TEARING IT UP: Coolum ripper Julian Wilson surfed admirably in his round five heat but lost to Championship Tour leader, Matt Wilkinson.
TEARING IT UP: Coolum ripper Julian Wilson surfed admirably in his round five heat but lost to Championship Tour leader, Matt Wilkinson. Kirstin Scholtz

Wilson shows top form but falls to tour leader

SURFING: Coolum Beach ripper Julian Wilson's world title quest took a hit after he was evicted from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach after falling to Championship Tour leader Matt Wilkinson in the fifth round yesterday.

Wilson was in superb form and led for the majority of the heat before Wilkinson garnered a 9.57 in the dying stages.

The pair finished the heat on equal total scores of 16.57, but Wilkinson progressed to the quarter-finals after managing the best scoring wave of the heat.

It took a super effort from Wilkinson who won last month's opening event of the Championship Tour by claiming the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.

Wilson looked to be in command after managing an 8.90 which had World Surf League commentator Ross Williams singing the 27-year-old's praises.

"That was the best wave I have seen from a surfer here at Bells Beach this year," Williams said.

"He has done a lot of damage here with some great turns in the bowl.

"Three magical turns from Julian and you can tell he is feeling the swagger."

But it was not enough to hold out Wilkinson, who burst on to the international scene at the same time as the Sunshine Coast surfer.

Wilson's eviction follows his round two exit from last month's Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.

Earlier yesterday morning, Wilson placed last in his three man non-elimination heat.

Meanwhile, American Courtney Conlogue claimed victory yesterday at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach, defeating Australian Sally Fitzgibbons in 1 - 1.5 metre waves.

The final match-up witnessed Conlogue take it to Fitzgibbons, the two-time event winner, in an all out brawl for the opportunity to claim the second CT event win and ring the prestigious Bell.

The women went wave for wave, throwing up massive scores, but it was the Californian who captured the win.

"I definitely wanted to get the score on that last wave, and I wanted to put a little more pressure on," Conlogue said.

"I knew I needed an eight, but I wanted a nine. I figured I might as well lose the event knowing that I threw everything I had into it."

A runner-up at the opening event of the season last week on the Gold Coast, Conlogue continued the momentum this week at Bells Beach, landing herself on the winner's dais and atop the WSL leader board heading into the third event of the year.

"I am really happy to be starting the year with this momentum, a first place win here and a second place win at Snapper," Conlogue said.

"It is a long season ahead and after experiencing last year's rollercoaster of emotions, this is definitely a high, but I know it is going to be a grind.

"Obviously I want to win a world title, but it is not going to be an easy feat. I know I had a good start, but there are still eight more contests ahead."

Sunshine Coast surfer Keely Andrew fell in round two.

She will contest next week's Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River.