Wright back in the world title mix
FORMER Lennox Head surfer Owen Wright has jumped back into world title contention after his performance at the Tahiti Pro.
He reached the final in his best result of the season in a narrow loss against Brazilian surfer Gabriel Medina.
The performance takes him from outside the top 10 to within striking distance at sixth in the world rankings.
His younger brother Mikey Wright is now 11th, having dropped two places.
A late exchange in the dying minutes of the final saw Medina snatch the win with a critical tube, defeating Wright by 1.43 points.
It would have been Wright's first World Championship Tour win since the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast last year.
"It's a sting, but it's just nice to be back in the final,” Wright said.
"Right now, it's a hard loss to take a second, but it has been an incredible week.
"It all came down to those last two waves. I made the wrong decision and I'm already feeling that deep burn and drive.
"It's great being here with my family and having my brother Mikey stay with us for the event. He has been on a tear this season.”
Earlier, it was a late ride that locked in his quarter-final win over former world champion Joel Parkinson.
Parkinson is winding down on the tour having recently announced his retirement at the end of the year from professional surfing.
"I was stoked when the buzzer sounded, but the second it went off I looked over at Joel (Parkinson) and thought there's one of the greatest ever, and he won't be competing here again,” Wright said. "We're great mates so that was pretty special to share that heat with him.
"I feel like I'm coming into my prime and just getting everything sorted, but to see Joel stepping out it just makes you want to step in that much more.”
The next event will unpredictable with the artificial wave set-up at the Surf Ranch Pro in California.
Younger sister Tyler Wright is hopeful of returning to competition after missing the last two events with a bad case of the flu.
She will need big performances at the final three events as she aims to win the world title for a third straight year.