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‘I Don’t Want To Finish Second Again’

‘I Don’t Want To Finish Second Again’
Runner up Australian Connor O’Leary and winner Matt Wilkingson with their spoils at the OuterKnown Fiji Pro 2017 at Tavarua Island Resort on June 15, 2017. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
June 16
11:00 2017

Australian Wilkinson wins Fiji Pro 2017

Australian Matthew Wilkinson took out the 2017 OuterKnown Fiji Pro and crowned the new Jeep Leader of the World Surf League at the Cloudbreak off Tavarua Island Resort yesterday.

The New South Wales- based surfer defeated rookie and fellow country-men Connor O’Leary in the final that was out of rhythm but incredibly exasperating when he found the groove and gliding through space in the final 5 minutes.

Wilkinson settled for the US$100,000 while O’Leary returned home US$50,000 richer for his effort.

“I didn’t think it was unrealistic to win. I don’t know I definitely came here not thinking of winning,” he said.

“For the start of the event I felt I had a lot of momentum. The fight was unbelievable as I drew up a big score and the momentum kind of shifted and I got smashed in the reef.”

Wilkinson redeemed his last year’s loss to 2016 winner Gabriel Medina of Brazil and wished not to repeat the feat.

“I really didn’t want to come second again. I had a good wave in the end and really gave it my best shot.

“It was good to be with him in the finals and he has been rookie all years which is good to see.”

He thanked OuterKnown for sponsoring the event.

“This is a best event ever in the world. I felt I surfed really good. I am pretty excited about it.”

O’Leary said, “It’s been a really good day and I am so glad that I have been a part of it.

“It’s really a good start to be part of it and thanks to Namotu and the ladies who looked after us. It’s still a long season and hopefully I will get through a few more heats in the year.”

In the semi-final, Wilkinson found his mojo against Michel Bourez while O’Leary beat fellow countrymen Joel Parkinson.

In the quarter-finals Wilkinson beat Julian Wilson coasting into three straight 8-point rides in the opening 10 minutes.

The event is the 5th  stop of the 10- events organised by the World Surf League and is sponsored by OuterKnown, Airbnb, Jeep, and Tavarua Island Resort.

Edited by Osea Bola




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