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Wilkinson out of world surfing title race

AAP logoAAP 20/10/2016

Australian Matt Wilkinson's bid for a maiden world surfing title is over after he was knocked out in the second round of the season's penultimate event in Portugal.

World No.3 Wilkinson was never in the hunt at Peniche against Frenchman Jeremy Flores, who earned nine points early in the heat for a long barrel, following it up with another big ride awarded eight.

Wilkinson struggled to a combined score of 10 - seven points behind his world No.34 opponent.

"That heat was very disappointing," Wilkinson said.

"But I've had a great year and it's been so much fun being in this position.

Wilkinson was an early title leader after winning the opening two world events on the Gold Coast and Bells Beach, but fell away later in the tour.

The 28-year-old has not been able to get past the third round in any of his last five World Surf League events.

"There's still one event remaining so hopefully I can put another massive result on the board and I'd love to do well at Pipe (Banzai Pipeline, Hawaii)," he said.

"I've had the best year of my career by far and I'm excited to keep it going the next few years and hopefully find myself a world title in the next few years."

Wilkinson has not finished inside the championship top 10, recording his best result last year when he was 18th.

Championship leader John John Florence of Hawaii kept his hopes of clinching the world title in Portugal on track by beating local hope Miguel Blanco in their second-round heat, while second-ranked Gabriel Medina of Brazil edged Australian Ryan Callinan to progress to the third round.

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