Wright back in the mix at Billabong Pro
FORMER Lennox Head surfer Owen Wright has returned to form at the Billabong Pro in Tahiti.
Two nine point rides gave him a decisive win over Hawaiian Dusty Payne in the third round.
Wright became the first surfer to score two perfect heats in a single event when he won the Fiji Pro in June.
However, he was a surprise elimination in the early rounds of the J-Bay Open in South Africa last month.
Wright dropped out of the top three to fifth in the World Championship Tour ratings but a strong showing here could see him back up there.
He finished his third round heat in Tahiti with a score of 18.23 (out of a possible 20) while Payne was forced to settle for a 15.70.
"The heats I've had against Dusty have all been tough," Wright said. "I feel for him but I'm stoked to get through the early rounds.
"I've definitely learnt a lot. I've put one competition together this year and I'd love to do that again. I'm working on my consistency and hopefully that takes me where I want to go, to the top."
Wright has had mixed results at Tahiti in the past.
He believes watching surfing legend Kelly Slater and John John Florence helped improve his performance.
"Last year in that size (waves) I was probably a bit manic and I noticed Kelly and John John were picking the eyes out of it," Wright said.
"I think that comes with experience, so I wanted to spend more time (in the water) here."
His younger sister Tyler Wright will surf in the Swatch Women's Pro in California next month.
Meanwhile, Lennox Head surfer Adam Melling was eliminated in the second round of the Billabong Pro.
He has won six of his heats this year and is currently 23rd in the rankings.
The men have World Championship Tour events in America, France and Portugal before the Billabong Pipe Masters in December.