Wright stuff is boost for Le-Ba
YOU could hardly wipe the smile off the face of Lennox Head surfer Owen Wright when he competed for the Lennox-Ballina Boardriders Club yesterday.
Wright helped steer Le-Ba to victory in their first heat of the Jim Beam Surftag event at Lennox Head Beach.
Le-Ba posted the highest heat score of the day with an 84.21 and will go up against a Snapper Rocks team that includes world No.2 Joel Parkinson in the quarter-finals at 10am today.
"I used to compete here all the time in Gromfest and to have this here is the next best thing," Wright said.
"It brings back memories of the old days and I've had a great time competing here.
"It's a home event but there are heaps of World Tour guys here at the same time so it's pretty special."
The Le-Ba team comprised Wright, fellow World Tour competitor Adam Melling, Stuart Kennedy, Marcus Aboody and James Wood. Melling kicked things off and scored a 7.1 (out of a possible 10 points) on his opening wave to set the tone for what was to come.
Wright was then tagged in and wasted no time nailing a reverse air to register an 8.5 on his opening wave.
Aboody and Kennedy had time on their side and made use of the second wave which counts as double points.
"We've got a good team and I like our chances, we just have to fire up and bring it home," Wright said.
"I'm feeling it and I think everyone else is too."
Melling was another surfer excited to be competing at his home break.
"It's pretty awesome to be back sitting on the hill again and I haven't surfed in a competition here since I was 16," he said.
"I was pretty much on the road for six months last year and it's good to be home. I love surfing in Le-Ba and every time it's on I go down and surf with the groms and compete in club events."
Melling said he feels older and wiser as he prepares for another year on the professional tour.
"It's all about learning and this year I just need to take it a bit further," he said.
Wright is also keen for a bumper year after a dream run in 2011 where he finished third overall.
"I was only aiming for the top five last year and this time I want the number one spot," he said.
"I didn't expect to be contending for a title and I wasn't ready for the pressure, but I'm ready for it now."
Wright almost missed the opportunity to compete in the Surftag event after suffering dehydration following the launch of a new wetsuit a fortnight ago.
"I'm completely recovered from that, it just basically took a week out of my schedule," he said.
"I surfed for about four hours and didn't realise I was so dehydrated."
Byron Bay Boardriders Club were the unlucky story of the day finishing third in their heat and failing to advance by half-a-point.