This will be the first World Surf League competitive outing for Wright since his injury at Pipe in 2015
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 January, 2017 - Surfing superstar Owen Wright will return to pro-surfing in the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro World Qualifying Series 6000 set down for Merewether beach at Newcastle next month.
This will be the first World Surf League competitive outing for the 27-year-old since he suffered a head trauma during a horrific wipeout in pounding surf at Pipeline on Hawaii’s north shore in December 2015. At that time, Wright was ranked number five in the world and a definite contender for that year’s world title.
Wright is no stranger to Surfest, having secured the Pro Junior title in 2008 – just one year before he won four consecutive Pro Juniors and set an unmatched record for the most prizemoney won in the history of Australasian Pro Junior Series surfing. His younger brother Michael will also be competing in the 2017 Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro.
The brother of current world women’s champ Tyler and 2009 Surfest women’s champion Kirby, Wright became a father for the first time late last year and has shared key moments in his life and ongoing recovery through social media.
Surfest chief Warren Smith said he was thrilled that Owen had entered the event and that world surfing fans are right behind the powerful goofy footer with the razor sharp backhand attack.
“I think the worldwide surfing community will be stoked that Owen Wright feels he is ready to get back in the water to compete. The love and encouragement being expressed for Owen through social media is incredible.
"He and his family have been friends of Surfest since he was a grom and we are extremely pleased to welcome him and his brother Michael back to Newcastle," Smith said.
A whopping 367 competitors from 28 countries have entered the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro and the Anditi Women’s Pro - and that's the largest ever field of surfers seeking a start at Surfest’s main events.
Australian World Championship Tour surfers set for Newcastle include the event’s defending champion, top seed and world number five Matt Wilkinson, world number eight Julian Wilson, world number nine and 2013 Surfest champion Joel Parkinson, world number 14 Adrian Buchan, world number 19 Stuart Kennedy and world number 31 and former dual world junior champion Jack Freestone.