COOLUM surfing star Julian Wilson is in a form rut that threatens to derail his season.
That was former world No.5 Robbie Sherwell's grim assessment following Wilson's third consecutive third-round loss in a World Tour Championship event.
After losing to American outsider Kolohe Andino in "perfect" 2-2.5m barrels at the Volcom Fiji Pro yesterday, the world No.12 is set to slide further down the rankings.
Another Coast surfer, in-form wildcard Mitch Coleborn, fell to America's 11-time world champion, Kelly Slater, in the third round yesterday.
Coast-based Sherwell has watched Wilson's career develop from childhood and says the 24-year-old is going backwards.
He believed Wilson, who captured his maiden WTC event last season and finished the season ranked No.9 for the second straight year, might have erred in declaring he wanted to be world champion in 2013.
"Maybe I think he's putting too much pressure on himself this year, because his surfing isn't up to what it was last year," he said.
"And we know that he's got it in him, but there's definitely something that's not falling into place for him at the moment.
"I honestly believe he should be sitting in the top five in the world, and I don't doubt he'll end up there.
"Whether or not he becomes world champion, who knows?"
Wilson could managed a score of only 6.00 out of a possible 20 at the famed Cloudbreak yesterday, with world No.26 Andino posting 9.00.
Australian two-time world champion Mick Fanning beat Andino in round five.
Coleborn, the winner of a Prime event in Brazil leading into this contest, lost 13.87 to 11.03 to Slater.
The 26-year-old caused one of the biggest boilovers last year when he stunned Slater in the first round of this event, but the US great rebounded to win the title.
Slater is due to meet exciting Hawaiian rookie Sebastian Zietz in the quarter-finals this morning.
The Gold Coast's reigning world champion, Joel Parkinson, is slated to clash with great mate Fanning.
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