It’s been a year of cancellations and travel restrictions, and with the cancellation of the 2020 World Surf League championship, we didn’t think we would see surfers in the water at all this year.
However precisely twelve months since we last saw the worlds best in the water, the news has come in that we would be kicking off the 2021 season with the Maui Pro.
Tyler Wright Mounts her Comeback
Tyler Wright, the two-time Champion is mounting her full-time comeback after almost two years off due to illness. She’s exploded back onto the surf scene today with a perfect 10 in the first Quarterfinal heat against fellow Aussie and seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore.
“The way it set up on the reef, I was like, ‘Oh, this is one of those ones that if you put yourself in the right spot, it can work out really good,’” Wright said of the perfect ride. “There hadn’t been one of those all day. Once I saw it, I just went with the feeling, and then I celebrated a few times along the way.”
Today Wright also debuted a Progress Pride Flag on her Jersey for the start of the season, “Today for me feels like another step in my realisation of my true and authentic self,” said Wright. “As a proud bisexual woman of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as an Australian, I’m delighted to be able to represent both this year on my competition jersey. The number change to 23 represents, to me, a new phase of my career and my growth as a human. The Progress pride flag represents a love that opened my eyes more to who I really am.”
Blazing performances by Carissa Moore and Taylor Wright heading towards finals day
Honolua Bay offered up flawless and picturesque five to eight-foot waves for the opening day. However, wave selection certainly played a significant factor in which surfers advanced throughout the Maui Pro.
Caroline Marks fell to Sage Erickson in her heat after failing to find her fourth wave before time expired, Carissa Moore and Malia Manual battled it out during the Quarterfinal 3 with Manual forcing the four-time Champion to play defence throughout the majority of the heat.
“I knew I couldn’t take her lightly,” said Moore. “She has a great crew behind her, especially with coach Ross Williams; he’s got the knowledge behind her. She’s confident, and she attacks the wave.”
Tomorrow if the call is made to kick off finals day, we will see Sage Erickson and Tatiana Weston Webb battle it out for the final place in the Semi-Finals.
Then the stage is set for our first showdown of the year with Tyler Wright taking on Sally Fitzgibbons and Carissa Moore taking on the winner of the above heart.
Feature Image: Tyler Wright (AUS) scores the first Perfect 10 of the Championship Tour season at Maui Pro pres. by ROXY. Credit: © WSL / Saguibo