For the third year in a row, an Australian hoisted the Breaka Burleigh Pro trophy when Owen Wright took down fellow countryman Adam Melling in the final on Sunday afternoon. With thousands of onlookers crowding the cobblestone right pointbreak, the competitors enjoyed smooth bowly chest to head high waves for much of the sunny final day.
Melling tore through round after round showcasing a frontside power attack consistently yielding scores in the nine-point range. At no point during his campaign did it seem as if he was in jeopardy of not winning his heat. His speedy fins free hacks and swooping wrap-arounds showed that despite the abundance of ramps on hand, a traditional power surfing approach is still well respected at Burleigh.
Wright's road to the final was a bit rockier, having been comboed and needing 15.5 points with seven minutes remaining in his quarterfinal matchup against Thomas Woods. While known for consistent and powerful surfing, Wright proved that he's most dangerous when backed into a corner. Throwing himself and caution to the wind, he managed a massive mute grab rotation earning the highest wave score of the contest, a 9.93, and with seconds remaining backed that up with a 5.83 to narrowly make it through to the semifinals.
The final was poised to be a showdown for the ages but deteriorating conditions prevented the performances from matching the heights of the early rounds. Wasting no time, Wright earned a 9.17 and totaled more than 15 points in the first few minutes of the heat, leaving Melling sitting out the back with priority, patiently waiting for a set that never came.
"It's an amazing feeling to start the year off this way," said Wright. "It's just part of what I want to do this year. I feel like I'm ready to break through."
Melling wasn't quite so satisfied with his result. "Pretty bummed on that," described a disappointed Melling. "Tide got low, swell backed off and started breaking on the outside."
Wright noted Melling's recent string of good results, "He's been lighting it up all event," and attributed his own success to a final heat to board change coupled with coming into the new year healthier than he's ever been before. Having not won a contest since the Quiksilver Pro New York in September 2011, Wrigth was excited to get things started off on the right foot.
Breaka Burleigh Pro Men's Final
Final: Owen Wright (Aus) 15.27, Adam Melling (Aus) 13.97
Breaka Burleigh Pro Men's Semifinals
Semi 1: Adam Melling (Aus) 18.43, Ricardo Christie (NZ) 12.40 Semi 2: Owen Wright (Aus) 15.33, Alejo Muniz (Bra) 14.50
Breaka Burleigh Pro Men's Quarterfinals
Quarter 1: Ricardo Christie (NZ) 16.17, Mitch Crews (Aus) 11.93 Quarter 2: Adam Melling (Aus) 18.87, Marco Fernandez (Bra) 12.16 Quarter 3: Owen Wright (Aus) 17.93, Thomas Woods (Aus) 15.50 Quarter 4: Alejo Muniz (Bra) 14.33, Brent Dorrington (Aus) 11.83