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Owen sits at third on the rankings going into Rio. With a podium finish, he’ll grab that yellow jersey.

Dropping in with Owen Wright and WSL

Jul 032018

The date was December 10, 2015. Standout Australian surfer Owen Wright was in the middle of a practice surfing session on the North Shore of Oahu when he was blindsided by a huge wave. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, effectively ending his quest for the 2015 World Title – and nearly ending his life.

Wright sat out the entire 2016 season as he recovered from his injury. He had to learn how to surf all over again. There were several times throughout his recovery when he doubted if he would ever return to his championship form of the past. As it turns out, he would – and he wouldn’t waste any time once the 2017 season began.

In Wright’s first event back from injury, Quicksilver at Snapper Rock, everything clicked. He won his first heat, then his next, making it all the way to the finals where he faced good friend Matt Wilkinson. He came out victorious, just 15 months after his career – and life – was nearly cut short. That’s the comeback of a surfing legend.


Wright, 28, has competed in the World Surf League since 2010, when he earned “Rookie of the Year” honors for finishing No. 7 overall in his debut year. A year later, he won the Quicksilver Pro New York and finished the season rated No. 3. The Culburra, New South Wales, native was at his best in 2015 as he chased the title of “World’s best.” He earned two perfect scores en route to winning the 2015 Fiji Pro. Soon after, the injury occurred. Surfing was put on hold.

Now healthy, the sky is the limit for Wright. He’s returned to surfing at a high level, as evidenced by his 2017 Quicksilver at Snapper Rock victory. It likely won’t be long before he adds more decoration to his mantelpiece. 

Want to know a little bit more about this legend? Check out WSL's quick fire Q&A below.