As the World Surf League Championship Tour his the unofficial halfway point (there are 11 stops this year) as the guys head to Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa, let’s take a quick look at how we got here. An uneven first half for the Dragon surfers may seem less than ideal as we get ready to kick off stop six, they are very much in the title race.
Owen Wright—who made his triumphant return to competitive surfing after a devastating injury late in 2015—has exceeded everyone’s expectations and currently finds himself tied for 3rd place in the points standings. After a monumental and emotional win at Snapper Rocks to start the year, Owen has been consistently in the top 9, save for an uncharacteristically early exit in Fiji. The lanky goofy-footer looks to improve in J-Bay, as he sits within striking distance of Tour leader and good friend Matt Wilkinson.
Last year’s J-Bay champion, Mick Fanning, had a rough start to the year, but after making some adjustments and making the best of some down time, he has put together some strong performances. A solid performance from Fanning in South Africa would propel him into the top 10. He has his work cut out for him, but a strong second half wouldn’t be out of the question for the 3-time World Champion.
Adrian “Ace” Buchan sits in the middle of the points leaderboard (16th) after a string of disappointing finishes, yet the results are highlighted by a 2nd place finish in Brazil at the Oi Rio Pro. The Australian has years of experience and will likely lean on it as he looks to turn on the jets on the back nine.
The outlook for Dragon’s stable of surfers is a bit uneven, but with six events left and plenty of points available in a wide open title race, look for Owen, Mick and Ace to make a move. The Corona Open at J-Bay waiting period kicks off July 12th. Visit the World Surf League event site for streams, results and information.