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Wilkinson, Wilson first-up winners at Pipe

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016 Warren Barnsley

Top-ranked Australian Matt Wilkinson and former winner Julian Wilson have made strong starts to the season-ending Pipe Masters in Hawaii.

The Australian pair cleared the first hurdle in 1-1.5m swell at Oahu's Banzai Pipeline on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT), joining world champion John John Florence in the third round of his home World Surf League event.

The 2015 champion Wilson left it late in his opening round heat, scoring 8.50 on his second-last wave to beat fellow Australian Ryan Callinan and Brazil's Wiggolly Dantas.

Wilkinson, chasing his third 2016 world tour victory after wins on the Gold Coast and Bells Beach, also left it to the last two waves of his first round heat.

The world No.4, who has never won the event, produced a 6.27 and 7.07 rides to pip Portugal's Frederico Morais for automatic third round qualification.

"I knew I only needed pretty average scores to get through," Wilkinson said.

"That last exchange, I had priority and I let the guys go the first two because they (waves) didn't look too great.

"That one I got was just a bit cleaner - the waves in front cleaned it up a bit.

"I knew I had to finish it off and I was wobbling in the whitewash but I came out of it."

Wilkinson has carried a rib injury into the event but is looking for a strong finish to the year after falling away in the championship race.

"Every time I move I kind of lose my breath and feel like I've been stabbed," he said.

"But when you're on a wave that all goes away and all you want to do is get a score.

"I'm here for one reason and being in pain for 30 minutes every couple of days is going to be OK. I'll deal with it."

Hawaiian Florence, who claimed the world championship by taking out the Portugal Pro at Peniche in October, blitzed his heat with rides of 8.83 and 7.83 on Wednesday.

Australian world No.8 Joel Parkinson lost his first round heat to France's Jeremy Flores and countryman Stuart Kennedy.

The 2012 Pipe Masters winner Parkinson has been forced into a second round battle against local wildcard youngster Finn McGill.

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