Comeback Kid: 18-Year-Old Tyler Wright Wins the Roxy Pro Gold Coast
The clock was ticking down on the Final of the Roxy Pro on the Gold Coast and she was up against the reigning runner-up on the elite ASP Women’s World Championship Tour – and yet, Tyler Wright didn’t flinch. In fact, she sat out in the lineup singing, seemingly unfazed even though the very early ratings lead and $15,000 were on the line. A wave came, Wright put her powerful style of surfing to practice, and a 9.2 resulted – and with that score, the win.
“I don’t even know what to say right now,” said Wright, after being carried from the water to the podium. “I wasn’t even thinking out there. I was singing to myself and when I came in, my sister said ‘I was singing right along with you’. That little wave came in and hugged the bank and I just left it all on the wave. To get the score and the win like that, it’s incredible.”
The 18-year-old Aussie had a stunning final day of competition. In the first of her two heats on the final day of competition, Wright managed to eliminate the five-time women’s world champ, Stephanie Gilmore, in the semifinals.
In the final, Wright had Sally Fitzgibbons, the reigning No. 2 and one of the in-form surfers since the beginning of the event. The pair did not disappoint the packed beach audience. The two exchanged excellent scores on the long, reeling waves out at Snapper Rocks, keeping the heat close until mid-way when Fitzgibbons took solid command with a big back-up score. Wright sought a heat-changing score, but with the fickle waves on offer, had difficulty finding what she needed despite nearly 15 minutes of trying. With about a minute and a half to go, the wave Wright was seeking finally arrived. Three powerful slashes and a couple solid turns resulted in the 9.2 and the event win.
The WCT win was Wright’s first since winning the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach in December 2010. With the win, she takes the early ratings lead on the Tour, after having finished fourth overall in 2012. Despite sitting highest in the ratings, Wright isn’t yet letting her gaze get too far ahead.
“I’m not even thinking about the world title,” Wright said. “I had a rough season last year and I took a good break over the off-season, got a motorbike and just relaxed. To come back and get a win in the first event, it feels great and I’m just going to enjoy it.”
The next stop on the 2013 Women’s WCT is the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia from March 16 – 24, 2013.