Wilson builds momentum, Andrew impresses on world tour
SURFING: Coolum Beach product Julian Wilson says he's turned the corner in this year's Championship Tour, after achieving a quarter finals berth at the Oi Rio Pro.
The 30-year-old produced a strong showing in the event at Brazil, which was the fifth stop on the 11-leg circuit.
His fifth place finish propelled him to ninth overall on the standings.
"I feel like I'm building," he said.
"I've got a few good results under my belt now and I really feel like I've made a turn for the better this year and I feel like I can still improve quite a bit.
"I don't think I've brought the best out of myself yet. It's a good sign of things to come."
Wilson, the No.2 from last year, started this season with disappointing outings at the Gold Coast (17th) and Bells Beach (17th) but has since found some form at Bali (9th), Margaret River (3rd) and Rio de Janeiro (5th) to remain an outside chance of winning the world title.
He can afford to drop two results from his schedule.
Wilson looked particularly dangerous at Rio, winning his three-man seeding heat, his round of 32 heat and his round of 16 heat before being beaten by Portugal's Frederico Morais 13.17 to 11.84.
He nailed an 8-point aerial manoeuvre late in the heat and attempted another one with a couple of minutes remaining but it came unstuck.
Meanwhile, Mooloolaba's Keely Andrew reminded pundits of her potential with a semi-finals appearance in the women's event.
She got through three heats, including a quarter final match-up with Brazilian Silvana Lima (7.24 to 6.46), before eventually falling to fellow Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons 7.63 to 4.40.
"It was extremely challenging," she said after that clash.
"It looks so different from the beach and then you get out there and it seems like there's a a lot of close outs. That's surfing. I'm just happy to get to the semis."
The 24-year-old was called on to the tour at the start of the season as a temporary replacement for compatriot Tyler Wright, who withdrew from at least the first half of the season due to health issues. Andrew battled to make an impression in the opening couple of events, before making some headway at Bali and Margaret River. But her performance at Rio, where she also made her world tour debut in style in 2015, was eye-catching.
The result propelled her to 15th on the ratings.
"I was kind of stuck at the bottom (of the overall standings) and kind of drawing Carissa (Moore) in every heat just about and it was kind of nice to mix up the match-ups," she said. "It's time to start to climbing the ladder."