It’s starting to feel like World Title contenders are dropping like flies from the ‘CT. Add Owen Wright to the list of championship caliber fan favorites who won’t be title hopefuls in 2016, just days after Mick Fanning announced he’d be taking a “personal break” this year. Heading into the 2015 Pipe Masters Owen Wright was one of a handful of surfers within reach of winning a ‘CT title. Then the world’s most famous wave added the Australian to its pile of winter casualties when a heavy wipeout caused bleeding in the brain and a severe concussion. It was no small injury, and Wright withdrew from the Pipe Masters sitting at number five in the tour rankings.
Today the WSL has announced that Owen Wright is still recovering from that December injury and has decided to withdraw from the first half of the 2015 Championship Tour.
“It’s disappointing to have to withdraw from the opening events of the year, but the important thing is to ensure that I am 100% healthy for when I return to that level of competition,” Wright said. “I’ve been working regularly with top specialists in the country and they’ve given me a lengthy rehabilitation time before I’m able to feel normal again and a period of time after that before they’re confident I can perform at the elite level without additional risk. Head injuries are tricky in terms of mapping out recovery time and it’s possible that I may not be able to pull the jersey on all year. I want to thank my family, friends, fans, sponsors and the WSL for their ongoing support.”
Owen Wright’s first career ‘CT win came in 2011 at the Quiksilver Pro New York. But it was his second tour victory that’s perhaps the highlight of his career to date. Wright became the first ever surfer to notch two perfect heats in a single event, winning the 2015 Fiji Pro and sparking a hot streak that catapulted him into that packed title race.
Taking the now vacant spots in competition will be Adam Melling. Coincidentally, one of Melling’s highest finishes in 2015 came at the Fiji Pro when he was a casualty of Owen Wright’s Round 5 perfect 20.