Interview by Garrett James
I caught up with 19-year-old Mikey Wright in the midst of the chaos that was the Quik Pro Gold Coast. It was the event that saw his first ‘CT appearance, and it was one that didn’t go unnoticed. Be it his high-and-tight mullet, electric power carves, or his rather comfortable approach while donning a singlet, Wright was one to have your eyes on during the competition. As he set aside some time to chat, we spoke about all things power surfing, ‘CT qualification, inspiration, and yes, his mullet.
You had a breakout year in Hawaii. What was your plan going into the North Shore season?
I just went over there to get good waves. It’s always good in Hawaii that time of year, and it’s the place where you want to make your mark in the bigger stuff. When I was there, it wasn’t necessarily that big, so I ended up surfing Rockies quite a bit – surfing hard and frothing on doing grab-rail hacks. The lefts at Rockies offer up the opportunity for big ramps, so I was enjoying hitting those as well. My goal was to gather enough footage to make a clip, which turned into Rage.
Is power surfing your go-to?
I like to mix it up. I’ll go for a surf where I’ll focus on doing big power turns, or grab-rail hacks, but if there’s an air section, I’m not going to avoid it. If it’s clean and offshore with perfect walls, I’m definitely trying to focus on putting down some big hacks. If the winds turn up a little, it’s harder to focus on those kind of maneuvers, so I’ll take it to the air. I just have fun power-surfing. I like going really fast and aggressively hitting the waves.
Was the aggressiveness something you’ve worked on over the years?
Well, I grew up a bit when I stopped doing contests. I knew I would eventually come back to doing them, but I wanted to get those big turns down before returning to the singlet. My goal is to be able to lay down those hacks in heats. The thing about the Tour is that you get to surf good, solid waves rather than small beachies all the time, and that’s where I want to take the aggressive aspect of my surfing.
You’re surfing your first ‘CT event as a Wildcard. What are your thoughts on pursuing the Tour?
I’ve wanted to make the Tour ever since I was young. I just needed to decide when that was going to be, so that’s what I’m doing now. I’m going to give the Tour a good crack, and if I don’t make it this year, I’ll be going hard next year, or however long it takes until I get on there. I was always planning to come back and do contests, but people kind of took what I said the wrong way when I was taking a break. I was always going to come back. I just didn’t want to at that time.
What’s on your list for the rest of 2016?
I’ll be doing all the Primes, a lot of the 6-stars, and I’ll be picking events at cool locations where I can focus on making a clip, too. That’s how I’m going to balance competition and freesurfing. When you’re at these contests, you can still work on making clips, surrounding the contest. A ramp isn’t going to disappear because a contest is going on around the way.
Who do you look up to for inspiration in surfing?
When I was younger, I always looked up to Dane Reynolds. I’ve always tried to take a page out of the book of everyone, but at the same time do something entirely different, and make my own style by surfing hard and aggressively. Dane is always good to watch for the way that he really attacks sections.
What gets you excited to go surf?
Music. I’ll throw on some [Black] Sabbath, System Of A Down, or sometimes even techno. Driving for a surf with music blaring gets me frothing.
Do you plan on taking the mullet with you onto the ‘CT when that day comes?
Oh yeah, I’ll always run it. Or at least until I have a girl that tries to make me cut it. But my mom likes it, so I don’t really see myself changing it for any other girl.
Does it give you any special powers?
It’s a functional haircut. I mean, I love having longer hair, but this keeps the hair out of my eyes while I’m surfing. And it’s aerodynamic because I shave the sides. So it’s kind of perfect.