South coast surfer Tyler Wright has won her maiden World Surfing Title after reaching the final of the Roxy Pro France.
The 22-year-old clinched her crown when her closest rival Californian Courtney Conlogue bowed out in the semi-finals.
“There’s a lot that has gone into this,” Wright said. “There’s a lot of hours, a lot of fun and a lot of moments. I’m surprised I’m not crying!”
Wright has had an incredible year on tour in 2016, managing four event wins on her way to the title. In a crazy 12 months for the Wright family, including brother Owen withdrawing from the 2016 season with a serious head injury, Wright capped off her year at the top of her sport.
“There were a lot of reasons that I set out to win the World Title this year, a lot I didn’t mention in public. Last year was such a hectic year, even this year started really hectic for me and my family, a lot has gone on with my family, with Owen. I lost an uncle, this was the last event he watched, and I promised him I’d win the Title for him, and I did.”
In a tribute to her brother, Wright surfed the final against Hawaiian Carissa Moore wearing Owen’s No.3 jersey and rode her first wave as a goofy-foot in his honour.
Wright took on a new coach this year in former men’s competitor Glen ‘Micro’ Hall, and praised his simple approach for her success.
“He (Hall) understood that my personal life is very important to me and very much the biggest part of my life and he never asked me to block it out,” she said.
Moore took the win in a one-sided final, with Wright surfing in more of a celebration than a final.
“I’m really stoked to get my first win here in France, it feels awesome,” Moore said. “I’m really happy for Tyler of course, but it’s nice to get a win in myself as a reward for the work I’ve been putting in.”
In the men’s division, Hawaiian Keanu Asing broke through for his maiden event victory, taking out both world number one John John Florence and world number two Gabriel Medina on the way to victory.
“Against all odds baby! That’s what I’m all about!” Asing said.
“To come out on top is unbelievable, you know, I’ve been the underdog my whole life. All I know is the taller they are, the harder they fall.”
Asing jumped 12 spots to be ranked 21st on tour heading into the final two events of the season. Florence retained his number one ranking, with Medina edging closer in second place heading into the penultimate event in Portugal next week. – Jackson Barron.
Photo of Tyler Wright celebrating with her world title from Monster Energy’s Facebook page.