IN SECOND PLACE: Julian Wilson, pictured at Portugal.
IN SECOND PLACE: Julian Wilson, pictured at Portugal. Damien Poullenot

Season-ending tour event a special place for Wilson

He has yet to world title there but Pipeline once turned Julian Wilson's life around and he believes magic could happen again at the famous Hawaiian surf spot.

Four years ago at the Hawaiian break where the 2018 world title will be decided - most likely sometime later this week - Wilson was at the crossroads of his career.

He had just endured the worst year of his life with his dad Mick diagnosed with prostate cancer and his mum Nola breast cancer for second time.

Torn that he was away from them so much competing, his results reflected his inner turmoil and guilt.

When he paddled our for his first heat at the Pipe Masters he was in danger of falling off the world tour.

Instead, the Australian from the Sunshine Coast won the famed event, a result which pushed him out of oblivion, into the world top 10 and back onto the 2015 world tour.

"That was an incredible day coming off the back of a terrible year,'' Wilson said.

"It was when dad had prostate cancer and mum had breast cancer for the second time.

"I think at the time it made me question my priorities, doing what I was doing when I felt like there were more pressing things to worry about.

"I get a lot of strength from them, especially my mum going through cancer a second time.

"They still get their check-ups but all good so far.''

Four years on Wilson, now a father of one, is surrounded by family at Sunset Beach where the men's world champion will be determined.

"It's a very special place for me here,'' said Red Bull backed Wilson who needs a victory and for rankings leader Gabriel Medina to miss the final to claim his maiden world title.

The Pipeline Masters will mark the farewell events of Australian former world champion Joel Parkinson and American 11 time world champion Kelly Slater.