Owen Wright Withdraws From First Half Of 2016

Owen Wright lost but he still has arms like Kenny Powers in his prime. Photo: Greg GyselinckOwen Wright. Photo: Greg Gyselinck

Owen Wright was on a different level in Hawaii last year.

Every session, every wave. He was something else. Relentless confidence mixed with world class skill and the uncanny fate of forever being in the perfect place at the perfect time. One evening, as the rest of the world struggled to mange oversized Pipe, Owen paddled out and immediately manhandled the wave of the day — a wave that landed him on our cover. He seemed unstoppable.

But the North Shore has a way of being defiant.

Owen sustained a concussion one morning. Not airdropping into the wave of the winter, not packing a senseless closeout at Off The Wall. Just…duckdiving. He wasn’t knocked out, but he did return to the beach in a daze. Hours later, he was carted away from the Rip Curl house in an ambulance as the rest of the North Shore scratched their heads.

Then, silence.

There were rumors, of course. This exact story halfway broke a few months ago, but it was eventually deemed to be unreliable and pulled down. Owen, his sponsors, and the WSL wanted to stay quiet and let the dust (apparently every particle of it) settle before publicly releasing any information.

That changed today. As per the WSL’s latest presser:

“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.”

Well, that sucks.

Owen was sidelined by a longterm back issue a few years back, and now his head? Probably the two most serious injuries a body can endure. You almost wonder where Owen would be if he’d been able to stay healthy throughout his career.

But then you remember what kind of person he is.

You know he’ll be back even better. And probably even more relentless.