Stab Magazine | Tyler Wright Untouchable At Flawless Margaret River
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Tyler Wright Untouchable At Flawless Margaret River

Tyler takes the women’s and Wilko finally loses on a classic day at Margs.

news // Apr 15, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Tyler Wright said as much before paddling out. “I’ll just drop 10s, it’s pretty simple,” she said of her formula for overcoming the form surfer of the event, ratings leader, Courtney Conlogue. And that’s what she did, more or less, laying down the highest heat total of the event in flawless Main Break conditions, to cruise to victory in the final.

“I just felt what was natural for me,” she said after victory. “I was feeling it, I wasn’t gonna argue with it.”

With both her brothers injured on the sidelines (Mike injuring his ankle freesurfing yesterday), Tyler was left to walk the competitor’s race alone with her boards. She told Stab after the win that Owen’s condition had continued to improve, relieving the stress that’s clouded her start to the year.

“You know what, it’s been interesting that’s for sure,” she said. “But you know they’re all gonna be fine, they’re all gonna be okay. Owen at the end of last year, it was a hectic couple of months, but he’s gonna make a full recovery and we’re so happy about that. And Mikey, I’m not sure what that kid’s done. I’m not surprised; He’s one of the craziest hellman I’ve ever met.”

The final, a repeat of the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast, pitted two contrasting forehand styles against each other. Courtney had looked unbeatable on the final day, the judges dealing big scores for her fluid rail game. Tyler’s brutal (and at times jagged) power game had looked less convincing, struggling for rhythm in comparison to her opponent. In the semis, Tyler had done just enough to pass Carissa Moore, the Hawaiian returning to shore in tears after slamming on the reef on her final wave after attempting a closeout hit.

The final was a no-contest. After waiting 15 minutes to open her account, Tyler seized on a wrapping right peak, opening with a fierce hook in the pocket, back onto the foam for a steep run down the hill into a slashing turn, and a closeout stab for a 9.07. She backed it up instantly under Courtney’s priority with a tube on the take off, a creative, drawn-out wrap, a stab, and a final closeout hit for a 9.6. She threw away an 8.27 on her way to a surprisingly lopsided win.

“It’s tricky,” she said. “You’ve gotta look over the edge of everything and you don’t discount anything until you’re 100 percent on it. I’m giving myself the opportunity to do what I wanna do. At the end of the day it’s brought down to simplicity and winning every heat that I go in and winning every final that I go in as well.”

Jules West quart Sloane

WSL/Ed Sloane

In the men’s, Matt Wilkinson’s unbeaten run was ended by Nat Young. Wilko’s spontaneous backside approach was a poor fit for the conditions. But Nat drew measured lines and hit the sweet spot with every swing on his way to the semis. There he met a super-charged Joel Parkinson, the veteran Australian’s silky carves and wave knowledge delivering him a classic tube and a convincing win.

“It reminded me of Nias or something,” said Parko of his highest scoring eight point ride, featuring a dreamy barrel on the take off. “It was beautiful.”

Julian Wilson then exploded in what was undoubtedly his best performance of the year. At one point the Sunny Coaster had dropped three eights, a nine and a seven in five successive waves. Jules stuck razor sharp gaffs to the bowl and powered off the bottom with pure technique.

“That was a brand new board I rode out there then,” he said. “I snapped my other good board the heat before and got on my back up which I thought was good and felt really bad in the water in the second half of (round five). I was just rolling the dice. That board felt good under my arm. It was a new board. My first wave was a five but I knew it was a good board and I just had fun from there.”

Day eight of the Margaret River Pro was a memorable one for Brazilian Italo Ferreira. The 2015 rookie of the year defeated Gabriel Medina in round five, before picking apart form Australian-leg surfer, Kolohe Andino, in the quarters with some of the most inventive and explosive backhand surfing the tour has ever seen seen. At one stage Italo managed five turns on a right, including three on the closeout section alone. On his 9.13 he ollied an exposed rock. With the event likely to get underway at The Box first thing in the morning, he’s faced with a daunting proposition; He has surfed the wave just once before, in a freesurf during last year’s event, though refuses to be intimidated.

“It’s so hard for the goofyfooters out there but, I dunno, I will try,” he said. “It’s a challenging wave.”

In the final heat of the day, Hawaiian style master Sebastian Zietz topped standout Brazilian rookie Caio Ibelli. The Brazilian had progressed to the quarters via an upset victory over Jordy Smith, somehow managing to drag his senior South African opponent into a strategic tangle in the dying stages to cause the boil over.

Italo West Quarts cest

WSL/Kelly Cestari

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