Wright out of the water following 'shark' scare
A POTENTIAL shark sighting could not stop Owen Wright from taking a second-round win in the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria.
The former Lennox Head surfer was forced out of the water with a six-minute delay in his elimination heat win over Jack Freestone and Harrison Mann yesterday.
"Jack saw a big shadow and started pointing at it, then I saw the same thing,” Wright said after the race.
"I just bolted straight in thinking it wasn't worth the risk staying out there.
"The guys on jet skis got between us and the shadow and we jumped on with them.
"We got someone to have a look and it turned out to be a big clump of sea weed.
"Geez it was a big clump, though, and you definitely have to take the safety precautions.”
Wright has now survived the sudden-death elimination round at Bells Beach and the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast earlier this month.
He went on to reach the fourth round on the Gold Coast, having previously won the event in 2017.
The 29-year-old should be in the world title mix again this year after finishing sixth overall in 2017 and again in 2018.
"You don't want to end up in this (elimination) round but it does happen,” Wright said. "I actually don't mind; it's another heat and is almost like competing in a final with the elimination.
"It would suck to be one of the guys that misses out here, though, especially with the swell coming later this week.”
Meanwhile, his younger brother Mikey Wright sneaked through with a second place finish in his heat while Suffolk Park's Soli Bailey won his.
"It was all on the line there and to come out and surf the way I wanted is pleasing,” Bailey said.
"You try not to think about it too much but I'm super excited with the waves we're expected to get in the next few days.”