Two-time world champion Tyler Wright has made a stunning comeback to competitive surfing at the Maui Pro, eliminating title contender Lakey Peterson to reach the quarter-finals.
Australian Wright, who is back in action after a 17-month absence through illness, won 12.67 to 11.60 at the season-ending event to end American Peterson’s world championship hopes.
Wright was the second Australian into the final eight at Honolua Bay after Sally Fitzgibbons became the first to advance from the round of 16 when she defeated New Zealand’s Paige Hareb in a dominant performance.
The last time Wright competed in Hawaii’s Maui Pro was in 2017, when she claimed her second world title, but it has been a tough slog since then.
She was initially diagnosed with Influenza A when she fell ill and was hospitalised in South Africa before last year’s J-Bay Open in July.
However, complications continued to plague her and frustrate her efforts to get back on tour.
“It messed up my brain and my body,” Wright told worldsurfleague.com in the lead-up to the Maui Pro.
But on Sunday the 25-year-old took another huge step in her long recovery process which she hopes will allow her to contest the world championship tour again next year.