17 months ago, two-time World Surf League (WSL) Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) fell ill in South Africa. Temporarily hospitalized, Wright was forced to pull out of the Corona Open J-Bay and was diagnosed with Influenza A with complications that sidelined her from competition since.
Today, Wright announced that she is ready for her next phase of recovery – pulling on the jersey and surfing in a WSL Championship Tour (CT) event once again. The 25-year-old will compete in the final event of the 2019 season, the lululemon Maui Pro, with hopes of re-joining the WSL CT in the 2020 season.
2x World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) will compete in the lululemon Maui Pro, which opens this Monday, November 25, 2019. Credit: © WSL / Poullenot
“Maui is the next step in my recovery process,” said Wright. “I’ve taken a lot of steps to get to this point, and it’s been a lot of hard work. And after Maui, there’ll be another step. I’m not sure what pulling the jersey on will be like, or what is going to happen. But I’m okay with that. That’s part of the reason why I’m here, to expose myself to that competitive environment again. It’s part of the recovery process and I’m ready to embrace it.”
Prior to competing in Maui, Wright has spent the past few weeks chasing swells around the Hawaiian Islands, testing her strength in bigger waves.
“I love being back in the water,” continued Wright. “I haven’t surfed this much since I was 14. I’ve got boards everywhere, I’m exposing myself to bigger and heavier waves and love it.
“When I started feeling sick, they said I had Influenza A. I obviously had complications from that. It’s taken me 17 months to recover. It messed up my brain and my body. I can feel that I’ve been out of the water for a year-and-a-half. I can feel that I’m 10 kilograms lighter. Things are different. It is an adjusting period. But like I said I haven’t surfed as much as I have in the past few months as I have in the last couple of years. I’m excited about that and I’m excited about everything that I’m doing. It really is all a trial at the moment…it’s part of taking those steps to come back.”
The last time Wright surfed at the Maui Pro, she claimed her second World Title in 2017. This year, the lululemon Maui Pro at Honolua Bay will host the World Title showdown between current World No. 1 Carissa Moore (HAW), No. 2 Lakey Peterson (USA), and No. 3 Caroline Marks (USA), and will also serve as the final provisional CT qualification pathway for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Can Carissa Moore Clinch Four Titles?
Wright will be against Peterson, the 2018 World Runner-up and 2019 World Title contender, and Silvana Lima (BRA) in the second heat of Seeding Round 1. This heat will follow Marks in Round 1, who will face Australians Nikki Van Dijk and rookie Macy Callaghan.
Moore will surf against event wildcard Summer Macedo (HAW) and Coco Ho (HAW) in Heat 3. Maui local Macedo made a splash last year at the Maui Pro with a big opening-round win. Hoping to repeat that success and go even further in the event, Macedo could shake up the World Title race in the process.
Lakey Peterson’s Run for Her First World Title
|The World Title scenarios ahead of the lululemon Maui Pro:
- If Carissa Moore wins Maui, she clinches the World Title;
- If Moore gets a 2nd, Lakey Peterson needs a 1st to take the World Title from Moore;
- If Moore gets a 3rd, Peterson needs a 2nd & Caroline Marks a 1st;
- If Moore gets a 5th/9th/17th, Peterson needs 3rd & Marks a 2nd to force a 3-way Tie Surf Off for World Title decision in Maui
|lululemon Maui Pro Seeding Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Caroline Marks (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA), Silvana Lima (BRA), Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Summer Macedo (HAW)
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Brisa Hennessy (CRI), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Johanne Defay (FRA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
|The holding period for the lululemon Maui Pro opens on November 25 and runs through December 6, 2019. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.