Owen… first off, your sister Tyler has just won back-to-back World Titles. Not only that, but she did it while fighting through injury. How impressed are you?
Geez, it’s such an amazing feat to win back-to-back Titles. I’ve never won one, but I can imagine how insane it would be to put everything into it your first year, and then actually followed it up.
I actually think that, for her, the turning point this year was that injury. I think enduring the injury gave her a challenge; it gave her something to fight for. And I feel like that’s what she needed.
And for you… you’re currently top five, and you were in the World Title mix. Could you ever have imagined you’d be where you are now, last year?
You know, I didn’t even think about World Titles this year. In talks with doctors, teammates, friends and Rip Curl, it really was just about showing up – and if I came last, I came last – it was just about getting back into it. Only it ended up going a lot better than that.
Maybe it was the same for me though, as it was for Tyler – having something that I had to work on, to focus on, getting back to where I was. The results just came.
"I wanted my life back, and I wanted that confidence." - Owen Wright
What was the highlight this year?
For me, my year has just gotten better and better, because I have felt better and better. My energy is back up, I’m surfing more, I’m happier. Right now I’m training every second day, I’m surfing twice a day.
And yeah, I did have that win at the start of the year, which was absolutely mind blowing, but I still wasn’t in a great state health-wise. I felt like I didn’t really get to talk about that at all. I felt a bit lost with it all.
Results wise, that would have been the best of the year – but health wise, I feel the best I’ve felt right now.
After the win at Snapper everyone was saying, “You’re back!” But, you weren’t really 100%?
No, not at all. I wasn’t. People were saying I was back, but the doctor was saying, “You’ve got a long road ahead of you.” I had a lot of things to stay on top of and keep checking off the list. I was healthy enough to show up, but I wasn’t quite healthy enough to let things go and surf as much as I wanted. Health-wise now, I’m a whole different person.
What was it inside of you that helped push you through, helped bring out the best in you this year?
I really wanted to get my life back. After the head injury and so many up and down thoughts, there was so much in it for me to not give up, even though I was really tired and overwhelmed. I just kept going and kept making heats, and there was so much more in it for me than just the idea of making a heat. I wanted my life back, and I wanted that confidence.
Now it’s the end of the year and I have that confidence back, from spending time in the water and being back on tour and just living my life.
Was there a moment this year that you thought, wow, I really am back?
You know, I could have said that at Jeffrey’s Bay and I could have said that in Brazil, but it’s so hard to answer – because at each stage, that was the best place mentally and physically that I’d been in. So I felt that it was the best I’d been. But now, it’s the best I’ve felt.
And when did you start thinking about coming back to Pipe?
I started thinking about Pipe a little bit while I was in America, and it was too much. I didn’t want to think about it. And then in France I thought about it, and accepted that it’d be a bit of a challenge. But then by the time I was home after Europe, I couldn’t wait to get over here and get out and surf. And I’ve been loving it since I’ve been here. It’s been really good.
Well congratulations Owen, we can’t wait to see what you do out at Pipe – and we are so stoked for you.