Wright hungry for tour success

SURFING

When Mick Fanning claimed his third ASP World Tour title last year, few people were more inspired than Owen Wright.

After spending most of last season out of competition with a back injury, the former world No 3 was forced to watch as Fanning etched his name into Australia surfing folklore.

Wright scarcely needed more fuel to get himself motivated, yet Fanning's feat still managed to give the Thirroul-based star an extra boost.

"To see him do that last year, to win the world title at Pipeline, I can honestly say it did a lot for me and my motivation. It made me very hungry after that happened," Wright said.

"Mick Fanning has been the biggest inspiration to not only myself but my whole family.

"It was great to see, he is an inspiration for all young Aussie surfers."

Fanning will begin his title defence this weekend at the Quicksilver Pro on the Gold Coast and for the first time in 11 months, Wright will join him in competition.

With the disc injury caused by a fall at Bells Beach last April now fully healed, the 24-year-old is reinvigorated and ready to chase a title of his own.

"You can imagine my excitement levels. It is basically just trying to contain them now and prepare for the event," Wright said.

"It was 11 months off but it was also 11 months of rehabilitation and body investigations. For me starting off the year with my body pretty much the closest it has ever been to 100 per cent is one of the best things I could ask for.

"I know every guy on tour is definitely carrying the odd injury and I know guys compete all year with niggling injuries, so it is rare for someone to be at 100 per cent ... I reckon I am pretty close to it."

Known for his strong aerial attack, Wright's physical recovery has coincided with a mental improvement in the water.

"Being back out in the water you want to push yourself and do some massive airs. You do get a few pyschological things," he said.

"You need to have the confidence to go for those massive airs as well. I was happy to regain that back and throw myself into some big air sections around the South Coast.

"You really have to have the body to support that [big air] so I have put myself through my paces, I am prepared and hopefully we can let it happen from here and I'll see how I go."

High finishes through his career ensured Wright a wildcard position for this year's tour. The ASP handed him the 13th seed and he doesn't plan on wasting it.

"I always aim for a solid year, as a natural competitor I will be aiming for the top five and hopefully have one of my best years ever."

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