Why Owen Wright 2.0 is so interesting:
By Lucas Townsend The new Owen Wright is proud of his opinion and offers it freely, but still values those wiser. Particularly that of new coach, Matt Griggs, who’s one of many changes O has made this year. You’ll remember his back folded early last year, so 2014 has been a rebuild. Watching him at J-Bay, a […]
By Lucas Townsend
The new Owen Wright is proud of his opinion and offers it freely, but still values those wiser. Particularly that of new coach, Matt Griggs, who’s one of many changes O has made this year.
You’ll remember his back folded early last year, so 2014 has been a rebuild. Watching him at J-Bay, a less-informed viewer wouldn’t have known. Five flawlessly-linked turns, and only the sixth his undoing against Mick Fanning (but that exclamation will be back soon).
Of late, Owen’s been a study in what newly-acquired confidence can do to a man: He chooses not to indulge like other 24-year-olds and it shows, his rig so sharp it could cut through boot leather. His chin’s a little higher and he wants Dom Pérignon, not VB.
And now, to Teahupoo. He’s been runner-up there. And when he leaves for the airport, Stab likes to imagine he’ll pull the zip closed on his board bag, turn to nobody in the room and say, “I’ve fucking got this.”
This is how to turn on your backside. J-Bay bull kick. @owright / @asp
Stab: How are you going to win Chopes?
Owen: I’ve got a good paddle on me, which helps when it’s big. But I’ve got to be in rhythm with the ocean at a place like Chopes. I’ve got to be on the best waves of the heat because it’s not a place you can force scores. Then I only have to do that seven times. Kelly forces rhythm really well there. He catches a lot of waves and all of sudden he’s got two eights. But this year when it’s bigger, it’ll be a different story.
Kelly’s publicly said he’s out of sync this year. He’s said that in the past and then won the next event. Do you buy it? I don’t read much of what he’s saying but it gets people talking and thinking about him. The fact that he’s going public means he’s feeling comfortable with how he’s performed this year, contrary to what he might say. Sure, he wants to improve, and he makes that public, which is how he’s done it his whole career. And that pressure works. Every time he makes the call, he comes to the next event and wins or comes really close. He’ll be back in the mix, considering how big it’s looking. It’ll be interesting to see who can make it look like a two-foot day.
Who’s your Chopes pick? With the swell… eight-to-12 feet at17 seconds… It’s going to be someone who’s not scared to take a beating.
Names. John John. Mick. Freddy P. CJ Hobgood.
Adriano shut down the backside floater (lol) but isn’t this the cleanest line? @owright / @asp
Is Chopes less scary for you than Travis Logie, given you’re a foot taller? (Laughs) No way. When I stand up, I’m an extra foot higher than he is, so I can see more reef, plus, he stands up and he’s easily under it. I stand up and I’m a foot over it.
Are quads still in vogue? Yeah. I think so. I’m not running a quad, though. For most, a quad may be the answer. But I’ve got a different theory on it, which I’ll be keeping to myself. It’s only a theory at the moment, but I think it’ll work. It’s got something to do with my body size. There will be a lot of quads because it’s a barrel. I’m trying to give myself an edge.
Prior to Snapper, who were your top guys, and have they changed? Yeah, I’m baffled. It’s so hard to take away from Mick, Joel or Kelly but at the start of every year I always seem to forget about those guys and say, “It’s the younger guys’ year, f’sure.” I really thought Julian, Jordy and John John would be up higher. Mick’s up there, Kelly, Parko and Taj too, but there’s no clear run-aways. Julian and Jordy are doing the best surfing this year, but have had some weirdly bad results. It’ll be a really interesting race because those guys have been in great form, they’re just not winning. And if that changes, even with myself starting to find form too, that’s three extra people that are worthy of being in the final rounds. That’s a lot of guys who can do damage.
What’s different with you this year? I am sitting outside of the 10. Having so much time off, I didn’t realise how much things had improved. I thought the judging at the start of the year was odd and nobody was going to the air. There were some things I wasn’t onto with competition surfing yet. Going through the injury was a big change and the changes have kept coming. But it’s all built up my confidence to speak my mind and have an opinion.
Indo is always a fine time, but especially if you’re goofy, and even more especially if you’re Owen. @owright / @indovibes
What’s Griggsy offered you that you’ve never had before? He’s got a lot of knowledge on how to get to a title, but it’s beyond that. Things like my nutrition and mentality. I’ve been more relaxed and I’ve started meditating and yoga, things that I wasn’t doing in the past.
Meditating? Yeah. Clarity. There can be a million things going through my head and I feel like meditating helps to control that and see the things I need to focus on.
Has it been hard stepping away from your Dad? He was at every event for 10 years, so, it has been a change not having my old man there. But, man, it was time, it was a welcomed decision. I’m more mature, I want to do my own thing and have fresh ideas and expand.
You’ve also left your gal, Sammi. Are you finding it’s more time for you? Yeah, f’sure. More time for what I want to focus on. It sounds bad and selfish, but it’s just how it went, I just didn’t have the time there anymore. The more I got back into surfing after my injury, the more it was all I concentrated on.
When was your last big night? Man, it was just after Fiji. It was a big night but it finished by 10:30… Everyone went hard early and we got kicked out.
Strawberry milk sunset vibes in Indo. @owright / @robsonimages
Doesn’t interest you anymore? In the off season I’ll go out and have a good time. But by the time I’m halfway through the tour it’s less and less. It’s not even on my mind at all.
You’re a lot more rational about losses now In your post-heat interviews. You seem to digest them in minutes. Exactly. I know where I’ve gone wrong as soon as the heat’s over. It’s all really obvious to me. Matt’s helped me learn that, rational decision making. Having someone that’s watched closely makes me look closely at myself. When I’m coming in, it’s not like I’m asking my coach where I’ve gone wrong, because I’m already aware.
Your injury. The best or worst thing to happen to you? Probably the best. It’s the hardest thing. But it’s been the best too, the hard times make me stronger, as cliched as that sounds. I’ve got a fresh outlook and I’m enjoying it.
We’re loving the new Mikey too. Finless! Ink! Mullet! I love it! How good is it? He did a finless clip, a with-fins clip and then a without board clip (laughs). It got 1.96 million views on my Facebook. I was so stoked for him. He’s starting to express himself in his own way. Having Tyler and I ahead of him, it’s like he’s seen us and doesn’t want to follow in the exact same footsteps. But he’s got way more talent than Tyler and I have. He’s just super free. He’s already got more ink since the rib cage one. And Mum’s already flipped her brain (laughs). He’s got one on his thigh. I’ll let him show you that one. It’s horrendous.
Spirit fingers and a backside twerk at J-Bay. What’s not to love? ASP/Kirstin
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