Suffolk Park’s Matt Wilkinson and Lennox Head’s Tyler Wright have won the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro respectively on the Gold Coast, putting both in high contention for the World Surfing League titles.
Wilkinson and Wright are now both on top of the rankings, with 10,000 points each.
All eyes will now turn to Bells Beach where there is still a question mark over whether Tweed’s Mick Fanning will choose to defend his title there.
On her way to the top of the podium of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, Tyler Wright faced two world champs – Stephanie Gilmore and reigning world champion Carissa Moore – and confronted last year’s runner-up to the title, Courtney Conlogue, in the final. Through it all, a new Tyler emerged, confident, poised and dangerous to her opponents.
In the final she met up with Courtney. Similar to her start with Carissa, Tyler started by merely keeping pace – matching the midrange scores her opponent tacked on early. But from there she grew, competing more against herself than against Courtney and ultimately it paid off.
After his recent victory at the QS 6,000 at Merewether Beach in February, Matt Wilkinson arrived at the Gold Coast hoping to carry his momentum into the first event of the 2016 Championship Tour. And carry it he did, winning every heat all the way through to the first CT win of his career, thanks to his ferocious backhand attack.
After spending a couple of seasons touted as the tour’s ‘class clown’ and dangerously near the requalification cutoff line, the Aussie hired friend and former CT competitor Glenn Hall as a coach and the move appears to be paying dividends.
The goofyfooter went on to take down Taj Burrow, another former event winner, in round 3 and reigning world champ Adriano de Souza in round 4, and again the quarterfinals, then overtaking Filipe Toledo, the highest flyer of the event, to land himself into the final, where took the win over an in-form Kolohe Andino.