Mikey Wright, a wildcard for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and current No. 1 on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS), made history Tuesday at Snapper when he defeated 2x, reigning World Champ John John Florence.
It was the first elimination of a reigning men's World Champ in a season opener Round 2 for more than two decades, when Tom Curren, then-reigning Champ, didn't compete in the first half of the year. Wright's coup was also a considerable blow for Florence, who hasn't lost in Round 2 since the Hurley Pro at Trestles, in 2015.
Yet for the bemulleted Wright, who has achieved a kind of rock-star status in Australia, the giant-slaying was simply part of his game plan. "I felt like last year I had a similar heat against John, and I let him catch a wave at the end and gave it away," he said. "This year I wanted to really go out there and catch two good waves."
While Wright may have been characteristically low-key after his feat, he had a significant cheering squad on hand to cheer him on. His sister, 2x World Champ Tyler Wright and brother, men's CT surfer Owen Wright, were both in the athlete area, anxiously watching the battle. Plus, Wright had an important furry guest, too -- his dog Bacon, who somehow managed to score a VIP pass.
"I always have my dog around, he's pretty cruisy and follows me around wherever I go," Wright said, of his No. 1 fan. "It's pretty good to have him down here."
Wright won't have much time to sit back and enjoy his win. He'll surf next in elimination Round 3 later on Tuesday.