Owen Wright needs a pilot’s license

Owen Wright fought hard to win his latest title at the Quiksilver Pro New York 2011. He was on a high after his second against Kelly Slater in Tahiti at Teahupo’o and it looks like he’s not planning on coming down from that high any time soon. You see, Owen has gotten his pilot’s license in being an aerial specialist and this event will go down in the books for being a showcase of just that. See the video below for some ridiculous air time.

It’s not just Wright who claimed outrageous aerials, Kelly Slater gave it horns right up to the final heat, but looked out of sorts with the kind of competition that Owen was throwing his way right from the start of the heat. To top it all off Kelly snapped his board on a lip with two minutes to go and didn’t bother paddling out again as the writing was on a long wall, being carved up by Owen Wright right in front of him. He’s not too bummed though, as he earned just as much as the US Open of Surf at Huntington Beach with a nice $100k cheque in his pocket. Owen earned the biggest cheque in surfing history, a whopping $300k for winning the event.

Kelly’s semifinal heat against Taj Burrow was an excellent contest. Both of them were scoring in the 9’s and Kelly wrapped it up with a perfect 10 for a stupendous air (around 2:30 in the vid above). This heat just went to show that it’s never over until that buzzer goes, especially against Kelly. He’s on a strong path towards an 11th world title, scoring 8,000 points for his second place against Owen’s 10,000 points, but Owen is not far behind at all, with Joel and Jordy trailing not far in their wakes. These guys starting looking like choppers with all their front and back side reverse airs. Best move of the contest was Josh Kerr’s body varial (is that what it’s called?) Watch closely below:

The current top 10 ASP World Rankings:

1. Kelly Slater: 34950
2. Owen Wright: 31900
3. Joel Parkinson: 30200
4. Jordy Smith: 27000
5. Adriano de Sousa: 26750
6. Josh Kerr: 25600
7. Taj Burrow: 25250
8. Mick Fanning: 23000
9. Michel Bourez: 20500
10. Jeremy Florez: 19700

This year seems to be wide open and it’s making for some spectacular viewing pleasure. Long Beach, New York really did bring the goods, and there were crowds aplenty. It was great to see such a good turnout, and also how well the surfers were being looked after by the sponsors (Quiksilver’s competitors area was amazing to see and apparently modelled by the guys who does locker rooms for the NFL!)

Stoked. That’s it!