Tyler Wright's stunning return at Maui Pro

Australian Tyler Wright has moved into the quarter-finals of the Maui Pro

Two-time world surfing champion Tyler Wright could emulate older brother Owen's fairytale comeback victory after advancing to the quarter-finals of the WSL season-ending Maui Pro in Hawaii.

Returning to action after a 17-month absence through illness, Wright capped the opening day by eliminating world title contender Lakey Peterson in the round of 16.

Forced into the elimination second round after losing to Peterson and Silvana Lima in her opening heat at Honolua Bay, the 25-year-old Wright bounced back to win that against Johanne Defay and Brisa Hennessey.

She then ended American Peterson's 2109 title bid with a 12.67 to 11.60 win.

In 2017, Owen Wright claimed an emotional season-opening win at Snapper Rocks as he competed at the elite level for the first time since suffering a serious head injury at Pipeline in Hawaii in 2015.

"Owen was incredible how he did that," said a happy Tyler Wright in a World Surf League broadcast interview.

"That was one of the best moments in our sport.

"Different recovery paths; for me there are very specific things that I have to do and achieve throughout what I'm doing here...

"I'm really happy to be here and enjoying it... it's kind of back to enjoying life and having fun."

Wright is one of four Australians into the final eight of the Maui Pro along with Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore and Nikki Van Dijk.

After three heats on Sunday, Wright will need to back up on Monday against Frenchwoman Defay with a semi-final place at stake.

"Recovery-wise, today has gone as good as it could do, three heats and it's probably as brutal as it's going to get condition-wise," Wright said.

"I got a couple of floggings and my brain fully woke up and I was like, 'this is what being in a heat and adrenaline is like, oh this is fun'.

"It's good to be feeling those things again and taking it all in."

World No.4 Fitzgibbons will face Brazil's Tatiana Weston-Webb in the quarters while seven-times world champion Gilmore and Van Dijk are up against Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks respectively.

Hawaiian Moore is the series leader while Marks is the only woman who can deny her a fourth world crown.

Regardless of results, Moore and Marks have provisionally qualified as the United States two women's representatives for the Tokyo Olympics.