Julian’s mum Nola Wilson went into ‘flipping out’ mode
EARLY yesterday morning, still in pyjamas, Julian's mum Nola Wilson fielded constant calls about the incident.
She'd watched Julian's first wave in the final, the winner of which would move to the top of the world tour rankings. But disappointed that backwash had knocked her son from his board, cruelling an almost certain nine point-plus score, she'd turned off the television to calm her nerves and missed the unprecedented footage.
"The phone rang and it was Seb (one of her three sons) saying "mum, did you see that".
"I'm going 'Oh my God'. I was in flipping out mode, I knew what had happened but still hadn't seen it."
With husband Mick away on a surfing trip she rang another son, Bart, in California.
"He went 'mum, take a breath, it only got tangled in Mick's leg rope', Mrs Wilson said.
"Bart said he was going for a surf to see if there were any sharks out the front. I could have killed him."
In the end Jenny Hing, a close friend and mother of rising young surfer Kai Hing finished nightshift at the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital and drove to Nola's Coolum home to show her how to retrieve replays of the incident.
Mrs Wilson said sharks had never been a topic of conversation in the surfing family's house.
"They're part and parcel of the whole thing," she said. "Julian was at water level.
He saw the attack and was paddling like hell to reach Mick. A wave came up between them and Julian expected to come over it to see Mick gone. He was watching him swimming, expecting to see him pulled under water.
"The relief they must have felt being picked up by the boat. They've gone from hell to heaven in seconds. There will be a huge emotional impact."