Going into the 2016 Maui Women's Pro you may have thought that Tyler Wright didn't have a whole lot to fight for. The Australian had claimed her maiden World Title the month previously in France, when a Final placing and nearest rival Courtney Conlogue's early exit, meant her points lead was unassailable going into the last event in Hawaii.
Breaking the Stephanie Gilmore/Carissa Moore axis that had claimed every World Title since 2007 had also taken an emotional and physical toll on Wright. 2016 was the year her brother Owen was dealing with the head trauma suffered in an accident at Pipe. She had also lost an uncle the year before and dedicated the win to his memory.
Wright had undergone 12 months of intense physical training, coaching and sports psychology to achieve her goal. It was this total commitment that led her to claim an incredible four event wins that year and the World Title. Then came the celebrations, emotional release and media scrutiny as she returned to Australia as champion.
You can understand then why she may have not entered the Maui Pro without her customary steely focus. Of course that would also to be misunderstand Wright herself. A competitive machine Wright had always found it hard to dial it down when wearing a singlet.
It was perhaps no surprise then that it was Moore and Wright that would meet in the Final. The rivals had been posting the highest heat totals of the event and it was almost inevitable the two best surfers of that time would duel it out.
There was also still plenty on the line as they jumped off the rocks at the iconic, all be it currently small and inconsistent, Honolua Bay. Moore had the chance to claim a historic Maui three-peat, while Wright could ice her 2016 cake with a historic fifth CT wins of the year.
In a slow Final, each surfer only caught three waves, it was eventually Wright who came from behind to take the victory. It capped an incredible year of success, and importantly set a platform for her successful defence of the title in 2017.