by Mitchell Craig
FORMER Lennox Head surfer Owen Wright has finished the Australian leg of the World Surf League season second on the leaderboard behind world champion John John Florence.
He was eliminated in the fifth round of the Rip Curl Pro yesterday when he came up against three-time world champion Mick Fanning.
Wright is back surfing after a year off and will now shift his focus to the Rio Pro in Brazil next month.
He had a fairytale comeback winning the first event of the season at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast before a fifth placed finish at Margaret River earlier this month.
He was consistent to the end with a combined wave total of 17.60 (out of a possible 20) however Fanning was able to get the win with an impressive 18.63.
"I have so many good memories from this place,” Wright said.
"I've been coming here for so long and had an affinity with it since I was a kid plus being a Rip Curl team rider, it just all makes it such a special spot for me.
"I'm stoked to be back in the water and not being overpowered by the ocean.”
Defending champion and Byron Bay resident Matt Wilkinson was knocked out in the third round while Lennox Head's Stu Kennedy lost in the second round.
Meanwhile, younger sister Tyler Wright will head to Brazil third on overall rankings in the women's competition.
She made the semi-finals of the Rip Curl Pro after reaching the final of the Margaret River Pro.
"I am really happy with my performance on the Australian leg,” Tyler Wright said.
"It has been really fascinating for me being able to use everything I've been working on this past year that I may not have had the opportunity to actually put into action.”