Tyler Wright (AUS) has won the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro today, defeating Courtney Conlogue (USA) in pumping 6 to 8 foot (2 – 2.5 metre) waves at Main Break in Western Australia.
The third stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, saw firing conditions today with the world’s best surfers battling to secure a solid finish on the last stop of the Australian leg.
The Final match-up witnessed the ultimate throw-down between Wright and Conlogue. Wright unleashed a variety of maneuvers to lock in an 8.93 to take the lead ahead of Conlogue. Wright strengthened her score with a barrel for a 9.60 to put the defending event Champion in a combination situation halfway through the Final. Wright continued to put up solid numbers to back up her 18.53 two-wave combined score. Conlogue, who has won three Titles as this event, struggled to find the scores to combat the Australian. In the last forty-five seconds a set wave came out the back. Using priority, Conlogue needed a near-perfect 9.97, but was not able to complete the ride to earn the score.
“I knew Courtney was just dropping 9-point rides every heat, so I knew I had to be smart in selecting my waves and turns and not get over excited,” Wright said. “Every wave I had felt dreamy. This event was easy for me. No massive mental challenges, so I was really stoked on that and the happy headspace I’ve been in.”
“I feel like everyone sees me one of one right now, and other people see me as one of five, but really I am one of a thousand,” continued Wright.” I have so many people I need to thank for contributing to my success. At the end of the day it is about the love for what I do and my family. This is really for them as much as for me.”
Although Conlogue will end her run with a 2nd place finish, she will continue to wear the Jeep Leaders Jersey into the next event as she remains in the 1st place position on the rankings. Throughout the competition, Conlogue continued to demonstrate a strong and consistent performance, as this marks her third straight final in the 2016 Championship Tour.
“I think if I started the leg off knowing I would get these results, I would have been stoked,” Conlogue said. “Obviously I wanted the win, but I am really stoked for Tyler. She had a great performance in that heat. I was just trying to get myself back in the game at the end there and was stoked to get a second shot. I am stoked to head into Brazil with the Jeep Leaders Jersey.”
Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time WSL Champion and last year’s event runner-up, was not able to advance to the Finals against Wright. Moore blazed out the gates to secure the lead against Wright with a 14.77 through the halfway mark. Wright, needing a 7.27, answered with a 7.57 in the last two minutes of the heat. Moore found a wave out the back, but was not able to complete the ride to defeat Wright.
Semifinal 1 saw Conlogue defeat Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW). Conlogue fired with an 8.17 backed up by a massive 9.27 against the Hawaiian. Weston-Webb was put in a combination situation with a 12.17 two-wave combined score. Weston-Webb was not able to find the waves to challenge Conlogue and will exit the competition with a 3rd place finish.
Heat 4 of the Quarterfinals witnessed a superheat between Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time WSL Champion, and Wright. Wright threw down two 8-point rides to put Gilmore in a combination situation. Gilmore was not able to find the waves to combat Wright’s scores, and will end her run at Margaret River with a 5th place finish.
“Earlier this morning I broke my favorite board and corked my arm a bit, so I was probably paddling a bit slower than I had hoped, but no excuses, there are great waves out there,” Gilmore said. “I was always going to wait for the second waves of the set, but Tyler would take the first ones and they seemed to be better. She is just so strong. I went down a board to a 5’10” and that was probably a bad idea. I probably should have gone up to a bit bigger. I will still keep pushing and nothing is impossible yet, but we will see.”
Weston-Webb eliminated Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in the opening heat of the Quarterfinals. Fitzgibbons got off to a slow start, while Weston-Webb locked in a solid score. Weston-Webb continued to better her scores throughout the heat to put Fitzgibbons in a combination situation and eliminate her from the competition.
“I did not really anticipate that one to go that way,” Fitzgibbons said. “It just really ran away from me. I paddled out and felt good, especially after the momentum up until the Quarterfinals, but it just felt like there were a lot of waves in the ocean, but I wasn’t on the good ones. Tatiana picked those nice ones with the walls and ran away with those 7s.”
The Men’s Quarterfinals saw a close match-up between Italo Ferreira (BRA) andKolohe Andino (USA). Ferreira pulled out all the stops against Andino to secure a 17.96 two-wave combined score. Ferreira kept the pressure on Andino by forcing him into a combination situation. Andino was not able to turn in two new scores to get out of the combination. Ferreira also defeat CT heavyweight Gabriel Medina (BRA) in Heat 5 to make his way to the Semifinals.
Julian Wilson (AUS) dominated his heat against injury replacement Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) to end his upset streak at Margaret River. Wilson showed why he is a Title contender with his back-to-back high scoring rides, including a 9.50 and an 8.67. Fioravanti fought hard to regain the lead, but was stuck in a combination situation.
Joel Parkinson (AUS) charged through the opening heat of the Men’s Quarterfinals against Nat Young (USA). Parkinson kept his clean lines to secure solid scores, including a massive tube that earned him an 8.00. Young earned a 14.24 two-wave combined score, but fell only 1.59 points short of defeating Parkinson.
“There is a bit of buzz around the event right now because everyone thinks we might have a chance at the Box tomorrow,” Parkinson said. “Whatever it is we will get the waves tomorrow. Main Break was pumping today, but fingers crossed we will get to go to the Box.”
Matt Wilkinson (AUS), current Jeep Rankings Leader, was eliminated from the competition by Nat Young (USA). Wilkinson was too patient throughout the heat and allowed Young to garner a solid lead. Young will advance to the Quarterfinals, and Wilkinson will lose out in a CT event for the first time in 2016.
“It has been a hectic day,” said Young. “I surfed my first heat and broke my board before the heat ended. I surfed it with a huge buckle in the middle of it. I dry docked it on the rocks, and I hit my arm, my back and my foot got cut up. I hit the reef again out there, so it has been a hectic day. I get so into getting as much out of every wave that I just go for it no matter what. It is maybe worth it, but I should probably slow down a bit.”
“The Aussie leg has been unreal for me, but obviously this was pretty disappointing,” Wilkinson said. “I just had a really slow heat and fell on one critical wave, but I am stoked to be coming out of the Aussie leg with a bit of a lead. That was unexpected. I feel like everything has clicked and I am feeling good. Hopefully this 9th will be my worst result.”
Event organizers will convene tomorrow at 6:30am local time for a possible 7am start.
Highlights from the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com]]>