South Coast showdown looms in World Surf League tour

A SOUTH Coast showdown for the world title looms, after defending champion Tyler Wright reclaimed the lead with victory in Rio de Janeiro on Monday (AEST).

Wright now shares top spot with Steph Gilmore, but Gerroa’s Sally Fitzgibbons remains squarely in the frame for a maiden tour crown.

It has always been a part of my plan after the Australian leg to be in this position

Tyler Wright

Fitzgibbons, beaten by Wright in the semi-final in Brazil, is just 1500 rankings points behind with six events still to come.

But, after an intensive training block to work her backhand manoeuvres, Wright was not be denied, defeating Frances Johanne Defay in the final.

“It is sick to be sharing leader jersey with Steph [Gilmore],” said Wright.

“It is going to be a good year. It has always been a part of my plan after the Australian leg to be in this position.

Sally Fitzgibbons

Sally Fitzgibbons

“I am feeling really good. It is cool to be working on stuff over the last year and put it into action.”

Fitzgibbons signalled her intent to finally break through for a world championship, after winning at Margaret River last month.

The tour heads to Fiji, with the event window starting on May 28.

Tyler’s brother Owen, based at Thirroul, made it through to the quarter finals, with a call to be made on Tuesday night (AEST). 

Owen was handed a wildcard on to the tour, as he continues a remarkable comeback from head injuries which forced him off the tour last year.