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Mikey Wright Finds Mind-Blowing Form in Ballito

While it might not have been a massive result on paper, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast was a great start to a competitive surfing year for Mikey Wright, as well as for the rest of the Wright family. Mikey was given a wildcard and he fought valiantly through the early rounds, putting Michel Bourez out of contention in Round Two before losing to John John Florence in Round Three.

Mikey Wright's Near-Perfect Full Rotation
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The youngest Wright lights up on a Ballito close out and pulls an incredible full rotation for a 9.87 and a ticket into Round Five.

Brother Owen Wright, on a comeback after a massive injury, went on to win the whole thing, and sister Tyler Wright advanced as far as the Quarters at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. So, total domination for family Wright.

Event wildcard Mikey Wright of Australia was eliminated from competition when he placed second to Jeep Rankings Leader and current World Champion John John Florence of Hawaii in Heat 6 of Round Three at Snapper Rocks, Australia. The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast was a great little opener for Mikey Wright. He didn't dominate, but he got a few heats and absorbed the experience of competing at the Championship Tour level. WSL / Ed Sloane

Today at the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong, Mikey kicked in again with a sterling performance that sent him through to the Quarterfinals, a great result and already a counter in a 10,000 Qualifying Series (QS) event.

The waves were solid, powerful and chunky. The only way to get good scores was to match that power with power. Up against Michael Rodiques from Brazil and the USA's Parker Coffin in Round Four, Wright took to the skies. With a huge, forehand air-reverse into the puffing northeasterly wind, he banked a 9.87, the biggest score of the event so far. He backed it up with another solid wave and a combination of moves including another air for a score of 8.93 -- putting down 18.80 for the heat victory.

Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. With bigger waves on tap all day, air moves became high risk. Mikey Wright threw caution to the wind, literally, and nailed some of the biggest and smartest-looking airs of the day. WSL / Kelly Cestari Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Not content with just blowing minds with his ridiculous air game, Mikey proceeded to find one of the biggest and cleanest barrels of the day to add to his credentials and scores. WSL / Kelly Cestari

With high-scoring waves still pouring through all morning, Deputy Commissioner Travis Logie had no hesitation in sending out the Round Five contestants, even though the wind was consistently picking up. Up against Yago Dora, Mikey turned on again, while Dora fizzled. After a scintillating backhand performance all week, it was like Wright had put a slowness spell on him. He seemed sluggish, and he just couldn't find the right waves in the tricky conditions and bowed out of contention.

Mikey was obviously pleased to advance, especially with such a strong performance, but our mullet-adorned hero was a lot more taciturn than his hairstyle. "I'm pretty stoked on getting this far," said Wright. "The waves are actually fun out there, and Yago is such a good surfer, so I'm stoked to get through that one."

Mikey Wright of Australia advances to Round Five of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Heat 6 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. No ramp sections to be found, so Mikey decided to show the world, and the assembled judges, just what his rail game was all about. Turns out everyone liked it. WSL / Kelly Cestari

In his Round Four heat, Wright got all his big scores from airs, but in Round Five he dished out carves and rail turns. "Well, I was doing turns simply because I didn't get anyway waves with air sections out there," said Wright. "The waves that I found were good for turns, so I just hit it."

At 21, Wright obviously comes from good surfing stock, and as previously mentioned, brother Owen and sister Tyler, are already well-established as surf stars and, in Tyler's case, a World Champion. Mikey has made it clear that he is chasing a spot on the Championship Tour (CT) in earnest this year, and this event could be the one that jumps him into real contention to join his brother on the premier Tour.

Wright will come up against fellow Australian naturalfooter Wade Carmichael, another surfer who utilized a forceful approach to win his Round Five heat against the talented Brazilian Michael Rodrigues. The outcome of this Quarterfinal will be based on power surfing.

Stay tuned.

Wade Carmichael of Australia advances to Round Four of The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing second in Heat 9 of Round Three at Wilard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Wade Carmichael put on a powerful yet controlled performance out there in the tricky and at times thunderous conditions. All eyes will be on him tomorrow as he faces off with a rampant Wright. WSL / Kelly Cestari
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