AT SURF RANCH: Julian Wilson in Lemoore, California.
AT SURF RANCH: Julian Wilson in Lemoore, California. Kelly Cestari

Wilson sixth at Surf Ranch, loses ground to title rivals

SURFING: Sunshine Coast's Julian Wilson retained third place in the race for the world title but gave away some ground to his main world title rivals after the Surf Ranch Pro in California on Monday.

The 29-year-old claimed sixth spot in the eighth event on the 11-stop Championship Tour - where man-made waves were used on the elite stage. He lost ground in the standings to Brazilian duo Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina, who finished second and first respectively at the event.

But Wilson was relatively content with his outing, particularly after a disappointing early exit at the last stop in Tahiti, where he was starved of surf.

"They spread the (points) gap more (but) there's three big events left," he told World Surf League. "There's a great opportunity to get some momentum. This is a good result, a good bounce-back from Tahiti and the pool delivered some waves for me, which was good."

Wilson relished the opportunity to showcase his skills at Surf Ranch, where competitors went through a qualifying round, before a final round, during the four-day meet.

"I had a great few days (at a) really short event," he said. "I had a great time. It was a new challenge, a new experience. "(It was my) first time competing here, (my) first time surfing here this week and (I will) hold my head up.

"I think if I completed the waves I was after I think I could have really challenged Gabby and Filipe but I needed to let it hang out there to have a chance and I did it all day and I don't know, I just couldn't get it done."

Toledo has a 12,660-point advantage over Wilson, with event wins worth 10,000 points. The remaining events will be held in Europe, with the next stop at France, from October 3. Wilson was third in the world standings last year.

Meanwhile, Mooloolaba's Keely Andrew is 15th on the women's Championship Two, after she finished 13th at Surf Ranch. Carissa Moore won the event at California, where Australian Stephanie Gilmore was second to stay atop the overall season standings. The top 10 in the season ending women's standings will automatically re-qualify for next year's tour.

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