Owen Wright Announces Retirement From Competitive And Heavy-Water Surfing - Stab Mag
We'll always have Tahiti (and Fiji). Photo: WSL

Owen Wright Announces Retirement From Competitive And Heavy-Water Surfing

But will surf final CT event at Bells.

news // Mar 22, 2023
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Owen Wright will end his competitive surfing career next month with a wildcard appearance at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

In the past 25 years, Bells has seen only two goofyfoot champions — Mark “Occy” Occhilupo and Matt Wilkinson.

Owen Wright, however, has proven himself to be plenty adept with his back to the wall and his right foot forward. At the 2017 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks, Wright — in his first competition back from suffering a near-fatal head injury at Pipeline — beat out Wilkinson in the final, winning the event and becoming a sort of cult hero.

Owen would later explain that this win came too soon after his injury, hindering his career span overall. This leads to today’s announcement:

In Owen’s Instagram clip, he expresses his joy at having a “fairytale” retirement moment next month at the Rip Curl Pro. And as an Owen fan since my infancy, I can safely forecast a parade of tears splashing my keyboard if he does in fact ring the bell.

Owen also says that while he will continue to surf his entire life, he will cease to “push the limits”. Owen’s medical team has advised him to stay away from heavy water, and he’s finally taken heed for the sake of his health and his family. Most of all, he wants to set a good example for the next generation, using his lofty position within the surfing world to raise awareness around head injuries in sport.

His little boy Vali is already rocking headgear like pops.

Owen’s career stat sheet:
– 11 CT seasons
– 4 CT victories (Chopes, Fiji, New York, Snapper), including the largest-ever single event prize purse ($300k)
– 6 season top-10s
– 3rd in the world (best finish)
– first surfer to have two perfect heats in the same event
– Olympic bronze medalist

Hell of a career, in our books.


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