Early this morning as the first top-tier WSL competition in nearly 12 months, the Maui Pro presented by Roxy readied to kick off at Honolua Bay, Tyler Wright announced via Instagram that she has something new to surf for in 2021.

The image accompanying the post featured her new competition Jersey, emblazoned with not only the Australian flag but also the Progress Pride flag in a show of support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Today for me feels like another step in my realisation of my true and authentic self,” said Tyler of her decision to include the flag on her jersey.

“As a proud bisexual woman of the LGBTQ+ community as well as an Australian, I'm delighted to be able to represent both this year on my competition jersey. The number change to 23 represents, to me, a new phase of my career and my growth as a human. The Progress pride flag represents a love that opened my eyes more to who I really am.

“After a decade and two world titles, I've been evaluating what I do with my life and surfing career but more importantly, WHY I do it.

“I want to win. I will win so I can continue to use this platform as a place to have conversations about identity, humanity and inclusivity. I'm blessed to able to have a platform in the WSL, and I feel a responsibility to use it in a way to give voice and empower others. Hopefully, I can encourage others to embrace exactly who they are and to feel safe, expressing that in a way that is best for them.

“I'm looking forward to what I can accomplish this season and the conversations we can have as a community. I'm surfing with more intention than ever before.’

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tyler Wright (@tylerwright)

That intent served her well during the first day of competition at Honolua Bay, as she put on a dominant display of surfing that culminated in a 10-point-ride and an emphatic victory over Stephanie Gilmore during an epic quarter-final match-up.

After the heat Tyler revealed a secondary driver behind her elevated surfing during the quarter-final. At the start of the heat, Stephanie had challenged Tyler to treat the match-up as a rematch of last year’s final between the two, which Steph won.

An interesting piece of gamesmanship by the seven-time world champ, perhaps borrowed from the book of Kelly, but one that obviously backfired against a hungry Tyler.

The big question now is, who left in the field can stop Tyler’s roll?

The first to try will be Sally Fitzgibbons, who will face Tyler in the first semi-final. As always, Sally surfed with enthusiasm and spirit throughout day 1 but to get past Tyler, Sally will need to find a higher gear, one she’s been unable to find over the past few years.

The other contenders are Carissa Moore, who awaits the winner of the last quarter-final between Tatiana Weston Webb and Sage Erickson.

Action will likely resume tomorrow morning at Honolua bay, providing the waning swell hangs in enough to get it done.