Two-time world champion Tyler Wright has the chance to win her first Bells Beach crown after grinding through the pain barrier to secure a spot in the final.
Wright edged past three-time Bells winner Courtney Conlogue 14.23 to 13.90 in a tense semi-final showdown on Sunday.
The result sets up a dream final against five-time world champion Carissa Moore, who beat Costa Rican Brisa Hennessy in the other semi-final.
Wright trailed Conlogue with seven minutes remaining in the heat, needing a 7.01 ride to retake the lead.
The 28-year-old produced the goods when it mattered most, attacking a wave with intensity to secure a 7.33.
Breaking the pain barrier
But the effort required to claw her way back took its toll on Wright, who was left in pain and needed to take some time out after the heat to recuperate.
Wright missed half of 2018 and almost all of 2019 after being struck down by an illness that was later diagnosed as post-viral syndrome, and she is aware that pushing her body too hard can take its toll.
“I call it the edge. It’s essentially when my heart rate and my fight or flight gets so peaked so quickly,” Wright told the WSL broadcast.
“Essentially my ovaries start to cramp up and everything in me is just pain.
“That heart rate spike was pretty hectic (today) due to how I had to surf back into the heat.
“At the end there my ovaries there were pretty killer, and I had to take a minute to walk it out for sure.”
Wright has lost the final of Bells Beach on two previous occasions, and she is desperate to ring the iconic bell this time around.
“I feel incredibly lucky for everyone that I have around me and also the people that have helped me work this hard to get back,” Wright said.
“It’s not easy to rebuild after two years out of the water. Building back takes a lot of patience and a lot of trust and rebuilding trust in myself to manage this sort of stuff again.”