Owen Wright won the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2017 held at Snapper Rocks in Queensland, Australia. The finals came down to a match-up between two friends and fellow Australians, Matt Wilkinson and Owen Wright. Matt Wilkinson was last year’s Quiksilver Pro winner.
In the opening minutes of the final heat, there was an exchange of low scores between the two goofy footers. Wilkinson caught the first good scoring wave, a 6.60 off a combination of well executed carves and vertical maneuvers.
Wright responded with some backside carves, and a series of maneuvers to get credit for a 6.33, a little short of the required 6.48 to snatch the lead. Owen tried paddling into another wave but had to kick out to give way to Wilkinson who had priority. Wilkinson further increased his lead by maneuvering into a 6.90.
But Owen took off on the next wave and maneuvered into a combination of nice vertical turns executed in an excellent fashion. Owen was rewarded an 8.33 and gained the lead from Wilkinson.
With less than two minutes left in the heat, Wilkinson had to hustle for a 7.77 wave to regain the lead. He took off and looked like he got it going on the first turn but had a little nosedive on the next. He earned a 2.53 for that wave.
With only 20 seconds left in the heat, Wilkinson paddled hard to get into position for another wave but time ran out and Owen Wright claimed the title for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2017.
Replay of the Final Heat Between Matt Wilkinson and Owen Wright:
Fans have been following Wright’s progress from the time he got injured in December 2015 to the time it was announced that he was awarded a wildcard slot for the world tour.
Winning his very first Championship Tour event after his injury meant a lot to Owen. It is not your average comeback story. A year ago, while Owen watched his sister Tyler win the Roxy Pro, he was unable to compete at the 2016 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and was literally unsure if he will ever be able to surf again.
Owen was on track being a World Title contender at the final stop of the 2015 Championship Tour but the unexpected injury, a concussion, has derailed him. Owen had to relearn how to surf at one point during his recovery. He hit rock bottom.
But in the 2017 Quiksilver Pro he was on top of his game. He beat World Champions on his way to the finals including three-time world champion Mick Fanning, and Gabriel Medina. Owen has turned from an injury wildcard into the current World No. 1
Replay of the Semifinal Heat Between Owen Wright and Gabriel Medina:
Matt Wilkinson on the other hand is on track to his World Title campaign. Now sitting at World No. 2, he is positioned to do a repeat of his outstanding performance in the first half of last year. Wilkinson beat 2016 World Champ John John Florence in this event’s semis and his performance indicates signs of a consistent World Title contender.
John John Florence and Gabriel Medina finished in equal third place. Florence showed excellently paced surfing throughout the event. He has proved to be a lethal threat and is poised to chase a second World Title this year.
Medina practically had no mistakes throughout the event up until he lost in the Semis against Owen Wright. With a possible knee injury, it will be interesting if it becomes an issue for him in the next tour stop. But his performance in this event gives out signs that he is determined to compete for the World Title this year.
The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2017 will kick off in less than two weeks. The competition is expected to be tougher with an excellent lineup of World Title contenders ready to compete.
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