Wildcards are a regular feature at select Championship Tour events. Event sponsors take advantage of these precious slots to showcase their up-and-coming talent by giving them a crack at the world's best. But very few fit the "wild" portion of that wildcard designation in the way Mikey Wright does.
Wright is the younger brother of CT title contender, Owen, and current women's world champion, Tyler. He's got an ample supply of that rock ‘n roll rebel vibe. He's got tats, rocks a severe mullet, surfs on throwback front deck traction pads and launches wayward airs that normal humans shouldn't try. He's basically everything a wildcard should be.
And, yep, Mikey will be back competing as the wildcard at this year's Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
The thing is - front pad and mullets aside - Mikey is a phenomenal surfer. If you recall, as a wildcard in last year's Quik Pro, Mikey beat both 2015 world champion Adriano de Souza and event finalist, Kolohe Andino, in their Round One heat.
In Round Three, Mikey squared up against the defending champ once again, and he gave it hell --linking nose-pick reverses with wraps and man-hacks. He was controlling the heat until Adriano finally got a serious backup score in the dying minutes of the heat to win. While Wright was out by Round Three - the fate of many a CT wildcard - it wasn't without a truly impressive showing, not to mention beating the previous year's title holder.
"I always wanted to be better than Owen," Mikey told the WSL last year. "Owen looked up to our big brother Timmy and I looked up to Owen and Timmy. So did Tyler. Now I look up to Tyler, too. She's so focused, but at the same time she's having so much fun."
Although Mikey's coming off a lingering ankle injury that stole more than a few months of his last Qualifying Series (QS) campaign, the youngest Wright is looking nimble and more fit than ever. In fact, he just placed equal-5th at the Carve Pro last month and looks to advance into Round Four of the Australian Open of Surfing.
Tune in March 14th to watch the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.