In December of 2015, Owen Wright’s life changed in an instant. With one wipeout, he went from being one of the best surfers on Tour to being someone who might not ever be able to compete again. He disappeared from the public eye and began his recovery, giving the occasional sporadic update to a fan base thirsty for news. Now, though, more than a year later, he’s back with a wildcard, and he’s in fine form. Yesterday at Snapper, Wright took down three-time world champ Mick Fanning.
The Quik Pro Gold Coast event is Wright’s first world tour event since that fateful Pipeline wipeout. Last year, he was sitting in the stands watching as Tyler Wright won her first Roxy Pro Gold Coast, and his career was hanging by a thread. Now, though, he’s back, and he looks like the same old Owen. “So stoked to be among it, competing, feeling good and having energy,” he said.
His win over Fanning was a close one–the final tally was 15.10 to 15.00–but he went on to beat Jordy Smith in round four (losing to rookie Connor O’Leary), then take out Conner Coffin in round five. He’ll have another shot at O’Leary when they face off in the quarterfinals, but already, this is Wright’s best result at the Quik Pro Gold Coast.
“It’s way better than what I could have planned. It’s been a tough journey getting here so I really enjoyed the moment of being out there.”
Watch the WSL’s post-show report on Worldsurfleague.com