Local surfers wipe out competition at Quiksilver and Roxy
BYRON Bay-based Matt Wilkinson won his first Championship Tour event at the Quiksilver Pro while former Lennox Head surfer Tyler Wright won the Roxy Pro for a second time on the Gold Coast.
In a week where Far North Coast surfers dominated, Lennox Head's Stu Kennedy reached the semi-finals before he was narrowly beaten by Kolohe Andino yesterday.
Wilkinson was able to dispatch current world champion Adriano de Souza and Filipe Toledo before before beating Andino in the final.
"I started this year with a win in the Qualifying Series and to win this event felt amazing. I did not expect this but I was hoping for it," Wilkinson said. "My heat against Adriano is the kind of heat where I usually lose. I just got the score right at the end and it gave me the fire to make me feel like the ocean was on my side.
"I was hoping to make it in the top five or ten this year, and I have been at the back end of the teens for the last few years, so this is a different start."
Earlier, it was an emotional win for Tyler with older brother Owen Wright watching from the beach.
He is currently on the injured list for the first half of the year with ongoing concussion issues.
"The last few months and everything that has happened, it has been such an experience and a crazy one," Tyler said.
"It brought so much clarity for me and simplified everything so I could come here and absolutely be my best on the day.
"It made me realise that I want to win a world title."
Meanwhile, Kennedy will go into the next event equal third on the rankings after a breakout performance which saw him beat 2014 world champion Gabriel Medina and surf legend Kelly Slater.
Kennedy and Lennox-Ballina Boardriders teammate Adam Melling are on tour as replacement surfers this year.
The Rip Curl Pro is at Bells Beach, Victoria, next week before the Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River in Western Australia next month.