Wright's surfing world title bid on track
Photo Source: AAP
Australian surfer Tyler Wright has continued her charge to a world crown with a convincing first round victory in the World Surf League event in France.
The series leader, who could become world champion with a win in Hossegor, brushed aside South African Bianca Buitendag and Chelsea Tuach from Barbados.
Wright, 22, opened with an impressive score of 8.00 and then scored 5.33 with Buitendag unable to close the lead.
"Waves like this allow you a lot of freedom because there's not just one spot and one particular wave that you have to be looking for and I really enjoy that," said Wright, who is defending event champion.
Fellow Australian Nikki Van Dijk helped Wright's cause by taking down current world No.2 Courtney Conlogue.
The American will now have to battle through the elimination round two to block Wright's world title hopes.
Six-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore advanced directly with a tight win over Hawaiians Malia Manuel and Coco Ho, while fellow Australians Sally Fitzgibbons and Keely Andrew were opening round losers.
In the men's draw, current No.3 Australian Matt Wilkinson tripped on a tricky match-up with Miguel Pupo and Italian wildcard Leonardo Fioravanti with the Brazilian advancing.
Former event champion Adrian Buchan dominated his opening heat to relegate compatriot Stuart Kennedy and crowd favourite Frenchman Jeremy Flores.
Men's rankings leader, Hawaiian John John Florence, sealed his opening round win with a deep tube as the clock wound down, while No.2 and defending event champion Brazil's Gabriel Medina also went straight through to round three, as did reigning WSL champion Brazilian Adriano De Souza.