Australian Owen Wright kicked off 2009 with a bang, seizing three Pro Junior event wins in a row; the Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior, an Oakley Pro Junior, and the Billabong Pro Junior at Coffs Harbour.
That was only the beginning for the young Aussie though: having been awarded a wildcard into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event, he went on to play the role of giant killer for the event, slaying both Dane Reynolds and Kelly Slater on his backhand at Bells no less—no easy feat.
To top it off, he's currently sitting atop the Men's WQS ratings with 6,613 points, and has already raked in over $39,000US in prize money this year. We caught up with Owen while he's in frigid Scotland for the O'Neill Coldwater Classic to let him know that he's April's Now/Next Monster Energy Performer of the Month. –Ryan Brower
Weight: 165 lbs.
Hometown: Culburra Beach, NSW, Australia
Sponsors: Rip Curl, Dragon, FCS, Gorilla Grip, and Byrne surfboards
Favorite wave: The Lake (an a-frame beachy)
Thumping in your iPod at the moment: Grafton Primary
Favorite long flight activity: Sleeping, but it's so hard
TransWorld SURF: You've been on a complete tear this year winning three Pro Juniors in a row and then knocking out Dane and Kelly at Bells as a wildcard. What do you think has been fueling the big results?
Owen: I had a real bad start at the World Juniors, so I decided to turn it around and did some training, a lot of surfing, and just had heaps of fun with mates and family.
It seemed like you had Bells dialed there for a bit. Had you been working on your backhand going into the event particularly?
I just moved up to Lennox Head and I've been surfing rights a lot more, which I guess helped. I've surfed there a lot for Junior contests, too.
What were you thinking when you got slotted to face Slater in Round 2?
Shit… but then I just concentrated on what I was doing and got over it.
How was it out in the water against Kelly? Does he mess with your mind as much as everyone says?
Yeah, I know he does, he puts off a huge vibe out in the surf, which can be intimidating.
How have the last few months been with all the globetrotting, victories, and upsetting big guns?
It's been great. I've been traveling with my dad and Wilko [Matt Wilkinson]. I'm in Scotland at the moment and it's amazing, so cold though. I've had some hard fought wins on the Juniors, but can't seem to crack one in the WQS yet. I came close last week in Durban though and would love to go one better.
Congrats Owen, keep it up and we'll see you on the Dream Tour next year!