Stab Magazine | Tyler Wright's Tour Disappearance And 'Illness' Explained

Tyler Wright’s Tour Disappearance And ‘Illness’ Explained

The WSL interview the 2x World Champion as she pulls out of the year’s last event. 

news // Nov 21, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

At J-Bay this year, Tyler Wright pulled out citing illness, as did her brother Owen Wright. As the US Open rolled around, Tyler was still at home recovering from the previously cited illness. 

Last month, we made contact with Tyler’s manager, as well as some close others only to here that she was battling illness. We were uncertain of the details, as were the numerous people asking questions across social media of ‘what’s happening with Tyler Wright?’ 

Today, as she officially pulled out of Maui (replaced by Alana Blanchard), the WSL has released an interview with Tyler. Here she explains the details, her current battle with chronic fatigue, and the process for competing next year. 

Read below or here! 

WSL: You’ve officially pulled out of the final event of the season – the Beachwaver Maui Pro – and we haven’t seen you in a jersey since Uluwatu. Can you explain what went down this year?

Tyler Wright: I actually got sick in July, during the J-Bay event. I had gone to Africa early to go surf and prepare. I love J-Bay and had gone the year before just to surf, plus I thought I could get some waves before the crew got there. So I was happy to get a few surfs in.

I first started feeling ill when I went on an overnight safari. My head was on fire and so was my body. I’d never felt like that before and I actually called Mikey [Tyler’s Brother] who said he thought I needed to go to the doctor. I didn’t want to believe him so I called Jessi [WSL Deputy Commissioner] and told her how I felt and she was like, ‘please drive to the hospital’. Mikey got the medical team organized and then we went from there. I had to go to Port Elizabeth where I was admitted through Emergency.

The official diagnosis in J-Bay at the hospital was Influenza A. I spent time in the hospital and then came back to J-Bay where I was treated and I stayed close to the medical team. I couldn’t travel until my fever broke for 48 hours and I stayed in bed for probably ten days. AIl up I lost 8 kg and at one stage we thought I had Pneumonia as well. I don’t reckon I ate for a week. It’s the sickest I have ever been in my life.

So now, I haven’t been able to shake it and I have been diagnosed with Post-Viral Syndrome from getting influenza A. Now, I am pretty much battling chronic fatigue which is a real challenge. People think it’s just about being tired, and although that has a lot to do with it, there’s more to it than that.

Tyler and John John both robbed of the chance to 3-peat. Photo: Kelly Cestari

Have you tried to compete since?

I actually was going to try and compete at the Surf Ranch Pro because I thought of all the events on the calendar that was the one that I could manage myself the best at, with the set schedule, set number of waves, etc. I even flew to California for it, that’s how convinced I was.

I came early with the idea that I would go and see Mark Kozuki [California based Physical Therapist] because he has always fixed me, and then go up to Lemoore for the training days prior. I went and saw Kozuki the day I landed and then I literally changed my flight for the next day and flew home. I spent one night in California.

Can you describe what your recovery regime has consisted of?

I’ve been seeing a bunch of different doctors, including a specialist in Sydney. It’s hard because Chronic Fatigue is so difficult to treat. I’ve been resting a lot, eating right, taking herbs and reading Harry Potter, which is my new favorite thing. And I try and go for a small swim every day, that’s a highlight for me.

What was your headspace like as you’ve watched the remainder of this season’s Tour unfold? Anyone you’re rooting for heading into Maui?

It’s been interesting to watch the Tour from here, when I feel good and I can. I’ve never been out of events … I’ve been injured before but never actually taken time off so this is new for me, to actually be sick and realize that I can’t just push through it. Last year, I had no business surfing on my knee but I just decided that I would so I did. It’s different this time.

I’ve always looked up to Steph, so I’m cheering for her and I hope that she wins. Lakey has had a great year though and I’m proud of her for stepping up.


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