Julian Wilson thanks the birth of his first child for putting him within striking distance of a maiden world surfing title.
Julian Wilson estimates he's surfing about half as much as he was before the birth of his first child.
But he also says Olivia, born the week before the World Surf League opener on the Gold Coast in March, is the reason he is so close to a breakthrough world title.
The 29-year-old Australian sits second ahead of his title defence at Tahiti's Teahupo'o, and says he's never had a better chance to win it all since debuting on the World Championship Tour in 2011.
Wilson defied a shoulder injury to win on the Gold Coast and has since registered a third, second and fifth among six events to find a rare consistency while defending champion John John Florence and legend Kelly Slater have been sidelined by injury.
Brazilian Filipe Toledo leads the standings with 35,900 points, Wilson has 31,960 with five events remaining.
The Queenslander says the new addition to the family and his steady form is no coincidence.
"If I didn't go through the experience of seeing my child born I don't think I would've found the strength to pick up and compete on the Gold Coast," he said.
"It was a pretty powerful thing and I just sucked it up after that.
"There's real meaning in becoming a father."
Wilson has left Olivia and wife Ashley Osborne behind on tour so far, returning to Newcastle where Osbourne's parents live between events.
He hopes they will be able to join him on the European and Hawaiian legs as he chases an elusive world crown.
"It's nice to switch off and just be a dad ... I've probably done about half the surfing I usually would," he said of his visits home this season.
"It's been a really different year because my wife used to travel a lot, but I've had a really steady season and this is definitely my best opportunity (to win a world title)."
Wilson has always looked capable but says his experiences have slowly taught him what's needed to finish the season on top.
"You learn to leave your ego at the door .... sometimes you've got to pick the eyes out of waves and win ugly," he said.
"Not many people remember those wins, but that's what it's about."
A small swell, similar to what Wilson prevailed in last year, is forecast in Tahiti with competition scheduled from Saturday (AEST) but not likely to kick off until Sunday or Monday.