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Wilkinson aiming to stay alive in Portugal

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Australian Matt Wilkinson needs a high finish in Portugal and other results to go his way if he's to remain a chance of stealing the world surfing championship late in the season.

Wilkinson heads into the penultimate World Surf League event in Peniche as a title outsider, ranked third behind championship-leading Hawaiian John John Florence and Brazil's Gabriel Medina from Brazil.

He sits 9900 points behind Florence on the championship leaderboard, with 10,000 points awarded for each tour event winner.

Wilkinson, who takes on countryman Ryan Callinan and Brazil's Miguel Pupo in the first round, is one of nine surfers with a mathematical chance of winning the championship with two events left.

Wilkinson's title hopes suffered a blow when he was knocked out in the third round in the previous WSL event in France.

He needs a major form turnaround after failing to get past the third round of any of his previous four events.

As Stephanie Gilmore and Joel Parkinson did last in 2012, recently crowned Tyler Wright and Wilkinson could achieve the rare feat of both world titles being won by Australians in the same year.

Florence is the only surfer who can win the 2016 world championship when the competition window for the Portugal event begins on Tuesday.

He can claim the title if he wins the event and Medina fails to make the quarter-finals.

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