Wright bows out in semis of Bells

Tyler Wright. Photo: WSL
Tyler Wright. Photo: WSL

CULBURRA Beach’s  reigning world champion Tyler Wright was knocked out in the semi-finals of the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach by eventual champion Courtney Conlogue.

After defeating Wright, Conlogue (US) went on to defeat Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in the decider, in four-to-six foot (1 - 2 metre) conditions.

The third stop of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, witnessed Conlogue ring the coveted Bell for the second time after her dominance throughout the final series today.

The Californian unleashed her aggressive power-surfing to take down a stacked field of competitors, including six-time WSL Champion Gilmore, reigning WSL champion Wright and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW).

“Winning it last year felt so good, but to back it up is amazing,” said Conlogue.

“I’m so speechless. The first two events of the Australian leg did not go that well for me, so I’m stoked to finish it off with a win - I have always loved coming to Bells.

“It’s an amazing arena with all of the fans down here. It’s a really tricky wave to master, so to have two wins here is really special.”

Tyler Wright. Photo: WSL

Tyler Wright. Photo: WSL

Conlogue came into the start of the 2017 season as World number two, but a ninth place finish at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and fifth place result at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro set her back to World number nine.

The Californian’s win moves her up to fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard to now put her World Title campaign back on track.

Conlogue blasted two near-perfect nine-point rides to knock out 2016 WSL Champion Wright in the semi-final.

Wright, with a 7.17 and 7.83, was not able to overcome the Californian and will be eliminated in equal third place.

Wright has made the final series at each of the events on the Australian leg, including a runner-up finish at Margaret River and fifth place on the Gold Coast.

This result sees Wright stay in third on the Jeep Leaderboard. 

“I am really happy with my performance on the Australian leg,” said Wright.

“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.

It has been really fun to move forward knowing I have more to give. I am really excited about it.

“Last year was definitely a first year, but this year I have a general idea of what needs to be done.

“It is quite fascinating to be seven years in and just doing this now.” 

Gerroa’s Sally Fitzgibbons, 2017 world title contender and two-time event winner, was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Lakey Peterson (US).

In a tight matchup, Peterson got the edge over Fitzgibbons by a narrow margin of 0.26 points.

Fitzgibbons was leading the Jeep Leaderboard coming into this event, but now moves to second with this result.