OUT: Julian Wilson was eliminated form the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on Monday.
OUT: Julian Wilson was eliminated form the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on Monday. Ed Sloane

World tour leader optimistic despite exit at Bells Beach

SURFING: World tour ratings leader Julian Wilson remains positive after a relatively early exit from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on Monday.

The 29-year-old, who continues to battle a shoulder injury sustained in a mountain biking accident in late January, was eliminated by Patrick Gudauskas, at the iconic Victorian surf break.

He won the season-opening event at the Gold Coast last month but now faces the prospect of losing the yellow jersey before they head to the next stop in Western Australia.

Still, the Peregian Beach natural footer is optimistic.

"When I got waves (during the event), I felt like I was surfing them well, so I'm not too disappointed," he said via a World Surf League press release.

"This is still a really great start to the year for me so I'm staying focused and will now look towards Margaret River and getting back a solid result."

Wilson was denied the chance to catch a decent wave in the dying moments of his clash with the Californian.

"That was a really slow heat without many opportunities," Wilson said after the 10.73 to 9.37 defeat.

The American locked on to the last nice wave, worth 6.23 points, with two minutes left on the clock.

"There was a lot of waiting going on in that heat," Gudauskas said.

"It was hard to pick what waves to take, so I definitely lucked into that good one at the end.

"This morning it was really pumping and I was trying to stay calm and prepare for my heat. I just stayed to my strategy and, thankfully, took the win.

"Although I've been on the CT before, I'm just going into this year with a full beginner's mentality."

A big crowd was at Bells, were Mick Fanning is in his last event as a full-time Championship Tour competitor.

He defeated Hawaii's Sebastian Zietz.