SURFING: World title contender Julian Wilson has revealed he opted for a course of rehabilitation over the quick fix of surgery to repair a painful shoulder injury at the start of the season because the doting dad wanted to hold his newborn baby girl.
Family man Wilson this month goes into the Pipe Masters in Hawaii as one of only three men with a shot at winning the 2018 world crown and with his wife, Ashley, and daughter, Olivia, with him.
“I am at my best with them by my side,” Wilson told The Daily Telegraph ahead of his battle with Brazilians Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo for the 2018 men’s world crown of surfing.
But it is remarkable Wilson is even in this position after a mountain bike accident preseason almost ended his bid for a maiden world crown before it began.
Wilson said he opted for a long rehabilitation from a ruptured AC joint – and surfing a big chunk of the season in pain – to be a hands-on dad when his first child was born in March this year.
“I had a 50-50 chance of being hands-on when she was born or zero chance if I had the operation. That was a big part of my decision,” said Red Bull athlete Wilson.
“I made a lot of phone calls. This was not my first injury and I had people I used previously to call and send scans to, to make the decision I was with happy with.
“I also felt like to have any chance of doing the first three events in Australia was not to have the surgery.
“After seeing what my wife went though giving birth I was inspired to put up with the pain.”
It was a decision which saw an exhausted Wilson win the opening event of the season on the Gold Coast despite driving hours each day from his home on the Sunshine Coast so he could be with his wife and newborn and also surfing the final with his arm hanging uselessly by his side.
“I cried twice there,” Wilson said of the Gold Coast win.
“It was such an emotional month and time with the injury, having my first child.”
While he struggled to stay in touch early in the season, Wilson won the Quiksilver pro France in October to put his world title campaign back on track.
And there to see him win was his wife and daughter.
“It was so special to win with Ashley and Olivia on the beach. She had never been on the beach when I have won,” Wilson said.
“I want to make Olivia proud of her dad.
“It’s a motivating factor. It’s a new thing with me.
“I want to be a role model and achieving my dreams and showing her when she gets older that she was part of it.”