Reigning world surfing champion Tyler Wright was overcome with emotion watching her older brother Owen make his comeback to professional surfing on the Gold Coast last weekend. “I think I cried for about 15 minutes after it was done. But yeah, big moment. A year can change a lot.”
Fifteen months earlier, at just 21, she became her brother’s primary carer after he suffered a serious brain injury while surfing at the treacherous Pipeline in Hawaii. “You could tell in his eyes. My brother never looks panicked. He’s always been very calm and collected under most situations. In his eyes, his eyes, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen”, remembers Tyler.
Tyler had considered pulling out of 2016 season
Now, Owen Wright has made a miraculous return to the World Surfing League Championship Tour, taking out the first event of the year, the Quiksilver Pro, at Queensland’s Snapper Rocks last Sunday. This same time last year, he was struggling to get to his feet and walk around. Tyler had considered pulling out of the 2016 season to look after him. “She just totally forgot about herself. Unselfishly, she was just like I’m here for Owen, and that’s it”, tells Mick Fanning.
But Tyler knew her brother wouldn’t want her to give up her dreams of winning a maiden World Title, something she had publicly declared she wanted only two months before her brother’s accident. “With those two, it’s like a see-saw, and they just keep helping each other, whoever needs it at any one point in time”, says Brooke Farris, Rip Curl Girls Team Manager and GM Digital.
In this episode of Australian Story, the Wright family speaks candidly about Tyler’s emotional journey to the top. The program also features interviews with world champion surfers Layne Beachley, Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore. A must-watch!
All For The Family, The Tyler Wright Story, premieres on Australian Story, 8pm Monday 27 March, 2017. Tune in on ABC or ABC iView.