HONOLUA BAY, Maui, Hawaii/USA – Tyler Wright (AUS), the two-time WSL Champion who is mounting her comeback after almost two years off due to illness, exploded back onto the surf scene today with critical surfing in the Maui Pro presented by ROXY that included a Perfect 10 in the first Quarterfinal heat against fellow Australian and seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore. For Wright, the first 2021 Championship Tour (CT) stop at Honolua Bay offered up the perfect combination of speed and power to match the regular-footer’s style.

“The way it set up on the reef, I was like, ‘Oh, this is one of those ones that if you put yourself in the right spot it can work out really good,’” Wright said of the perfect ride. “There hadn’t been one of those all day. Once I saw it, I just went with the feeling, and then I celebrated a few times along the way.

Wright Debuts Progress Pride Flag on Her Jersey for Start of Season
Wright paddled out for her opening heat of the 2021 CT wearing an updated jersey showcasing both the Australian flag and the Progress Pride flag. The WSL proudly supports Wright in using her platform as a World Champion and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community to express a message of inclusivity.

“Today for me feels like another step in my realisation of my true and authentic self,” said Wright. “As a proud bisexual woman of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as an Australian, I’m delighted to be able to represent both this year on my competition jersey. The number change to 23 represents, to me, a new phase of my career and my growth as a human. The Progress Pride flag represents a love that opened my eyes more to who I really am.”

There was blazing action throughout the day as Honolua Bay offered up flawless five-to-eight foot (1.8 – 2.4 meter) surf. But, with wave selection a key factor in which surfer advanced, Caroline Marks (USA) fell to Sage Erickson (USA) as she could not find a fourth wave as time expired.

Meanwhile, Carissa Moore (HAW) and fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel (HAW), battled it out during Quarterfinal 3, with Manuel forcing the four-time and current WSL Champion to play defense throughout much of the heat. Earlier in the day during the elimination rounds, Moore took out another fellow Hawaiian, 15-year old Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW), who was the lone wildcard entry and was surfing in her first CT competition. Moore gave props to Sakura Johnson for her aggressive style and powerful surfing.

“I knew I couldn’t take her lightly,” said Moore. “She has a great crew behind her, especially with coach Ross Williams; he’s got the knowledge behind her. She’s confident and she attacks the wave.”

The WSL has worked with medical experts and state and county officials to help ensure the Maui Pro presented by ROXY is safe for athletes, staff, and the community. To help prevent large gatherings, the competition is being staged as a non-spectator film production. In addition, the WSL requires multiple COVID-19 tests for athletes and staff, daily temperature checks, physical distancing measures, minimal personnel on-site, and frequent disinfecting of common surfaces. These standards were developed using guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are in place for the entire film industry in Hawaii.

The next call for the Maui Pro presented by ROXY will be tomorrow, December 8 at 6:30 a.m. HST for a possible 7:05 a.m. start. The event will be broadcast live on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. The competition will be carried locally in Hawaii by the Spectrum Surf Channel.

Maui Pro pres. by ROXY Seeding Round 1 Results:
HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.00 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 8.23, Keely Andrew (AUS) 6.10
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.57 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 11.43, Isabella Nichols (AUS) 7.16
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.00 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 12.33, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 8.60
HEAT 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.00 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.24, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 5.80
HEAT 5: Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.36 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 8.50, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6.96
HEAT 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.83 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 9.04, Sage Erickson (USA) 7.90

Maui Pro pres. by ROXY Elimination Round 2 Results:
HEAT 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.07 DEF. Sage Erickson (USA) 14.00, Keely Andrew (AUS) 11.30
HEAT 2: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 14.93 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 12.50, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 12.00

Maui Pro pres. by ROXY Round of 16 Results:
HEAT 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.10 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 14.53
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.70
HEAT 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.90 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 11.36
HEAT 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.24 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.70
HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.00 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 11.83
HEAT 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.23 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.23
HEAT 7: Sage Erickson (USA) 12.67 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 11.10
HEAT 8: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 18.20 DEF. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 13.16

Maui Pro pres. by ROXY Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 18.33 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.40
HEAT 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.37 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.30
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.04 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.27
HEAT 4: Sage Erickson (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) UPCOMING

Maui Pro pres. by ROXY Semifinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
HEAT 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. TBD

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.