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.
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.
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.
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."
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.