With five minutes left of the Final of the 2015 Fiji Pro, Owen Wright had every reason to be happy. The Australian had his opponent Julian Wilson in a combination position with two high scoring rides.
The waves were pumping. After a series of lays-days, a new long-period swell had roared the event to life. Cloudbreak was eight-to-ten foot and as good as one of the best waves in the world gets. The powerful conditions were perfectly suited to the 6'3" Wright, who had already forged a reputation as one of the best tuberiders in the world.
That reputation had only been burnished by his Round 5 performance. Wright put on a masterclass against Adam Melling, posting a perfect 20-point total -- only the seventh time that had been done in the sport's history. In the subsequent defeats of Joel Parkinson and Jeremy Flores, he was averaging heat totals in the high 16 point range.
"I've done two trips to Tahiti already this year and I think that's where some of the barrel riding has come from," Wright said after his perfect heat. "I have to pay a big tribute to my boards - I've never felt better doing turns out there and I love the turns as much as I love the barrels."
Wright had come into Fiji as the World No. 6, but had failed to win a CT since his first victory in New York in 2011. By his own admission, he'd recently been caught up in the competitive zone and lost his instinctive approach to surfing heats. Apart from the two trips to Tahiti he'd spent a lot of the year chasing swells rather than fine tuning every aspect of his competitive act.
And with five minutes remaining in the Final, the strategy had clearly paid off. Yet this performance wasn't over. He stroked into a massive set, opened with a huge turn and finished with a trademark big barrel and was rewarded with a Perfect 10.
He just had enough time to motor back out, get a bit lucky with a big roll in, and a long, critical tube ride secured him another ten-pointer. In the space of two-and-a-half minutes, he'd become the first surfer to score two perfect heats in an event. In terms of icing a cake, few had done it better.
"Yesterday was a dream come true and today is even better," Wright said afterwards. "To finish with two 10's is really special. I was watching the ocean before the Final and I knew it would turn on. I knew I just had to be in that rhythm and the waves came and I took them."