GREEN LIGHT: Owen Wright in action during the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro at Snapper Rocks. If fit, Wright will return to the top tour in 2017 after being given a wildcard.
GREEN LIGHT: Owen Wright in action during the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro at Snapper Rocks. If fit, Wright will return to the top tour in 2017 after being given a wildcard. Kelly Cestari

Wright back on professional tour in 2017

FORMER Lennox Head surfer Owen Wright has earned a wildcard entry back on to the professional tour next year after he missed all of 2016.

Wright has been out of competition for more than 12 months after he suffered a concussion injury before the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii last year.

Despite the wildcard entry, Wright is still no certainty to return to competition at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast in March.

He will have to be medically cleared before the start of the season and if he is unable to accept the wildcard it will be allocated to Brazilian surfer Alejo Muniz.

Another Lennox Head surfer, Adam Melling, has failed to re-qualify after seven years on the World Championship Tour.

Melling missed out by one spot after finishing the season in 33rd place.

The top 22 surfers re-qualify, while the top 10 from the World Qualifying Series earn a call-up with another two wildcards.

Bede Durbidge got the other wildcard while another four injury replacements were named as back- up, which Melling did not make.

Lennox Head surfer Stu Kennedy came on to the tour this year as an injury replacement and was able to compete for the full season.

His best performance was a semi-final appearance at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast where he took down eventual world champion John John Florence in the quarter-finals.

Kennedy finished the season in 19th position and should be primed for another big year in 2017.

Elsewhere, Byron Bay resident Matt Wilkinson had his best year with an overall fifth-placed finish.

Wilkinson came out of the blocks firing at the start of the year with back-to back wins on the Gold Coast and the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Victoria.

He went on to finish runner-up in the Fiji Pro before some early exits later in the season.

Despite finishing fifth on the rankings, he walked away as the second biggest money earner on the tour behind Florence.

Florence earned $406,000 while Wilkinson has accumulated $331,750 in prizemoney.

WOMEN

2016 CT Top 10 finishers:

1 Tyler Wright (AUS)

2 Courtney Conlogue (USA)

3 Carissa Moore (HAW)

4 Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)

5 Johanne Defay (FRA)

6 Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

7 Malia Manuel (HAW)

8 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

9 Sage Erickson (USA)

10 Laura Enever (AUS)

2016 QS Top 6 finishers:

Silvana Lima (BRA)

Bronte Macaulay (AUS)

Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

Keely Andrew (AUS)

Coco Ho (HAW)

Pauline Ado (FRA)

Replacements:

Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)

Alessa Quizon (HAW)

Chelsea Tuach (BRB)

Isabella Nichols (AUS)

MEN

2016 CT Top 22 finishers:

1 John John Florence (HAW)

2 Jordy Smith (ZAF)

3 Gabriel Medina (BRA)

4 Kolohe Andino (USA)

5 Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

6 Michel Bourez (PYF)

7 Kelly Slater (USA)

8 Julian Wilson (AUS)

9 Joel Parkinson (AUS)

10 Filipe Toledo (BRA)

11 Adriano de Souza (BRA)

12 Sebastian Zietz (HAW)

13 Josh Kerr (AUS)

14 Adrian Buchan (AUS)

15 Italo Ferreira (BRA)

16 Caio Ibelli (BRA)

17 Mick Fanning (AUS)

18 Conner Coffin (USA)

19 Stuart Kennedy (AUS)

20 Kanoa Igarashi (USA)

21 Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)

22 Miguel Pupo (BRA)

Wildcards:

Bede Durbidge (AUS)

Owen Wright (AUS)

2016 QS Top 10 finishers:

Connor O'Leary (AUS)

Ethan Ewing (AUS)

Frederico Morais (PRT)

Joan Duru (FRA)

Leonardo Fioravanti (ITL)

Jeremy Flores (FRA)

Jadson Andre (BRA)

Ian Gouveia (BRA)

Jack Freestone (AUS)

Ezekiel Lau (HAW)



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