Wilson goes down in final in Portugal
26 October 2017
SURFING: Aussie Julian Wilson has gone down to Gabriel Medina in the final of the World Surf League event in Portugal but still remains an outside chance at claiming the overall world title with on event remaining.
In a keenly contested decider at the Supertubos break, Medina pinched victory in the dying minutes with a clean aerial manoeuvre, 12.60 to 10.94.
After a slow start the Coolum Beach-based surfer ceded advantage to Medina, struggling to catch up to the last round winner in France.
But a clean left handed tube ride with less than four minutes to go saw Wilson snatch the lead by just 0.10 of a point.
The 2014 world champion still had something in the bag though and scored the all important ride that would get him the title and push him up to No.2 in the world with just the season-ending Pipe Masters to go in Hawaii next month.
"It was an awesome few days here, we had great challenging conditions before and cute smaller conditions today," Wilson said.
"We always get a good test coming here to Peniche, it can be intimidating, or super exciting going for big airs.
"I'm glad we got a couple of exchanges in that heat and congratulations to Gabriel."
A relieved Medina admitted he thought Wilson had his number before pulling of his dramatic victory.
"I feel tired, that was a lot of work," he said.
"Julian got me so many times so it feels good to get one back over him. When he got the score at five minutes I thought 'Oh My God' not again, but I kept going and I'm so stoked I won in the end."
Hawaiian John John Florence, who lost in the quarter-finals in Portugal, still leads the rankings (53,350 points) and will take out the world title with a final appearance at Pipeline.
Medina (50,250) has the best play of stealing the crown and would likely need a win and Florence to drop out at or before the quarter-final stage in Hawaii.
South Africa's Jordy Smith (47,600) and No.4 Wilson (45,200) are not without hope but would have to win and hope Florence and Medina drop out in the early rounds to be any chance of taking the world title.