Owen Wright has been a title contender, which you would have thought would put him higher up this list. But he is one of the injury wildcards this year having had to sit out most of last season. So exactly how hard he comes back into this event is uncertain.
He is experienced on the Gold Coast, despite being a New South Wales native, and knows the waves well. However he is the only goofy foot in this list, so will have to do something that no one has done in nine years to break the regular footers strangle hold on this contest.
If he gets cleanly out of his first heat and straight into round three he has a legitimate chance of going a long way in this contest, and he’ll be hungry to prove his 3rd pace overall finish in 2011 was not a fluke. This is a big event for Owen, coming back form injury is never easy and the momentum gained here will set him up for a solid year.