kicks off this week at the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii.
A refreshed Wilson expects the next 12 months to be far more fruitful than 2019.
“I was worn out (in 2019), I just felt like I didn’t have it to show up, to throw my hat in the ring for the world title campaign,” Wilson told AAP.
“I got off to a slow start and my motivation was lacking a bit. The wind was out of my sails.
“At the end of last year I was really looking forward to going home and taking some time off. But I didn’t know that time off was going to turn into 12 months.”
Wilson’s hunger for success has returned with a bang and he’s looking forward to seeing what he can achieve over the next 12 months, which will include an Olympics campaign.
“I have enjoyed having that extra time off. Coming back to this environment after 12 months, it feels refreshing,” Wilson said.
“I feel hungry to perform and I’m excited to show up and make the most of the opportunities.”
The WSL has introduced a new format for 2021, with the top five surfers at the end of the regular season to qualify for the final.
That final will be a one-day, winner-takes-all shot at the world title.
“I think it’s an exciting direction they’re taking,” Wilson said.
“In 2018 I actually didn’t get the opportunity to surf against Gabriel Medina for the world title at Pipe because by the time we made the final, he had already won the world title.
“I would have loved to have had the opportunity to surf a heat or two heats against him to go for the title.”
Australian Owen Wilson will miss the Pipeline Masters to be present for the birth of his second child.
But Hawaii’s two-time world champion John John Florence returns to the tour after recovering from his second knee reconstruction.