STRAIGHT THROUGH: Owen Wright won his first round heat at the Quiksilver Pro.
STRAIGHT THROUGH: Owen Wright won his first round heat at the Quiksilver Pro. Ed Sloane

Surfers face Quiky Pro elimination round

FAR North Coast surfers Matt Wilkinson and Mikey Wright face sudden-death elimination in the second round of the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast today.

Defending champion and former Lennox Head surfer Owen Wright is already through to the third round after a decent win first up.

"Because this is the first heat of the year and the first heat of the day, you build it up in your head,” Owen Wright said.

"But sometimes you end up just grinding the heat out, as the waves were not there.

"I am feeling great. Last year, my health was on the rise and I am taking the confidence from last year into this season.

"A win is a win, and I am happy to move through.”

It would be an early exit for Byron Bay's Wilkinson if he could not get past the second round after reaching the final last year.

Mikey Wright earned a wildcard into the event and will have his hands full with current world champion John John Florence.

There is one less threat in the men's competition after 11-time world champion Kelly Slater was forced to pull out with a foot injury.

"My gut feeling has been to use this injury as a platform to overhaul and reset my mind and body,” Slater said.

"I feel I've had a couple of half-hearted attempts these past couple of years fighting injury and desire.

"The foot injury symbolises a lot at this point in my career both as an ending and as a beginning.”

Meanwhile, the women's competition is well under way with current world champion Tyler Wright eliminated in the quarter- finals yesterday.