As stunning as 2016 was for Matt Wilkinson, his ability to climb back into the Jeep Leader position this year, halfway through the season, is much more impressive. His come-from-behind win today over rookie upstart Connor O'Leary will have finished off any remaining doubters.
Back-to-back Finals in Fiji are no fluke. Leaving Fiji wearing the Jeep Leader jersey for the second consecutive year is no fluke either. What's undeniable is that Wilko's gaining momentum at the midway point of the season…that, and he's surfing a lot better this year.
"I think the difference has been his rail work," says Martin Potter. "He's always been good in the barrel, and his backhand is lethal, but this year he's really been focusing on the forehand turns, and it's really paying off." Indeed, Wilko's forehand flair is what got him over the hump in the Final.