Wright takes down Gilmore in surfing pro

Tyler Wright has won the Tweed Coast Pro with a dominant performance in the final against another former world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore.

TYLER WRIGHT of Australia celebrates after winning gold in the Girls Under 18 division final during the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships at Piha Beach in Auckland, New Zealand.
TYLER WRIGHT of Australia celebrates after winning gold in the Girls Under 18 division final during the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships at Piha Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Two-time world surfing champion Tyler Wright is making up for lost time with an emphatic win over Stephanie Gilmore in the final of the Tweed Coast Pro.

A battle with chronic fatigue syndrome sidelined Wright for 17 months before she made her return to the World Surf League at last year's season-ending Maui Pro in Hawaii.

Wright was expected to return to full-time competition on this year's tour before COVID-19 forced the championship to be abandoned.

In its place a three-event Australian Grand Slam of Surfing is the only chance the country's best will have to showcase their talent in 2020.

Wright spent the past six months surfing and training with Gilmore and the seven-time champion has helped her younger rival get into top shape.

The 26-year-old Wright, who eliminated Olympics-bound Sally Fitzgibbons in the quarter-finals, used her power and speed to make a statement in the final.

In a dominant performance, her throwaway score was better than Gilmore's best in the Monday final at Cabarita beach in far north NSW.

In the men's final local hope Ethan Ewing brushed off a nervous start to drop the event's highest score, a 9.77, as he toppled South Africa's Matthew McGillivray.

Ewing, 21, had a quarter-final victory over top seed and Tokyo-bound Owen Wright, who is the older brother of Tyler, and then took down Connor O'Leary in the final four.

"I made a few mistakes at the start but then I got one good one and was really happy," Ewing said.

"I'm just over the moon the way things fell into place."

Wright, who used her heat to make a Black Lives Matter protest, said she had loved her time training and competing in the final with Gilmore, who will represent Australia at next year's rescheduled Games.

"She's been one of my biggest idols for a long time and a good friend now," Wright said of Gilmore.

"Through COVID, Steph and all the girls have really been there.

"When it all shut down I was probably still in recovery from the last few years and Steph called me and said, 'I'm coming to pick you up' and we've been surfing every day, so it's been a really nice time to connect."

Wright's brothers, Owen and younger sibling Mikey, were both eliminated in Monday's quarter-finals.

The Grand Slam features three events at Gold Coast, Margaret River and Tweed Heads with 24 surfers across the men's and women's fields.