CULBURRA Beach's Tyler Wright, the two-time WSL champion who is mounting her comeback after almost two years off due to illness, exploded back onto the surf scene on Monday with critical surfing in the Maui Pro - that included a perfect 10 in the first quarter-final against fellow Australian and seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore.
For the former St Johns student, 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 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," Wright said.
"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."
Wright and her fellow South Coast product Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa) both easily progressed to the semi-finals, where they'll face-off when action resumes.
The former scored 10.00 and 8.33, for a combined 18.33 to send Gilmore packing in the quarter-finals, while Fitzgibbons' 14.37 was enough to see her past United States' Lake Peterson (11.30).
The pair will clash in semi-final one, while Hawaii's Caroline Marks will take on the winner of Sage Erickson and Tatiana Weston-Webb in the other.
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