SURFING superstar Julian Wilson won’t be at Surfest this month but he’s planning to spend plenty more time in Newcastle.
The world No.3-ranked surfer, who hails from the Sunshine Coast, and his wife, Newcastle model Ashley Wilson (nee Osborne), are expecting their first child in late March.
The glamour couple recently spent the holiday season with friends and family in Newcastle, and sightings of Julian carving up big swell around city beaches sparked speculation of a permanent move.
Julian confirmed they had bought an apartment in Merewether, but only as a “second home”.
“I was there for about five weeks,” Wilson said. “We’ve got our first baby on the way and wanted to spend more time with Ashley’s family at Merewether.
“We had that big chunk of time over Christmas there, which was good and we’ll find ourselves down there quite a bit from now on.
“We have a little home base there. We’re on the road pretty much the whole year, so we’ve got a home base on the Sunshine Coast, where I’m from, and a unit in Merewether.
“It’s a strong surf community. We had some great waves over the five weeks and the wave quality is good.
“I’ve got some good friends there, Ryan Callinan and Craig Anderson, who are great surfers and quite a few other mates who don’t like to be in the public eye.”
Wilson’s recent stay in Newcastle, though, ended on a sour note when he injured his shoulder in a mountain bike fall at Glenrock State Conservation Area. It has put his campaign for a maiden world title in doubt.
“It’s quite treacherous and it’s quite beautiful in there,” he said of Glenrock.
“Where I did it, it wasn’t a nasty track to ride on. You can pick your poison in there. There’s some gnarly trails and more scenic stuff, which I do for my cardio and which I was on. But it just goes with the territory.
“My foot came out of the cleat, I was just not paying attention, and it immediately flipped me over the handlebars. It just happened really quick.”
The 29-year-old, a three-time winner on surfing’s elite tour, was No.20 on the AFR’s top 50 Australian sports earners list for 2017 with an estimated $2.9 million. That came despite Wilson, whose sponsors include Hurley, Nike, Red Bull and Oakley, having career prizemoney of $US1.8 million.
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Wilson is probably best known for paddling towards three-time world champion Mick Fanning to help him during his great white shark attack at J-Bay in 2015. However, he has been in the world title race himself heading into the final event for the past two seasons and he was determined to overcome his injury and again join the likes of two-time defending champion John John Florence in the battle.
“It just takes a few more heats in order to achieve my goal and dream, so I’ll just keep working extremely hard at it,” he said.
“I think I can put together a stronger year than I have yet to do, and I think that’s what it’s going to take to get the title, and that’s what I’ll be working towards.”
As for adjusting to life as a father, Wilson said: “We’ll travel as a unit to quite a few of the events and I think it’s just a matter of dropping a few hobbies that I’ve had through my life so far and focusing definitely on the baby, my wife and surfing, and simplifying my life a bit to make room.”
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