SURFING: Ex-world tour professional Robbie Sherwell believes fellow Sunshine Coaster Julian Wilson has the skills to fare well at iconic Bells Beach but warns the surf there is highly-unpredictable.
He competed on the elite stage there more than most but never quite worked it out.
"Even after surfing in the event 10 times I was still getting lost in the end," he said. "It's a really tricky venue."
Sherwell had one of the best heats in his life there amid a "perfect swell" but also fell victim to the inconsistent nature of the place.
"It was clutch because I was sitting in fifth place in the world but had an absolute nightmare heat against Greg Anderson and I went to 22nd because of it," he said.
"You could see waves coming through in a certain spot so you'd head there...(but) they would close out and you'd change your mind and go back...but then waves would come through where you'd been."
There's nothing quite like this stop of the world tour.
"It's the nostalgia. It's the longest running event (on tour) and it's had a couple of the best heats on earth with the very best surfers, including Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo," he said.
While luck can play a major factor there, Sherwell said experience and advice from locals can help.
"The guys that are going to do well are the ones who created a relationship with the beach," he said.
"They will know what the tides are doing, what the swell's doing and where it's going to move to. And everyone that does well has someone with local knowledge in their ear going 'this is where you should be."
Wilson, 14th after three of 11 events, will compete at Bells for the seventh time, with a best result of third in 2013.
"He's one of the best surfers, technique wise, in the world and if luck runs Julian's way he will do really well," Sherwell said.