A "BURNT-out" Julian Wilson has returned home for a much-needed break, intent on refreshing himself in preparation for the ASP World Tour's season-ending Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii and a tilt at rookie-of-the-year honours.
The Coolum Beach product has had an outstanding debut season on the tour and will head to the fabled Banzai Pipeline break in eighth place on the world title points tally.
A strong showing at Pipeline next month should see him claim the rookie-of-the-year award ahead of his only rival, 21-year-old Brazilian sensation Alejo Muniz.
Speaking to the Daily yesterday from his family's Coolum Beach home, a relaxed Wilson was salivating over the prospect of competing in his first Pipeline.
However, he admitted to feeling the strain of a long season and needed to return to the Coast after a disappointing last-start showing at the Rip Curl Pro Search in San Francisco earlier this month.
After finishing 15th in that event, he decided to bypass the Reef Hawaiian Pro - the first leg of the Triple Crown of Surfing. It is on at the moment.
"I've been away for three-and-a-half months and I was feeling pretty burnt out," the 23-year-old said yesterday.
"My last two results weren't real good and I feel like I needed to come home and refresh and enjoy being home for a little bit and get over to Hawaii and try and finish the year strong."
Wilson had a slow start to the season, admitting he initially struggled to adjust to life on the tour.
"It seems like it's easy to let all the hype and attention get to you and all the pressure," he said.
"I think that's just what I did those first few events."
That sluggish start is a distant memory, with Wilson stringing together a series of impressive results to leap to No.4 on the world rankings.
His best result so far was a runner-up finish at the Quiksilver Pro France in October.
While he gained a lot of confidence and accolades from that performance, Wilson said it was his win in the restricted-field ASP Prime Quiksilver Pro Portugal in June and his fifth-place finish at the Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, in July that "kick-started" his season.
Now he is looking to finish it in style.
"I'm really excited to go to Pipe," he said. "It's an event I've been looking forward to pretty much my whole life."