Wright out of the blue at Portugal
FAR North Coast surfers Matt Wilkinson and Owen Wright have fallen out of world title contention after early eliminations at the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal.
Both were still in the mix with two events left on the World Surf League calendar heading into Portugal.
Wright was fourth and Wilkinson fifth overall with defending champion John John Florence, Jordy Smith or Gabriel Medina likely to win the world title in December.
Wright was a surprise elimination in the second round while Wilkinson was knocked out in the third round
"That was definitely a tough one,” Wright said. I felt like conditions were really in my favour and I was really happy that we ran (the second round heat).
"I was in a good head space and surfing well but nothing really came in my zone towards the end there.
"I'm really bummed about the result and to be out of the title race but I'll brush it off and I feel like I'm well and truly caught up and got my health back. I've got mixed emotions about going back to Pipe though.”
Wright missed a year of competition after a concussion injury surfing at Hawaii in the lead-up to the Pipe Pro in 2015.
He made a successful return to the professional circuit this year by taking out his first event at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast.
He beat Wilkinson in the final and the pair have remained close friends throughout the season.
Wilkinson was unable to rep- licate the run he had last year but he was a consistent per- former and also won the Fiji Pro.
Meanwhile, former Lennox Head surfer Tyler Wright is second on the WSL rankings heading into the final women's event of the year in Hawaii next month.
She won the event last year and also took out her first world title.
Wright has been battling a knee injury and surfing in a protective brace but a solid showing could see her leapfrog Sally Fitzgibbons to claim a second world title.